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UOA 42 - Anthropology

RA5a: Research environment and esteem

University of Oxford: UOA42





Building on trends already under way before 2001, Oxford’s School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography has expanded rapidly into new sub-fields as well as achieving considerable consolidation of existing strengths (in 1996 19 Category A staff were submitted; in 2007 there are 41 Category A staff being submitted, equivalent to 36.90 FTEs.


The School has two research-active sections: the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology (ISCA) and the Pitt Rivers Museum (PRM), encompassing five major research clusters:


        Social Anthropology

        Visual and Material Culture, Representation, and Museums

        Medical and Ecological Anthropology

        Transnationalism, Migration, and Policy

        Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology


These clusters in turn encompass several new research centres, groups, and networks:


        COMPAS (the ESRC-funded Centre for Migration, Policy and Society) was established in 2003, building on the earlier success of the ESRC Transnational Communities (‘Transcomm’) programme (awarded in 1997, completed in 2003), giving anthropology a core role in an important area of social-science research. Funded at £3.8m for the first five years, COMPAS is eligible for a further five-year renewal in 2008.

        The Medical and Ecological Anthropology cluster incorporates several projects and postdoctoral fellows (£175k from ESRC and £150k from Oxford’s John Fell Fund).

        Following the appointment in October 2006 of Harvey Whitehouse to the newly established second chair of social anthropology, a Centre for Anthropology and Mind (CAM) was set up, laying the foundations for the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology (ICEA), led by Robin Dunbar (recruited as professor of evolutionary anthropology), of which it then became a part. ICEA funding (£4-5m) comes mainly from the EU, BA, and Templeton.

        The PRM attracted a large number of research grants, in particular £3.7m SRIF funding to facilitate a new integration of research in material and visual anthropology within the School (this was on top of £4.3m raised for the new Pitt Rivers extension).

        In the Social Anthropology core cluster, research is increasingly benefiting from cooperation with colleagues and institutions abroad. Examples include D. Parkin’s Indian Ocean Studies Project (diverse funding from Transcomm and elsewhere) and Gellner’s MIDEA project on democratisation in South Asia (€300k from EU Asialink).



1       Research Strategy


As outlined in RAE2001, the School takes a holistic approach to the subject, building on all core areas of social anthropology while encompassing new approaches and interdisciplinary initiatives. Eight strands identified in 2001 are now integrated into five clusters, resulting in a doubling of research capacity. As research deepens in particular sub-fields, relations and projects across them are encouraged. Throughout the School there is a shared commitment to intensive, long-term fieldwork and to regional and linguistic expertise as the foundations of anthropological research. Ethnographic specialisms span North and South America, Caribbean, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Melanesia, and the Pacific. The School is committed to tackling vital contemporary problems – such as official recognition of ethnicities, the management of migration, the repatriation of human remains – and their policy implications.


Oxford Anthropology’s research strategy incorporates four key elements:


1.      providing a stimulating and supportive environment for research students;

2.      encouraging research leave applications using the university’s sabbatical scheme and external funding;

3.      building up research centres and scholarly networks, typically with external funding;

4.      recruiting the best international researchers;



2       Research Students


Doctoral student numbers in the period 2001-07 averaged 100 at any given time, drawn from over 30 countries, with 15-20 new registrations each year, the annual MPhil intake being slightly lower. Some students are supported by home country or Rhodes scholarships. Others are eligible for Oxford scholarships (e.g. Clarendon and ORS). For home and EU students, there are ESRC grants. At any one time since 2001 there have been between 4 and 7 RC-funded students in the department (mainly ESRC). Oxford benefits from anthropology-specific funds: the Bagby scholarship, the Coltart Studentship (Exeter College), the Godfrey Lienhardt bequest for anthropology in Africa (Wolfson College), and the Evans-Pritchard postdoctoral fellowship (St Anne’s); the Peter Lienhardt Fund also supplies small grants for fieldwork.


Supervisors set tutorial work in accordance with the student’s needs. First-year students attend discipline-specific courses in research methods and post-fieldwork students attend generic social-science career-preparation courses. Students also attend a wide range of topic-focused seminars (see section 4).


Post-fieldwork students are encouraged to gain teaching experience. A formal mentoring system for new teachers was set up in 2006-07, building on established teacher-training provision. Many become associate practitioners of the HEA by preparing a teaching portfolio, evaluated by the DoE, with critical reflections on their teaching experience and commentary on current pedagogical literature.


Research students run the flourishing Oxford University Anthropology Society (, with encouragement and support from ISCA. Originally founded in 1909 and relaunched in 2001, OUAS invites distinguished speakers, organizes conferences and training (ISCA recently funded a workshop on producing book proposals), and provides mentoring to new students. Four conferences since 2003 have attracted prominent anthropological speakers such as Crapanzano, Luhrmann, Eriksen, and Hart.


Doctoral students graduating since 2001 have gone on to curatorial, teaching, and research posts both in Oxford (Bassini, Berg, Berlan, Low, Morton, Neveu-Kringelbach, Pirie, Potter, Praet, Scheele, Sridhar, Wainwright, Xiang) and other universities (Acosta, Arora, Arun, Batalha, Beckmann, Bell, Cheng, Clarke, Davies, Dudley, Freire, Graham, Halani, Hansing, Hirji, Ho, Hough, Isaac, Janev, Kaneko, Keshodkar, de Lannoy, Larson, Leopold, Linstroth, Makamura, Moore, Myre, Odo, Okamoto, Ozawa, Pecoud, Poole, Rizvi, Sensui, Sugishita, Vokes, Wingfield, Wong).



3       Income


External research income in the department has increased dramatically from about £0.5M/yr (2001-2003) to £1.2M/yr (2005-2007), supporting a capacity increase in independent research staff from 24FTE (2001) to 35.90FTE (Oct2007), and Research Assistants from 6FTE to 9.10FTE.


