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Unit information: Kin, Friends, Lovers and Others in 2021/22

Unit name Kin, Friends, Lovers and Others
Unit code ARCH10019
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Tantam
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Anthropology and Archaeology
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will introduce students to some key ideas and debates around human kinship and relationality; in other words, how humans relate to one another and how relationships are formed, maintained, severed and conceptualised. In this way, the unit will explore what constitutes kin, friends, lovers and others. The study of relationality forms the foundation of anthropology, but also offers fascinating insights into what it means to be human in a range of historical and global contexts. Drawing on both classic and contemporary material from the study of kinship and beyond, the unit will traverse themes of marriage, reproduction, love, parenting, friendship, sexuality, reproductive technologies, and relations with non-humans. Students will learn the wider significance of the topics to the interpretation and analysis of human societies more broadly. Lectures will be delivered by staff from the department to offer a diverse range of approaches and expertise within the study of kinship and relationality.

Unit aims:

· To introduce students to a range of anthropological research on topics relating to personhood, kinship and sexuality.

. To present research from across the four fields of the department and enable students to appreciate and recognise contrasts and parallels between different approaches.

· To enable students to recognise both cross-cultural variation and universalities in the practices of personhood, kinship and sexuality.

Intended Learning Outcomes

At the end of this unit, a successful student will be able to:

1. Describe some of the key debates within the field of kinship within the field of anthropology.

2. Demonstrate an ability to question cultural assumptions about kinship and relationality.

3. Apply cross-cultural and historical perspectives to key debates within kinship studies.

4. Make theoretical and ethnographic connections with material covered in other units across the first year.

Teaching Information

Weekly lectures, and fortnightly seminars, supported by self-directed activities

Assessment Information

1 x 1000 word essay. Formative assessment required to award credit (formative only)

1 x 2000 word essay (100%)


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. ARCH10019).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.