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2022 Workshop Descriptions

To find out more about each university’s course follow here.

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WORKSHOP SESSION 1 11:30 – 12:20

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Politics and Relationships in the US: An Anthropological Perspective

In this talk, Dr Siobhan Magee will discuss her research on marriage and other relationships in Virginia, USA. Personal relationships are very often at the centre of how people think about and discuss their lives, but they are also of great interest to governments, faith groups, activists, and the general public. The talk shows how marriage laws in Virginia have changed in line with changing attitudes towards ‘race’ and sexuality. It also discusses how changes to marriage law might themselves have the power to change social attitudes. How do anthropologists learn about history and memory in the place where they are doing research? How might they explore both big news stories and very personal memories?

Room: BP

Siobhan Magee, University of Edinburgh

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Anthropology of Heritage: Economic Development

In this session, we will explore some of the social changes initiated by heritage-based economic development by looking at case studies of heritage tourism in Antigua, Guatemala and Machu Picchu, Peru. We will discuss issues such as gentrification and infrastructure, overcrowding, power relations, and cultural resilience.

Room: Stevenson

Alanna Cant, The University of Reading

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What is love?

Romeo & Juliet, Beyonce & Jay-Z, Anna & Kristoff… popular culture supplies us with plentiful images of star-crossed lovers, powerful chemistry, and romantic proposals. Are these a good guide to what love looks and feels like? And is love a universal human experience? In this workshop, participants will be encouraged to reflect on what love means to them, what their own experiences have taught them about love, and about the power of culture to shape expectations of relationships, desire and intimacy. We will then explore anthropological case studies of heterosexual and same-sex love in different societies around the world before circling back to consider whether or not these encounters alter our own conceptions.

Room: Studio

Jessica Johnson, The University of Birmingham

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Student/Staff Collaborative Research

This workshop will explore the collaborative research methods that allow students and staff to work together on research. Drawing on experiences using Collaborative Event Ethnography and mixed methods approaches to study the Antiques Roadshow, children’s exposure to gambling adverts, anthropologists bookshelves as windows into their lives and an ongoing mudlarking project we will look at how one of the best ways to learn about anthropology is to do it as a big group.

Room: Moser

Gavin Weston, Goldsmiths College

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The Midas Touch: how 5 million years of evolution shaped our extraordinary human hands

The modern human hand is one of the defining anatomical characteristics of our species – empowering us to make and use tools that helped set us on an extraordinary evolutionary trajectory. In this workshop you will have a unique opportunity to directly examine the fossil evidence for the evolution of the human hand, beginning with our closest ape relatives, the hands of the earliest human ancestor, and through to modern humans (including the recently discovered hand fossils of Australopithecus sediba, Homo naledi, as well as Homo habilis, Homo floresiensis aka ‘The Hobbit’, and Neanderthals). The workshop will also offer participants the opportunity to use examples of lithic technology, and will be led by leading researchers in hand evolution from Professor Tracy Kivell’s APE Lab at the University of Kent.

Room: Sackler A

Chris Dunmore, The University of Kent

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Tik Tok Workshop

The world of TikTok is one which fascinates many. It has been a source of information, humour and distraction throughout the pandemic and continues to be a place where people learn to dance, cook, explore history and politics, and get to know each other.

This workshop will use creative anthropological methods such as group work, drawing and collaboration to explore digital anthropology and the world of TikTok. It will give participants an opportunity to experiment with anthropological methods in a collaborative setting and give them an insight into what doing anthropology and being an anthropologist is like.

Room: Sackler B

Elena Liber and Yathukulan Yogarajah, RAI Public Anthropology fellows

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WORKSHOP SESSION 2 12:30 – 13:20

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Stimulating Anthropology – Drugs and Medicines Around the World

The use of stimulants and intoxicants – ‘drugs’ – permeate all human societies, and a vast range of substances from coffee to cocaine are used in a wide variety of social contexts. ‘Medicines’ – often referred to as ‘drugs’ too – are also used in staggeringly different ways around the globe to maintain health and cure human and animal ails. This workshop explores the use of these potent substances across different cultures and societies. It shows how anthropological approaches to drugs and medicines deepen understandings of these substances and their pharmacology through drawing out the socio-cultural and political economic contexts in which they are enmeshed.

Room: BP

Neil Carrier and Theresia Hofer, University of Bristol

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Bringing them Home: the contribution of forensic anthropology for the repatriation of soldiers remains

During the 20th century, many countries have lost thousands of civilians and soldiers around the globe in cities and on different battlefields. Today, these remains are still being discovered, sometimes unexpectedly, and other times as results of a programmed search. Forensic anthropology is crucial for investigating human rights violations and for the recovery, identification, and repatriation of human remains. This presentation will describe cases where forensic anthropologists contributed to reconciliation and justice, serving humanitarian, legal and historical needs.