Since 2003 the school has built on its steady stream of project-level grants by securing multi-million pound programmes with significant training, conference/ seminar and dissemination components, and funding researchers at all levels. This has permitted significant staff development especially in the two sub-fields of migration (COMPAS) and cognitive and evolutionary anthropology (ICEA).


In addition to ESRC funding, COMPAS has secured substantial income from charitable foundations including £330k for its international comparative project on migrant care workers in an ageing society (Nuffield Foundation and Atlantic Philanthropies).


Much of the School’s cumulative research accomplishments are derived from smaller-scale research activities. E.g.:


               ‘Tibetan Visual History’ (AHRC, £238k, 2004-06)

               ‘Material and Visual Cultures of Sudan’ (AHRC, £228k, 2004-06)

               Research Fellowships: Leverhulme Major (Gellner); BA/Leverhulme Senior (Harris)

               >25 travel grants of which >20 from British Academy (c.£2k)

               Miscellaneous income streams e.g. Home Office, BBSRC, Museums and Galleries Commission, DfID, EC (5 grants, >£140k), International Labour Organization, Wenner-Gren).


The PRM Research Centre (PRMRC) under O’Hanlon’s leadership now provides externally funded projects with a first-class home, enabling greater collaboration between students, post-docs, and academic/curatorial staff. This has begun (2007) with Sadan’s British Academy post-doctoral award examining PRM collections in the light of the historical development of ethnic categories in Burma. Sadan’s project continues a strong tradition of externally funded research projects in this cluster which in the RAE period have generated over £1m and have facilitated the development of collective interests and expertise within the group.


Much anthropology-related research is funded in other Oxford units. For example, Frank Pieke (UOA49) is Director of the British Inter-University China Centre which secured almost £5m to develop graduate programmes in modern Chinese studies over the next five years from HEFCE/ESRC and AHRC.



4       Research Structure


Key features of the Oxford research context are:

1.             Large, research-led university;

2.             Broad disciplinary coverage (submitting to 47 UOAs in RAE2008);

3.             Subsidiarity principle adopted by Social Sciences Division: academic strategy and prioritisation set at the lowest level, by those who know the academic disciplines;

4.             College structure facilitates intellectual exchange across disciplines.


4.a            Visitors, Workshops, Seminars


Oxford attracts first-rate academic visitors, many of whom collaborate with staff in the School. For example, the late Darrell Posey was a well-known figure in Amazonianist anthropology and a Visiting Fellowship has been established in his name, the first being held, 2006-07, by Jan Salick. In 2005 COMPAS organized a seminar series on ‘New directions in the anthropology of migration and multiculturalism’ (including figures such as Grillo, Foner, Lamphere, and Eriksen). In its inaugural year, 2006-07, CAM was able to attract many high-profile lecturers in the series ‘New Perspectives in the Human Sciences’, including Baron-Cohen, Heinrich, and Lewis-Williams, as well as providing residential programmes for prominent researchers in the cognitive science of religion, such as Boyer, McCauley, and Pyysiainen.


The School is associated with several long-established special lecture series, in particular the Marett Lecture (Exeter College), the Evans-Pritchard Lectures (All Souls), and the Kaberry, Richards, and Ward Lectures organized by the International Gender Studies Centre at QEH. The School also hosts rotating lecture series, such as the Frazer Lecture (2005), and has attracted external funding to support many of its seminar series, workshops, and discussion groups (e.g. four such series were funded in CAM by the Templeton Foundation in 2006-07). There are a number of regular regional and topic seminars. In addition, Oxford colleges run anthropological series, such as the Green College Medical Anthropology seminars. Centres within the school run their own series, such as COMPAS seminars on migration and IHS seminars on various branches of human sciences. Research students often also organize their own seminars, either through OUAS, or informally.


The combination of resources, intense periods of interaction during the three eight-week terms followed by quieter periods of reflection, specialist workshops, and academic production, combined with sabbaticals, frequent academic visitors of the highest calibre, and a concentration of scholarships in adjacent disciplines – all this provides the basis for a vibrant, productive research environment, both for early career researchers (ECRs) and more established scholars.


4.b            Infrastructure


The School of Anthropology is based at two main sites, Banbury Road and the PRMRC. Banbury Road is home to ISCA (51-53 and 61, COMPAS (58a), IHS (58b) and ICEA (64). Besides offices, these buildings contain teaching spaces, library facilities, meeting rooms, video-conferencing equipment, computing facilities, common rooms, and kitchens.



The Pitt Rivers Museum, housing nearly half a million artefacts, is one of the two leading ethnographic museums in the UK and receives some 200,000 visitors a year. Its lecturer-curators, unusually, are contracted simultaneously to curate collections and exhibitions, and to teach, publish, and secure research funding. The new PRMRC integrates material and visual anthropology within the School. Staff and students can now draw on the collections and activities of a major ethnographic museum; they also benefit from a workroom with facilities for image and video editing, and analogue to digital transfer and a video library of over 250 titles. These facilities support the work of MAME and VA students for whom the School recently secured AHRC and ESRC funding.



Oxford University Library Services, centred around the Bodleian, are the UK’s largest academic collection, with over one hundred libraries, holding 11 million volumes (UK mean: 2.3m). The School of Anthropology incorporates two unique research lending library collections: the Balfour Library, which complements the PRM’s object collections, has around 20,000 books, 12,000 pamphlets, and 300 periodicals (150 current subscriptions); and the departmental Tylor Library, supporting theoretical social and cultural anthropology (21,000 books, about 70 current periodicals, and about 14,000 pamphlets). The Radcliffe Science Library is excellent for all aspects of medical anthropology, and migration studies and CEA needs are met by a combination of the Tylor and Social Science Libraries.


