Key Debates in Contemporary Anthropology (001AN)

15 credits, Level 5

Autumn teaching

This module grounds you in Key Debates in Contemporary Anthropology, building on Key Concepts in Anthropology that provides a basic theoretical framework, and preparing you for Advanced Topics options. Your learning is informed by the debates that vex current anthropological inquiry at Sussex, across the UK and beyond. While these debates draw on broader social theoretical literatures, the aim is to examine how they are mobilised within current empirical anthropological inquiry, and how this can shape wider debates in the social sciences, arts and humanities. Topics will vary but may include:

  • perspectivism, ontology and the new orientalism
  • society beyond the human: multispecies sociality and the anthropocene
  • affect and emotional labour
  • precarity, politics and the popular
  • secularism, religions and intolerance
  • producing and claiming subjectivity and identity
  • anthropology beyond ‘ethnography’: fiction, narrative and depicting the social
  • anthropology beyond ‘logocentrism’: physicality and performance
  • infrastructure, technology and cyborg sociality
  • the ‘good’, the ‘bad’ and the ‘ugly’: anthropology and morality.


100%: Practical (Workshop)


20%: Coursework (Essay)
80%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 20 hours of contact time and about 130 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2024/25. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: