New: Anthropology Of The Body

In this course we will examine many of the ways
different cultures have thought about, presented and
decorated the body. From tattooing to scarring to
plastic surgery and Botox these different practices have
much to tell us about how humans have experienced
and expressed notions of identity, belonging, beauty
and selfhood. By examining a range of case study
examples, you will be able to develop your knowledge of
anthropological research methods, concepts and theories,
but, as always the emphasis on this course is on how
we can come to learn to apply the anthropological
perspective to our own way of life and in so doing make
the familiar become new and strange to us.

Who is this course for

Although the course follows on from the first term's Introduction to Anthropology course it can be taken as a stand-alone course in its own right and you do not have to have completed the Introduction course to benefit from it. If you are interested in how different societies have experience and expressed notions of identity, belonging, beauty and selfhood this would be a fascinating course for you to study. It will also introduce you to, or build upon your existing knowledge, of the distinctive way that the discipline of Anthropology approaches these issues and others.

What does this course cover

In this course we will examine any of the ways different cultures have thought about, presented and decorated the body. From tattooing to scarring to plastic surgery and Botox, these different practices have much to tell us about how humans have experienced and expressed notions of identity, belonging, beauty and selfhood. By examining a range of case study examples you will be able to develop your knowledge anthropological research methods, concepts and theories, but as always the emphasis on the course is on how we can come to learn to apply the anthropological perspective on our own way of life and in the process make the familiar become new and strange to us.

What will it be like

Sessions will be as interactive as possible, with each one being a mixture of tutor exposition, supported by relevant audio-visual material, class discussion and debate, group and pair activities. There is reading set for each week of the course and for the course as a whole and you will benefit much more from class sessions if you complete this. From around week 7 of the course, after enough introductory material has been covered, you will have the opportunity to work on carrying out your own small scale ethnographic piece of research. This can be done either individually or collaboratively with other members of the class. The final two weeks of the course will be given over to the presentation of these pieces and discussion of them.

What else do you need to buy or do

There is no set text for the course that you will need to buy in advance of the course. Reading for each week of the course and additional links to further material will be available via the Moodle page for the course.

What this course could lead to

The next courses in this series look in more detail at Anthropology of Religion and the Sacred. You will also find that this term's course will provide relevant information for other courses at the Mary Ward Centre in the Humanities and Social Sciences (e.g. in Psychology, Philosophy, Economics, History or Politics). Given the specific nature of this course, it would also be relevant to students of the arts more broadly considered.

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I've been to many Centres to study in London and the Mary Ward Centre is one of the nicest I've studied in.

MWC student

Got a Question about this Course?

Contact The Departmental Administrator.

Why come to Mary Ward Centre?

Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference. We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening or weekend to suit your timetable.

Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’