4.c            Fieldwork, long-term projects


Long-term projects are supported through external funding, shown in income increases, Fellowships, and recent moves to long-term programmes.  Fieldwork is supported through language training, formal training for both staff and research students supported by departmental funds, and >25 travel grants of which >20 from British Academy.


4.d       Fit to UOA Framework


Significant contributions to anthropology come from staff working across the boundaries of Oxford’s RAE UOAs. Examples of such staff are Goodman, Pieke, Ramble (all UOA 49), and Pirie (UOA 38), all of whom teach for ISCA’s degrees, and Gosden (UOA 33). Additionally, anthropology benefits from the involvement of individual anthropologists with development (Rival), refugee studies (Castles), education (Mills), Islamic studies (Talib), public health and clinical genetics (Shaw), and gender studies (Okely, Ardener, Waldren). Barrett, based within the School, has been entered in UOA 61 because his interests are focused very specifically on religious ideas.


4.e            Interdisciplinarity and Collaboration Support


Each member of academic staff holds an appointment to one of the 39 colleges of the University of Oxford. The college relationship is an essential part of the research experience at Oxford, and facilitates interactions with other academic departments, for example the links between medical anthropologists and medics at Green College (in June07 the medical anthropologists took the lead in organizing an entire day of interaction between all those involved in AIDS research within the university). Ulijaszek is establishing a group for interdisciplinary work on obesity within St Cross College. Whitehouse and Dunbar are building up evolutionary anthropology at Magdalen.


Interdisciplinary collaboration features prominently in the School. Hsu works with medical historians, ethnobotanists, pharmacognocists and parasitologists (e.g. testing an ancient Chinese herbal recipe of the antimalarial A annua).  Ulijaszek with anatomists, politics and international relations, management, public health, cancer epidemiology, obstetrics and gynaecology, and economic history; Rival with economists, geneticists, and other social scientists; ICEA staff with biologists, archaeologists, psychologists, and anthropologists on questions of human history and evolution; COMPAS staff with economists, sociologists, and anthropologists in the study of migration.


The University provides competitively awarded financial support targeted at interdisciplinarity and collaboration.  The internal Research Development Fund (RDF, 1998-2006) allocated £500,000/yr competitively to promising research initiatives. In Apr2006 the RDF was replaced by the John Fell Fund (£5m/yr, from OUP income), with specific emphases on interdisciplinarity, research career development, and seedcorn funding for major/collaborative programmes. A Fell Fund grant to Ulijaszek helped establish the Unit for Biocultural Variation and Obesity (UBVO) jointly with Medical Sciences, and a 50-50 grant/loan to Whitehouse in 2007 is providing departmental teleconferencing to facilitate current overseas collaborations, and assist future bids for increased international collaborations.


4.f            Support for Publications


It is impossible to ignore the withdrawal of some major UK academic publishers from anthropology in recent years. Thus an important strategy has been to develop outlets for anthropological research carried out in Oxford and elsewhere. There is a monograph series, ‘World Anthropology’, with James Currey and the School of American Research, Santa Fe (eds Allen and James). Four series have been established with Berghahn edited by Oxford anthropologists: ‘Methodology and History’ (ed. D. Parkin), ‘Fertility and Reproduction’ (Tremayne & D. Parkin), ‘Epistemologies of Healing’ (Hsu & D. Parkin), and ‘New Directions in Anthropology’ (Waldren). Whitehouse edits a series ‘Cognitive Science of Religion’ with Altamira Press and Banks is editor of ‘Key Texts in the Anthropology of Visual and Material Culture’ (Berg). The School provides support in some cases for research assistance, proof-reading, indexing, and other aspects of book production. JASO, the well-known in-house anthropology journal is currently undergoing transformation towards becoming a largely student-run electronic serial.


The TransComm Programme and COMPAS have fostered significant new publications. Vertovec edits the ‘Transnationalism’ book series with Routledge (22 volumes by 2007). Global Networks: A Journal of Transnational Affairs (Blackwell’s, from 2001) is based in ISCA and edited from Oxford by Rogers (Geography), Vertovec (ISCA), and R. Cohen (QEH). The Transcomm programme also produced a series of 82 downloadable Working Papers and managed a website including an on-line world news digest ‘Traces’ and a massive, searchable online bibliography.


4.g            Research Users


Users of COMPAS’s research include the World Bank, the Home Office, DFID, several UK Parliamentary Select Committees, the House of Lords, the European Commission, the OECD, the ILO, the TUC, Institute for Public Policy Research, International Organization for Migration, UNHCR, Save the Children, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Global Commission on International Migration, Commission for Racial Equality, Asian Development Bank, Atlantic Philanthropies, Department of Communities and Local Government, Irish Government and the London-based NGO Kalayaan which works with domestic careworkers. COMPAS work on migrants in low income employment (health, care, and domestic workers), on illegal and transit migration, on temporary migration, and on remittances has influenced the thinking of the Home Office, DFID, the World Bank, the European Commission, and the TUC among others.


Users of Medical Anthropology cluster’s research users include the British Museum, the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the United Nations University, and the European Union. The UK government’s Foresight obesity systems map, announced in October 2007, was drawn up by a national team of experts that included Ulijaszek. He was also one of two UK scientists invited to join a world committee of twenty tasked with drawing up new growth reference points to monitor global child health.


Oxford anthropologists have had their research cited or used by the BBC (Banks, Dunbar, Gellner, Pratten), DFID (Dresch, Gellner, Spencer), MOD (Pratten), Friedrich Ebert Foundation (Pratten), World Bank (D. Parkin, Pratten, Vertovec), the European Commission (Spencer, Whitehouse), FCO (James), and the HMRC (Dunbar).