Room: Stevenson

Matteo Borrini, Liverpool John Moores University

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Brexit Britain: Why We Are All Post-Industrial Now

Are you interested in the Anthropology of Britain? What can an anthropological analysis of Brexit reveal about the social, cultural, political and economic landscape of contemporary Britain and even the world? Come with an open mind and prepare to collaborate in small group discussion.

Room: Studio

Gillian Evans, University of Manchester

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7 Million Years of Human Evolution in 45 minutes!

In this interactive workshop you will work with others to learn about shifts in what counts as biological knowledge and to think about how we use the human body to make difference and index social identities. Be prepared to speak from your heart, to learn things that will go against your gut reactions and to encounter others in the room in ways that could re-make your world – and theirs. No preparation necessary except an open mind. Darwin’s dangerous idea? And then some!

Room: Moser

Simon Underdown and Sam Smith, Oxford Brookes

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Life in Debt? What can anthropology tell us about the modern epidemic of indebtedness?

We often assume that debt is either a deep-seated problem (for which one must seek debt advice) or something dry-as-dust (that only bank managers and financial experts understand). But anthropology, the subject that offers insights into all things human, can tell us so much about this fundamental aspect of life – both through the ages and around the world. The recent explosion of money debt in countries as far afield as India, China, South Africa and Mongolia gives a perfect prism through which to understand why social anthropology is such a fascinating discipline.

Room: Sackler A

Deborah James, London School of Economics

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Your Dissertation Project, Your Research, Your Skills

Anthropologists conduct research and we teach our students how to do that. We help students with designing and conducting a research project and presenting the outcomes as a final year dissertation. This workshop will explain what a research dissertation in anthropology looks like (we will bring you examples of our students’ dissertations. Real ones, promise!) and how one should formulate and design a research project. Have you ever had an idea about certain aspects of culture (or anything else really) that you always wanted to investigate or learn more about? If you have, then come to this workshop and we will tell you how research projects in anthropology are designed, conducted and what outcomes of these projects are. How does one decide on a topic? How to formulate a research question? Are students even allowed to do fieldwork? What methods do they use? Why do we (and students) need to write about our research? We will answer these questions. You might have more questions – bring them all, we will provide you with answers.

Room: Sackler B

Tanya Argounova-Low, University of Aberdeen

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WORKSHOP SESSION 3 14:30 – 15:20

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Bodies and Performances

In the West, a beautiful body is often defined as a thin body. It may be surprising to learn, then, that in other cultures entirely different ideals of beauty exist. Among Fijians, for example, a full, rounded body is desirable, and is proof that a person is well cared for by their family and community. Bodies and bodily performances are important across all cultures and have been throughout history. Quite often, however, the very same bodies or practices carry different meanings depending on the respective cultures. In this workshop we will explore some anthropological approaches to the body, considering practices such as tattooing, piercing, scarring, masking, and wearing clothes, and find out how they express differences in individual, ethnic, religious, or gendered identities. Students will be venturing into the space of the British Museum to gather examples from past and contemporary peoples, which we will discuss together.

Room: BP

Meike Fechter, University of Sussex

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Ethnographic Film Screening

A collection of short films:

Gũlā – Music for a sacred time | 2020 | 15 min.
Director: Remigiusz Sowa
Introduces the rich and varied Hindu-Buddhist religious and ritual musical heritage of the ancient royal city of Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. The film was made as part of a process of research and was guided by key Nepali musicians, who chose what was filmed and how best to convey a strong sense of why this musical heritage and its preservation matters to their community. The film immerses the viewer in the spiritual music of the Newar community that expresses their relationship with the gods that is central to their social identity.

Nadirah: Coal Woman | 2019 | 3 min.
Directors: Negar Elodie Behzadi , Kate Jessop
In Kante, a small village perched at 2000 metres in the Fann Mountains of Tajikistan, 19 highly stigmatised women work illegally as coal miners every day. This animation tells the story of one of these women miners. Based on a collaborative feminist art-research project, this film makes visible otherwise invisible issues around gender, work and exclusion in a desolate extractive landscape.

Ethereality | 2019 | 14 min.
Director: Gahigiri Kantarama
Based on research on the lives of African migrants in Switzerland, this film starts with a fictionalised narrative about the first African astronaut who returns to Europe after being stranded in space for thirty years. How does it feel to finally come home? The Afro-futurist frame serves as a reflection on migration and the sense of belonging.

