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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 40 academics and over 30 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.


Anthropology News and Events

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:

Research in the Anthropology Sleep Lab that helps parents and babies sleep better gets Royal approval

More 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:

What an achievement!

The Durham Centre for Medical Humanities wins new Wellcome Trust Discretionary Award! Click here to read more!

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

The Primate and Predator Project

Read all about Professor Russell Hill's work on pages 6-7 in the Dialogue

Anthropology and DEI project chosen as exemplar to spotlight 30 years of Erasmus funding

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Departmental Seminar: Maritime Metaphysics and the Geometry of the Informational Surface

Presented by Susanne Küchler , UCL
24 May 2017 15:00 in Dawson Building Lecture Theatre, D110

While we are fully aware of the fact that a graphic pattern and number based code can store and transmit complex information much more efficiently than referential modes of representation, the analysis of pattern systems and the difference they make to culture and society has not significantly advanced beyond a general classification based on motion centred geometries of symmetry. This paper examines an intriguing example from the maritime world of Oceania where complex information is lodged as observable quantity and transmitted across vast distances in time and space via patterns whose underpinning metric and mathematical logic is understood qualitatively, with consequences for culture and society.

Contact for more information