4.h            Clusters


4.h.i      Social Anthropology

This research cluster acts as the core that links the others; all staff attend and take turns to invite speakers for the departmental research seminar, for example. As the oldest department of anthropology in Britain, ISCA is uniquely positioned to explore historical perspectives in social anthropology. History and anthropology have not properly been separable for some three decades; the cluster’s research strategy begins from that starting point and comprises two main strands: (1) the re-evaluation of intellectual sources in anthropology, and (2) a commitment to historically informed contemporary ethnography. New appointments (Gellner 2002, Ewart 2005, Pratten 2006, Whitehouse 2006, R. Parkin 2007) have strengthened both these strands.


Work in this cluster has focused on

(1)     re-evaluation of intellectual sources: e.g. R. Parkin on Dumont and his and de Sales’ re-evaluation of French anthropology; Allen on Mauss; Pickering’s British Centre for Durkheimian Studies; Gellner on Weber; James on Collingwood; Pratten on de Certeau;

(2)     the ethnography of history: Barnes on Indonesia, Dresch on Arabia, James on Northeast Africa, D. Parkin on Indian Ocean, Pratten on colonial Nigeria, Scheele on Algeria;

(3)     contemporary research, including national and ethnic conflict, population mobility, religious transformation, and state-level politics and law: Gellner on ethnicity, politics, and religious change in Nepal, Banks on neo-nationalist movements in Europe, Dresch on Yemeni law and Gulf national identity, James on the impact of civil wars in Sudan and Ethiopia, Neveu-Kringelbach on dance and performance in Senegal, Barnes on community diversity and on Indonesia’s middle class, Pratten on Nigerian youth, Whitehouse on global religious transformations, Hirschon on minorities and identities in the eastern Mediterranean, Turton on ethnic federalism in Ethiopia, and Ewart on body arts and modernity in Amazonia.


Members of this cluster have numerous international collaborative links, which have enhanced their research. Dresch works with CNRS and institutions in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and UAE; Gellner’s MIDEA project links Oxford, Bielefeld, Kathmandu, and Colombo; James works with the British Institute in E. Africa; D. Parkin is building links with Delhi and the Collège de France; R. Parkin has links with the Department of Anthropology, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan; Ewart and Rival are involved in a research bid for cooperation with French Amazonianists.


Within the School, cross-cluster cooperation includes Ewart’s work on the body and sociality in Lowland South America in association with the PRM (Ewart and O’Hanlon have recently completed an edited volume on body arts and modernity); Gellner and Hausner have research interests in Nepalese migration; James collaborates with the Sudan project in the PRM.


4.h.ii     Visual and Material Culture, Representation, and Museums

In its 2001 RAE statement, the visual and material culture cluster outlined its distinctive approach to materiality, ephemerality, and the collaborative research projects engendered by the Museum’s collections. These have developed strongly since, through staffing changes (Edwards and Webber left; Daniel, Ewart, Morton, Sadan, and Butler arrived), building of the new PRM Research Centre, co-teaching, focused externally-funded research, and collaboration between this cluster and others in the School.


The new PRMRC helps integrate material and visual anthropology within the School, supporting both postgraduate and staff research projects. For example, Harris (with Edwards and Richard Blurton, British Museum) directs the Tibet Visual History Project (AHRC £238k, 2004-06), which analyses photographic images from a crucial period in Tibetan history prior to the Chinese invasion: the project’s website features 6,000 images and new viewing technology, and is intended as a form of ‘virtual repatriation’ to engage with Tibetans both in Tibet and the diaspora. Peers has published on a visual repatriation project with members of the Kainai Nation; her AHRB-funded project (£78k, 2001-03) developed the first Protocol Agreement between a UK museum and an indigenous group. With funding from the Wenner-Gren Foundation (US$13k), Banks is seeking to devise policies and practices for the digitization of ethnographic film archives (including the PRM) around the world. These new methodologies are incorporated across teaching for all postgraduate students in the School via a seminar/lecture series on Research Methodology, specialist teaching on methodology for VA and MAME degrees, and lectures on issues of cultural representation for all postgraduate and undergraduate (Arch/Anth, Human Sciences) students.


Another theme explored in several funded projects is the analysis of historic museum collections, both in their formation and what they reveal about intellectual and anthropological history. Gosden and O’Hanlon’s Relational Museum project studied historic museums as trans-cultural artifacts composed of relations between museum and source communities (ESRC £326k, 2002-06). Recovering the Material and Visual Cultures of the Southern Sudan: A Museological Resource (Coote and Edwards; AHRC £224k) linked anthropological writings, photographs, and material collections from Sudan, showing the relation between the material and visual in anthropology; James has assisted with this project. The Other Within: An Anthropology of Englishness (Gosden and La Rue; ESRC £370k) uses PRM collections to examine the construction of Englishness in the late 19th century.


Discussions within this cluster have encouraged a number of publications on the theme of materiality and ephemerality. Banks, Harris, and Morton have all published on images and materiality. Banks has begun to extend this approach with research on forensic imagery and the evidential status of ephemeral ‘traces’, such as fingerprints; Harris plans research on ‘photographic intelligence’ in military and diplomatic contexts; Peers has published on the mutually constituted nature of biological, social, and material meanings of Ojibwe hair samples. Daniels’ publications explore the importance of the loss of material form and the ‘using up’ of goods in the creation of value in Japan. Daniels, Harris, and Peers have published on the materiality of museum collections, and on the politics, production, and consumption of objects – broadly, their sociality. This ‘sociality of materiality’ theme crosses over to aspects of social anthropology research in the School and to Ulijaszek’s UBVO, which focuses on consumption and display in relation to obesity, and of which Daniels is a member. For one term each year the cluster devotes its weekly film screenings and discussions to the subject matter of another cluster, e.g. a series of films on health and healing in 2005.


4.h.iii            Medical and Ecological Anthropology

Social and ecological/biological anthropology have some convergent agendas and at Oxford innovative ways of combining them are being pursued. Medical anthropology has been taught as an option from 1996, at MSc level from 2001, and at MPhil level from 2002. The first doctorates from this cluster were completed in 2006-07.


