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Unit information: Human Challenges in 2021/22

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Human Challenges
Unit code ARCH30034
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Cooper
Open unit status Not open




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

Description including Unit Aims

This unit explores how a four-field anthropological perspective can enhance our understanding of some of the key global challenges faced by humanity today, including climate change and sustainable development, migration, population and resources, inequality, urbanisation, health, minority rights, conflict and slavery. These topics will be addressed from different disciplinary perspectives, including sciences, allowing students to examine the origins and history of contemporary crises and to consider the contrasting ways in which anthropologists and archaeologists understand and confront these problems.

This unit aims to provide students with:

  • An understanding of different anthropological approaches to contemporary problems such as disease and gender inequality
  • An awareness of the history of global challenges and how lessons from the past can be used to tackle the present and manage the future
  • An understanding of the potential contribution of anthropology to national and transnational policy-making
  • Insight into the impact and interaction of social, biological, historical and environmental factors on current global challenges

Intended Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit, a successful student should be able to:

1) Compare and contrast different anthropological perspectives on key issues.

2) Demonstrate a critical awareness of the origins and history of contemporary challenges and the variety of ways in which human populations have responded to these in both the present and the past.

3) Conceptualise and articulate these challenges with reference to the past, current, and future practise of the disciplines and their contribution to policy-making.

4) Assess the impact of biological, cultural, historical and environmental factors

5) Critically evaluate the evidence on which influential explanations and models have been based.

Teaching Information

Weekly sessions with lecture and discussion, supported by self-directed activities. Weekly 1 hour seminars.

Assessment Information

Summative: One 3500 word essay (100%). Assesses ILOs 1-5

Formative: One 1000 word outline. Assesses ILOs 1-5


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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.