Room: BP

Steve Hughes, RAI Film Officer

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Meet the Ancestors

Why do humans look the way we do, and how did early human species differ? In this session we will explore differences in skull shape between humans and our early ancestors; and how each of these differences relate to how we move, what we eat and life history.

Room: Studio

Ashleigh Wiseman, University of Cambridge

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Environmental Anthropology and Doing Research with Animals

Some geologists say we’ve reached the Anthropocene — the age of humans. With climate change, species extinction and an Earth littered with plastics, anthropologists have become increasingly concerned with human-environment relations. Environmental anthropology can offer valuable insights on how we got here and what we ought to do about it. In this session, I’ll dive into my own doctoral research at UCL and discuss how doing anthropology beyond the human (multispecies ethnography) can help us find avenues for solutions to our ecological crisis.

Room: Moser

Gabriella Santini, UCL

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Disease, Death and Dissection: Evidence for Health Care in Past Societies

This workshop will explore the evidence for disease and medical intervention on human remains from the medieval to the Victorian period. We will discuss how we can interpret this evidence to determine levels of health care in past societies.

Room: Sackler A

Heidi Dawson-Hobbis, University of Winchester

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Learning to play the game: how migrants become ‘legal’ in Italy

Whether motivated by humanitarianism or a desire to control borders, contemporary debates on migration in Europe consistently focus on “illegal” border crossings. Much less is known about the everyday workings of immigration law inside borders. Drawing on in-depth fieldwork in Italy, this workshop will explore how migration processes actually play out on the ground and the unexpected consequences that are produced.

Room: Sackler B

Anna Tuckett, Brunel University London

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WORKSHOP SESSION 4 15:30 – 16:20

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‘Gold walks like a snake’: How anthropology can help us understand ‘natural’ resources

The continued global rush for natural resources that underpins the global capitalist system still shows no sign of abating, even in the face of their depletion and the contribution of extractive projects to an accelerating climate crisis. In the face of these contradictions, anthropologists are increasingly examining the production of natural resources and its global and local manifestations. In this talk, we’ll look at some of the insights that this cross-cultural, ethnographic perspective, can bring to understanding resources. We’ll explore how natural resources are not ‘natural’ but ‘made’ by humans, both conceptually and materially, through complex cultural, economic and technical processes of transformation. We will look at how and why wildly different substances – like gold, oil, water, timber, sunlight – come to be understood, used and valued as ‘resources’ and what this means in different social and political contexts. And we will examine how resources are embedded in and reshape social relations, processes of meaning-making, worldviews and economic practices, with a focus on gold mining in Cameroon.

Room: BP

Rosalie Allain, University of Oxford

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Anthropology and Storytelling

This workshop will speak about how stories and storytelling are central elements in anthropological work.

Room: Stevenson

Fiona Murphy, Queens University Belfast

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Ethical anthropology: towards an inclusive study of humanity

Studying the everyday lives of humans and other primates is at the heart of anthropology, but can raise difficult ethical questions about how we should conduct and present our research. We have a duty not to harm our research participants, but how can we ensure this in an unequal world, particularly when studying ‘sensitive’ topics such as health, identity and politics? In this session we will explore the challenges of building an inclusive study of humanity, with interactive exercises based on real-life ethical questions that we encounter as anthropologists. These questions challenge us to reflect on what ethics is and what an inclusive study of humanity would look like.

Room: Studio

Liana Chase and Leo Hopkinson, Durham University

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Pandemics Past and Present: Anthropological Perspectives

This workshop explores the insights that anthropologists bring to the understanding of epidemics and pandemics. Social anthropologists are interested in human social life and social relationships, the nature of obligations and dependencies between people, as well as the social contexts of their everyday interaction. Biological anthropologists explore how these forms of social interaction and organization evolved, and the impact they still have today on health and physiology. In this session, we learn about the value of this expertise in understanding social experiences of highly infectious diseases and informing public health measures. We investigate how anthropologists have applied their knowledge to the management of COVID-19 and Ebola.

Room: Moser

Rosie Read and Emilia Hunt, Bournemouth University

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Introduction to Forensic Anthropology

Forensic anthropology is the examination and analysis of human remains, in particular the skeleton, for medico-legal purposes. During this workshop, attendees will learn how to identify bones of the skeleton and how to assess sex, age, and stature from these skeletal remains. This information forms part of a biological profile which can help identify an unknown individual.

Room: Sackler A

Rebecca Reid, University of Dundee

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Using cultural heritage as a means for inter-community cohesion and well-being in refugee camps

Room: Sackler B

Adrian Evans, The University of Bradford

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