Research within this research cluster falls into three major fields.

1.      Research on health and healing from a social/medical anthropological perspective is pursued by Gellner, Hsu, and D. Parkin, together with research associate Tremayne, and her ‘Fertility and Reproduction Study Group’, a dozen or more research students, and two post-doctoral fellows (one ESRC and one Fell Fund). A new social/medical anthropology research group on Eastern medicines and religions (Argo-EMR), which emphasizes local language competencies, is in place since October 2006. Hsu is currently involved in field research on Chinese medicine in East Africa, working on the globalisation of a medical practice from East to South. Her research on ‘vital forces’ has led to collaborations with two ESRC post-doctoral researchers: with Low, leading to a JRAI Special Issue (2007) on ‘Wind, Life, Health’, and with Swancutt, whose current research on divination among the Yi in northern Yunnan contributes to a joint project on ‘Generating Synchronicity in Southwest China’ (2006-09).

2.      Research falling within nutritional and human ecological anthropology, is pursued by Ulijaszek, and several close research associates and doctoral students, including Sridhar, many in the new UBVO. Ulijaszek’s work has three foci: the study of human growth patterns and the factors influencing them, including nutrition and infection; the effects of economic modernization on nutritional health; and reproductive ecology and evolutionary nutrition.

3.      Ethno-ecology is pursued mainly by Rival and co-supervised research students. Rival is carving out a new research niche at the society/environment interface: 1) the existence of a biophysical reality with structures and processes of its own, as well as the implications of non-equilibrium dynamics, spatial and temporal variation, complexity, and uncertainty for social science enquiry; 2) the issue of value incommensurability from an anthropological perspective, offering a new analysis of the relationship between utilitarian values, social values, and ultimate values, aiming for a more comprehensive definition of human well-being.


Within ISCA, overlaps with the social anthropology cluster are strongest (Gellner, Hsu, D. Parkin, Rival). Gellner, Hsu and Ulijaszek also contribute to research and publications associated with COMPAS. Shaw’s work links social and medical anthropology with migration studies. Work in UBVO draws on research within the third cluster on consumption (Daniels). Rather than taking the ‘nutrition transition’ and ‘obesogenic environments’ as explanatory frameworks, the unit’s research investigates socio-cultural correlates and drivers of obesity, such as cultural constructs of body size, biological and social life histories, evolutionary adaptedness of psychological ambivalence, consumption and affluence, corporate and social marketing and corporate and social responsibility.


4.h.iv            Transnationalism, Migration, and Policy

An important strand of research throughout the School focuses on cultural practices that link social groups across borders and around the world, and on population movements and social change in human history. This work includes D. Parkin and Barnes (the Indian Ocean as a transnational space), Vertovec (theoretical work on diaspora and transnationalism; ethnographic studies of Hindu and Muslim diasporas), Hsu (Chinese healthcare workers in Africa), Dresch (transnational flows from and through the Arab Gulf), Charsley (transnational marriage among Pakistanis), Shaw (Pakistanis, health, and genetics), Harris (Tibetan diaspora), Van Hear (forced migrant diasporas), Xiang (internal and international Chinese migration, skilled Indian migration), Berg (memory and generational dynamics within the Cuban diaspora), Hausner (NGOs, development, and migrant women), Banks (ethnicity, nationalism), and Pratten (migration within West Africa).


After the end of Transcomm, ISCA successfully bid in the ESRC’s 2002 competition for a new national research centre focused on contemporary migration studies. The ESRC Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) was opened in October 2003. The mission of COMPAS is to conduct high-quality research in order to develop theory and knowledge, inform public opinion, and contribute to policy debates on migration.


Much research has been stimulated by applied research projects and by opportunities to provide policy analyses, evaluations, and recommendations for key national and international institutions, e.g. Spencer (integration and equalities policy), Van Hear (refugee flows, migrant remittances), Andrijasevic (women-trafficking in the Balkans), Düvell (migration via Turkey and Ukraine), Vasta (comparison of integration in UK and Netherlands), and Vertovec (multiculturalism and UK policy).


In 2007 COMPAS comprised fifteen research staff, four administrative staff, two ESRC postdoctoral fellows, a Marie Curie postdoctoral fellow, and seventeen research students undertaking advanced degrees in a number of university departments; four students have ESRC Centre-linked studentships. COMPAS has undertaken 38 research projects and consultancies, produced 24 commissioned reports and some 220 academic publications. COMPAS has also hired over 200 part-time research assistants, who have worked on a number of projects mostly through conducting multi-lingual interviews and transcription, data input, NVivo, STATA, and other modes of analysis. In addition to joint activities such as seminars and teaching, ISCA and the University contribute considerably to COMPAS through staff time, administrative support, library and computing resources, space, maintenance and other non-staff costs. ISCA and COMPAS staff have worked together to develop the School’s MPhil degree in Migration Studies, which is built on a strong foundation in anthropology. Charsley has been appointed as Departmental Lecturer in Migration Studies coordinating ISCA’s MPhil in Migration Studies.


Projects to a total of over £1.3m have been funded so far. The ESRC Strategic Board has graded interim COMPAS reports ‘Excellent’. The Board has been impressed in particular by the indicators on user impact nationally and internationally, and also on non-academic dissemination and on capacity-building.


