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Durham University

Department of Anthropology

Founded in 1967, the Department of Anthropology at Durham is now one of the largest integrated anthropology departments in the UK carrying out innovative research on cutting edge topics spanning social anthropology, evolutionary anthropology, and the anthropology of health. Our academics and postdoctoral researchers employ a wide range of social science and natural science perspectives to explore questions about human life in its evolutionary, environmental and cultural contexts. Our taught programmes offer students the opportunity to pursue general and specialist anthropology programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, while our PhD students study topics from primate behaviour to rhetoric culture and indigenous knowledge to internet technologies. With our first-class facilities, innovative programmes, and world-leading academics, Durham is setting the agenda for 21st century anthropology.

World Rankings

Record success in QS World Subject Rankings

Durham is one of the world’s leading universities as shown by our world top 100 position in the QS World University Rankings 2019, where we are ranked 74th

A record 18 Durham subjects are also in the world top 100 of the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019, including ten in the world top 50 and three in the world top ten.

Anthropology News and Events

Professor Helen Ball and the Sleep Lab Team were recognised with the prestigious Queen's Anniversary Prize for 2017.

Royal Honour for Durham University’s Parent-Infant Sleep Lab

Royal Honour for Durham University’s Parent-Infant Sleep Lab

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The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall present the Queen’s Anniversary Prize to Professor Helen Ball, Director of the Parent-Infant Sleep Lab, and Professor Stuart Corbridge, Durham’s Vice-Chancellor, at a ceremony in Buckingham Palace on 22 February 2018. The award is in recognition of the University’s leading influential research on parent-infant sleep, and the ceremony is followed by a reception where the Duchess of Cornwall meets PhD students who have worked on Sleep Lab research projects and the manager of the Parent-Infant Sleep Lab, Dr Charlotte Russell.

Men's testosterone levels largely determined by childhood environment

Co-authored by Durham Anthropology's Prof Gillian Bentley, a Durham University-led study published in Nature Ecology & Evolution suggests that men who grow up in more challenging conditions where there are lots of infectious diseases, for example, are likely to have lower testosterone levels in later life than those who spend their childhood in healthier environments.

To read the study in full please click the link below:

Childhood ecology influences salivary testosterone, pubertal age and stature of Bangladeshi UK migrant men

And visit the links below for recent press coverage of the study:

Men’s testosterone levels determined by childhood conditions not genetics, study claims (Independent)

Healthier childhoods linked to increased prostate cancer risk (Telegraph)

Durham Arctic Research Centre for Training and Interdisciplinary Collaboration (DurhamARCTIC)

DurhamARCTIC is a doctoral training centre at Durham University, funded by a grant from the Leverhulme Trust to support Interdisciplinary Understanding for a Changing Arctic (DS-2017-070). Between 2018 and 2023 DurhamARCTIC is supporting 15 doctoral students at Durham University, each of whom is pursuing a research project that contributes to and benefits from a blend of disciplinary expertise and interdisciplinary enquiry.

Laidlaw Scholarship for Undergraduate Students

Opportunities for funded research placements in the department, see link for further information:

“Our Lives with Electric Things”: Durham anthropologists publish a new collection of writing to extend the energy humanities.

Inspired by a Wenner-Gren funded workshop held at Durham in 2016, this new collection has been published in the Cultural Anthropology journal series ‘Theorizing the Contemporary’. The full collection includes 51 contributions, whose authors reflect on our lives with electric things, using electric artefacts to generate novel ethnographic insights.

Editor Professor Simone Abram says, ‘This collection is an inspiration for anthropologists and others to rethink how we live with electricity and reconsider the possibilities and limits of life with electric things’. With three co-editors from Edinburgh and Copenhagen, the collection covers electric fictions, backups, infrastructures, electric sustenance, electric air and more, making up 17 themes.

‘We are excited to bring together anthropologists from around the world to think about such pressing issues and invite readers to enjoy the collection and the inspiration it offers’ adds Prof Abram.

The collection can be read at:

Why the World Needs Anthropologists: Powering the Planet Oct 28-29 2017

A hundred and forty two people from twenty countries attended this two day symposium at Durham. It was the fifth such symposium to be organised on behalf of the Energy Network of the European Association of Social Anthropologists Participants were drawn from a range of academic disciplines engaged in energy research as well as representatives from industry and third sector organisations. The Saturday programme for the first day of speakers and discussion panel is now available online (see below). The first day also featured twelve organisations with stands and publicity materials. These included two anthropology consultancies from Scandinavia; the EASA Energy Ethics Network; Low Carbon Energy for Development; Mygrid; Energethics and Access for Women in Energy. Sunday featured five well attended workshops located across the Durham campus, covering energy and development, corporate responsibility, local history and careers for anthropologists beyond the academy.

Thanks to all those at Durham who helped make the event such a success and to our several sponsors see

(11 Dec 2017) » More about Why the World Needs Anthropologists: Powering the Planet Oct 28-29 2017

Pakistan Workshop 2008

9th May 2008, 16:00 to 11th May 2008, 15:30, Rook How Meeting House, Lake District, Cumbria, England

Spaces of Dialogue
May 9th-11th, 2008 - Rook How, The Lake District, Cumbria

Spaces of Dialogue
May 9th-11th, 2008 - Rook How, The Lake District, Cumbria

The 22nd Pakistan workshop will take place at Rook How in the Lake District from 9th to 11th May 2008. Each year a theme is chosen for the Workshop. The theme is meant as a guide to help participants select aspects of their research for presentation but has never been intended to exclude people whose primary interest may not happen to be that year’s theme. This year’s theme is Spaces of Dialogue and it is hoped that papers will deal with various forms of dialogue among Pakistanis, between Pakistanis and other groups, and dialogue about Pakistanis, both in the past and in the present, at home and abroad, and the global and local contexts in which these dialogues take place.

This workshop was founded to bring together anthropologists and sociologists whose research involved Pakistan, Pakistani diaspora and South Asian Islam. However, this workshop has also attracted scholars and researchers from a broad range of disciplines including historians, political scientists, economists and applied social scientists. In the recent years, the themes have also included Gender studies, Health studies, History, Literature, Religious studies and Management studies. We particularly welcome postgraduates from UK and abroad who are working in similar subject areas and wish to receive a friendly feedback from our group of academics and participants. This workshop has also emerged as a joint platform for new (including postgraduate students) and established scholars. It provides them the opportunity to get acquainted with each other in order to motivate and inspire people working in common fields of interest. This workshop is therefore normally kept small and intimate with a group of 25 or less people.

The venue, Rook How, is one of the oldest Quaker Meeting Houses in Britain and is an important location in the Quaker world. The Rook How offers dormitory style sleeping arrangements which are comfortable and affordable. For those who prefer B&B accommodation, there are several nice places around the area which can only be accessed if they have their own car. The total cost of the Workshop will be £65-70 approximately for those staying at the Rook How (this includes Workshop registration, reception, breakfasts, Pakistani lunches, teas and coffees).

You can register by contacting Mwenza Blell. A registration fee £30 for the Pakistan Workshop 2008 should be paid either by cheque (payable to ‘The Pakistan Workshop’) posted to:

Stephen Lyon
Department of Anthropology
Durham University
43 Old Elvet
Durham DH1 3HN

Contact for more information about this event.

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Contact Details

Department of Anthropology
Durham University
Dawson Building,
South Road,
Durham, DH1 3LE
Queen's Anniversary Prize 2017

Gold rated for teaching excellence and student outcomes

Royal prize for Parent-Infant Sleep Lab

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