4.h.v            Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology

Whitehouse set up the Institute of Cognition and Culture (ICC) at Queen’s University Belfast in 2004. Following his move to Oxford, Whitehouse established CAM as home to his Cognitive Science of Religion Project, funded by Templeton (2005-07). This research, paying for four postdoctoral researchers, grew out of Whitehouse’s British Academy Networks Project (2001-03) and aimed to test his ‘modes of religiosity’ theory via collaborations with over a hundred anthropologists, historians, and cognitive scientists. A British Academy Research Readership (2003-05) enabled Whitehouse to publish the results of this project in nine volumes (2004-07, one single-authored and eight jointly edited). CAM and the ICC now share between them the bulk of the work on the EU-funded ‘Explaining Religion’ project, involving collaborations between the UK, France, Holland, Austria, Denmark, Bulgaria, and Switzerland. Research strategy in CAM has been shaped by Barrett (Senior Research Fellow) and Cohen (Research Fellow). Like Whitehouse, Barrett aims to present scientific accounts of the prevalence of religious beliefs; Cohen’s collaborations with Whitehouse emerged from her doctoral research based on eighteen months’ ethnographic fieldwork in northern Brazil.


CAM provided a foundation for the establishment, in October 2007, of the ICEA, under the leadership of Dunbar (also a partner on ‘Explaining Religion’) together with additional Research Fellows Atkinson, Praet, and Roberts. The aim of ICEA is to bring cognitive, evolutionary, and anthropological perspectives to bear on major questions about human social, behavioural, and psychological evolution. This vision is pursued partly through Dunbar’s British Academy Centenary Research Project (‘Lucy to Language: The Archaeology of the Social Brain’), involving partners in Liverpool, Royal Holloway, Southampton, Canterbury, and Durham. Over the final three years of the Centenary Project, there will be a gradual shift in focus from the structural aspects of human groups to core phenomena like religion, story-telling, music and language, and their role in creating social coherence. Collaborations with archaeologists will enable hypotheses to be tested against what is known about early human sociality.


The work of the ICEA feeds directly into other clusters. For instance, an RAI-sponsored workshop in 2005 on the origins of kinship bridges biological and social approaches (to be published as Early Human Kinship: From Sex to Social Reproduction, jointly edited by Allen, Dunbar, James, and Hilary Callan). Whitehouse’s work (e.g. three recent volumes co-edited with historians) feeds into the historical concerns of the social anthropology cluster. The ICEA also provides quantitative research methods training for Master’s students across the School.



5       Staffing policy


The School of Anthropology has 24 members of academic teaching staff (three temporary) and 21 research staff (11 in COMPAS, 5 in ICEA, 3 in medical anthropology, 2 in PRM). In addition there are ten social anthropologists with permanent positions in other departments of the University. Maintaining a holistic approach to anthropology as the boundaries of the discipline expand has required new posts, both permanent and short-term. The former can only be justified in relation to new teaching positions; the latter may either be in research positions or temporary teaching replacement. In this way it has been possible to attract high-quality staff to new positions in Visual Anthropology (Daniels, Butler), Migration Studies (Charsley, Berg, Hausner), Social Anthropology (Pratten, R. Parkin), Material Anthropology and Museum Ethnography (Daniels), and CEA (Whitehouse, Dunbar, Barrett, Cohen, Roberts, Atkinson, Praet). New graduate degrees have been established in Medical Anthropology (2001), Visual Anthropology (VA, 2002), Migration Studies (2005), and Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology (2007), alongside the long-standing degrees in Social Anthropology and in Material Anthropology and Museum Ethnography (MAME). Altogether there was a graduate student intake of over 80 in 2006, and with the new degree in CEA, this grew to around 90 in 2007. While new, permanent staff must be linked to teaching provision, the strategy is also to provide training to ECRs, and to ensure that teaching duties of established researchers are not such as to preclude their active research.



5.1            Research support


Sabbatical leave. Academic staff are entitled to one term of sabbatical leave in every seven. This system, sometimes in conjunction with external awards, has facilitated much productive fieldwork.


Funding. The School currently provides £500 p.a. for each member of staff for conference attendance and to access data and research materials. Staff who have not developed grant portfolios receive priority in the allocation of additional support. Annual appraisals are also a chance to identify areas in which additional resources may be needed. These funds often combine with college research support (e.g. for conferences and fieldwork).


5.2            Support for ECRs

ECRs have a reduced teaching load and are not required to take committee memberships or other administrative roles for the first two years of their appointment. ECRs are assigned a senior mentor. Formal review is supportive and occurs after two years, then four years, to ensure staff are on track for tenure, which is granted after five years. The university established Career Development Fellowships in 2002, funded from HEFCE income under the University’s 2004-09 HR strategy. 27 were assigned for the period 2002-08 (both Morton and Xiao gained posts in this manner). Oxford has the John Fell Fund and the Boise Fund, both of which Anthropology has used, and plans to use repeatedly, to provide support for postdoctoral positions. Anthropology has regular success in securing college-based research fellowships (Makovicky, Neveu-Kringelbach, Sadan, Scheele, Sridhar).


Demand for postdoctoral places in ISCA is high. Young researchers are encouraged to be fully involved in all the School’s seminars and workshops, and to attend teacher training workshops provided by the Oxford Learning Institute. Maternity and paternity leave entitlements are at least equal to those at other UK HEIs; Oxford was recently rated one of the equal top three universities for parental benefits (Guardian 30/7/07).


Growing numbers of ECRs arriving in Oxford in the last three years constitute an investment in the next generation of anthropology researchers in Oxford.


5.3            Departed staff

Ward's death delayed decisions concerning the ideal location of biological anthropology, which subsequently moved to the Department of Zoology. The development of significant research links between biological and socio-cultural anthropology was initiated with the transfer of Ulijaszek to ISCA (to become engaged more fully in the medical anthropology programme) and will now be deepened by the arrival of Dunbar and the establishment of ICEA. Mundy left and was not replaced pending decisions about the location of biological anthropology. Edwards developed an internationally recognized approach to the anthropological study of ethographic photography and to visual anthropology generally. Her work has been continued by Banks, Harris, Daniels, and others. Riviere was a key member of the core social anthropology cluster: his work is carried on by Ewart and Rival.


6           Research Strategy: The Next Five Years


Social anthropology cluster plans are appropriately diverse, given the wide geographical coverage and interests of staff, and involve collaboration across the School’s clusters and with colleagues in other institutions (often both). Some illustrations:

        Pratten has one BA grant and two applications submitted (Leverhulme, DFID-ESRC) for ongoing work on youth, violence, and livelihoods; if successful, the DFID-ESRC application will support collaboration with the University of Uyo, Nigeria.

        Barnes works with two geneticists at the Max Planck Institute, Leipzig (259 genetic samples collected in 2001-03 in eastern Indonesia); the team plans to explore population history not only locally but with reference to long-term patterns such as the populating of Australia and New Guinea.

        Amazonian anthropology, pioneered in Oxford by Rivière, is supported by two permanent members of staff (Ewart, Rival), five doctoral students, and two research associates. In 2008 Oxford will host the 5th meeting of SALSA (the Society for Anthropology of Lowland South America).

        James is engaged in a collaborative multimedia project with the University of the West of England, and plans a research application for archiving audio-visual material from N.E. Africa.


A Centre for Material and Visual Anthropology is planned which will draw together staff and research students and form linkages with other research centres in the School, particularly COMPAS, e.g. on issues of consumption and social identity. Currently planned projects include:

        community use of historic objects to create and strengthen identity (Peers)

        visual and sensory dimensions of migration (Banks)

        transnational artworlds (Harris in collaboration with COMPAS).

The Centre will act as a resource (equipment and expertise) and as an intellectual focus for visual and material culture research across the University.


In its review submitted in June 2007, COMPAS set out its plans for the years 2008-13 around the following four themes:

        rethinking migration processes

        migration and precarious employment

        migration and social welfare

        migrant everyday life

Together these themes will provide new kinds of empirical, conceptual and policy-related insights into a range of contemporary and future migration dynamics stretching from the UK and Europe to inter-linked contexts around the world based on interdisciplinary work, detailed ethnographic fieldwork, and the construction of a national archive on migration.


Research in medical and ecological anthropology will develop along three major axes:

        health and healing from a social/medical anthropological perspective will focus on Eastern Medicines and Religions using a body ecological approach to illness and misfortune (Hsu). The aim is to build up the Argo-MER group to six post-docs and doctoral students, two working on popular rural, two on institutionalized urban, and two on transnational settings.

        UBVO will develop research into socio-cultural correlates and drivers of obesity, such as cultural constructs of body size, biological and social life histories, evolutionary adaptedness of psychological ambivalence, consumption and affluence, corporate and social marketing, and corporate social responsibility.

        Rival’s work on the society/environment interface (4.h.iii(3) above).


Research in cognitive and evolutionary anthropology will be shaped by three research programmes, around which research training and doctoral projects, as well as smaller grant applications, local collaborations, and postdoctoral fellowships will be organized:

        Barrett’s ‘Methodological Expansion Programme’ (from Oct 2007), funded by Templeton (£2m), is designed to enable anthropologists (not only in Oxford but nationwide) to develop techniques and skills to tackle anthropological questions that ethnographic approaches alone are insufficient to address.

        Whitehouse’s ‘Explaining Religion’ project (2007-2010) will bring six research fellows and several other academic and support staff to the ICEA. Using both existing ethnography (including by members of ISCA) and new ethnographic field research, this £1.5m project will seek to identify statistically measurable patterns of recurrence and variation in religious thinking and behaviour and provide a testing ground for new theories of the impact of both cognition and ecology on patterns of religious innovation and transmission.

        Dunbar’s ‘Lucy to Language’ project (2003-2010) will continue its investigations into both the deep Palaeolithic record in Africa and the more recent African/European record associated with the migrations out of Africa and the colonization of Europe by modern humans. One of the central questions is why the Neanderthals became extinct.


In building up the school leadership has been shown at a number of levels, by D. Parkin in providing the strategic overview and encouragement, by O’Hanlon in the PRM, Banks (Visual), Vertovec, Van Hear and others in COMPAS, Hsu and Ulijaszek in medical anthropology, and Whitehouse and Dunbar (ICEA). They have sought to encourage research, mentor junior team members, and ensure effective disciplinary and financial backing.


The School staffing strategy overall is to expand the present academic staff by five over the next five years with posts in each of the major clusters.






The School of Anthropology includes three Fellows of the British Academy (Dunbar, James, D. Parkin).

Ten staff were external examiners on 17 degrees in other universities; 19 staff carried out 86 doctoral examinations as external examiners; 15 staff were involved in 69 promotion reviews (28 overseas); 23 staff held 66 editorial board memberships.


Very experienced


Allen – keynote speaker, Salzau (2001); Anniversary Address Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (2002); invited speaker Russia, India, US (Harvard), Spain (three times), Greece, Kyoto, Paris; reviewer for Swiss National Science Foundation (2006)


Banks – chaired Social Anthropology panel for ESRC 2005 Recognition Exercise; member of Scholarships Committee of Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation; ASA Media & Publicity Officer (2002-05); on Wenner-Gren Foundation’s Advisory Council (Co-Chair 2006-7); invited and keynote lectures in Sweden, Germany, Ireland, Austria


Barnes – appointed ESRC Virtual College (2005); reviewer Swiss National Science Foundation (2004-05); Visiting Senior RF, University of Singapore (2008); Affiliated Fellowship IIAS, Leiden (2006 & 2007); invited lectures Japan, Taiwan, Korea, China


Dresch – member 4 learned societies; Visiting Fellow Collège de France; reviewer for Fulbright, Wenner-Gren, NWO/WOTRO (Netherlands), ESRC, National Endowment for the Humanities (USA)


Dunbar– 2001-4 member Home Office Animal Procedures Committee (chair of primate sub-committee); 2005 EU EUROCORES grants committee; ESRC Junior Fellowships Panel (2005-06); BA Research Professorship (2003-07); 16 keynote/inaugural lectures; own number (150) and Wikipedia entry


Gellner – Visiting Professor ICLAA, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (2003-4); Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship (2002-05); Wilde Lecturer in Comparative Religion, Oxford (2007)


Hirschon – Senior Visiting Onassis Fellow Athens (2005), Senior Visiting Fellow British School at Athens (2007-08); Colson Lecturer (2001), keynote lectures Istanbul (2003), King’s London (2003), Yale (2005)


James –President of RAI; Vice-President of British Institute in Eastern Africa; honorary doctorate University of Copenhagen; Elizabeth Colson lecturer (2005)


O’Hanlon – Overseer’s Committee, Peabody Museum, Harvard (2003- ); member international review committee, Zurich Ethnography Museum (2005- ); lead representative of Oxford on ‘Renaissance in the Regions’ programme; evidence to parliamentary select committee on museum funding (2006)


D Parkin – member of European Academy; member Nuffield Council on Bioethics; Member of COSS of Collège de France; member of RAI Working Group on the Well-being Initiative DFES; 4 named or keynote lectures


R Parkin – Writer in Residence, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan, 2006; Research Fellow, Max Planck Institute, Halle, 2002


RivalTrekking shortlisted Julian Steward Prize and Choice outstanding academic title 2003; invited speaker 2nd Ecuadorian Congress of Anthropology


Spencer, CBE (2007) – Deputy Chair, Commission for Racial Equality (2003-05); Chair, CRE Enquiry Gypsies and Travellers (2006), CRE Commissioner and Chair, Public Sector and Public Policy Committee (2002-06); advisor to Joseph Rowntree Foundation; advisor Atlantic Philanthropies, Dublin (2006- ); 3 major public lectures; 9 high-level government presentations; 10 advisory boards (6 government, 4 non-govt)


Turton – twice consultant on refugees in Afghanistan (UNHCR, Danida); invited chair major conference on federalism in Ethiopia ; two named lectures


Ulijaszek –review panel Wenner-Gren; Polish Academy of Science; Visiting Fellow Univ of Melbourne (2002- ), ANU (2004-05), PNG Institute of Medical Research (2001-03)


Van Hear – Senior researcher, Centre for Development Research, Copenhagen (2000-03); Acting Head COMPAS (2006, 2007-08); Advisor/consultant to DFID, House of Commons International Development Committee, Home Office, National Audit Office, UNHCR, Danida


Vertovec – Research Fellowship Institute of Advanced Study, Berlin (2002-03); ESRC-SSRC Visiting Fellowship (2006-07); Advisor to Cabinet Office, National Audit Office, EC, World Bank, etc.


Whitehouse – member of the ESRC Research Grants Board (2006- ); RAI Council member (2004-06), Lister Lecture (2001), Vassar Lecture (2005), Marett Lecture (2005), Darwin Day Lecture (2006), ten other major public lectures; BA Research Readership (2003-05), Founding Director of the ICC (2004-06), Associate Dean/Director of PG Studies Faculty of Humanities QUB, Honorary Professorship QUB (2006- )





Düvell – Humboldt Lecturer Nijmegen (2007); keynote speech Antwerp Univ. Centre for Migration and Intercultural Studies (2007)


Ewart – reviewer JRAI, Global Identities, Viewfinder, Duke UP


Harris – BA/Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship (2006-07); inaugural address 10th Conference of the International Association of Tibetan Studies Oxford 2003; AHRC Resource Enhancement Grant (£238,000) for Tibet Visual History 1920-1950


Hsu – senior advisory board on medical humanities, Oxford (2001-06); plenary speech IASTAM conference Halle, 2002; inaugural professorial lecture (Habilitation), Heidelberg 2002; expert at Academica Sinica Taiwan (2004-07)


PeersPictures Bring Us Messages shortlisted for the 2006 Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize; inaugural lecture, Native American Interpretation Initiative, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Virginia 2004; member DCMS Working Group on Human Remains (2001-03)


Pratten – council of RAI, reviewer Africa, African Affairs


Shaw – advisor Joseph Rowntree Foundation; advisor Genetic Interest Group, London IDEAS; consultant to BBC (2002, 2005, 2006); reviewer JRAI, Ethnicity and Health, SSM, MAQ, ESRC, Dept of Health


Vasta –Willy Brandt Visiting Professor, Malmo (2001-02); Visiting Fellow Macquarie University (2005); 4 advisory boards




Andrijasevic (PhD Utrecht 2004) – Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow, COMPAS; reviewer for Feminist Review, Graduate Journal of Social Sciences; invited lectures Brussels, Padua, LSE, Florence, Washington DC


Berg (DPhil Oxon 2004) – RAI Sutasoma Award (2003); reviewer Global Networks, Journal of Latin American Politics and Society; co-organiser of BA-sponsored conference 'Latin America and the Caribbean: Writing, History & Identity' (St Andrew’s 2007)


Butler (PhD Goldsmith’s 2004) – ESRC grant under Non-Governmental and Public Action Programme (2005-07)


Charsley (PhD Edinburgh 2003) – RAI Radcliffe-Brown/Sutasoma award (2003); reviewer Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies


Cohen (PhD Queen’s University Belfast 2005) – Templeton Research Fellow, ICC QUB (2005-06)


Daniels (PhD UCL 2001) – keynote lecture Nordic Design Research Conference (2005); public lecture Japan Foundation, Kyoto (2003); Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (2002–03), reviewer JRAI, Journal of Material Culture, Environment and Planning


Hausner (PhD Cornell 2002) – Winner Joseph W. Elder Prize 2004; reviewer Journal of Asian Studies, Identities; key lecture and catalogue essay accompanying ‘Holy Madness: Portraits of Tantric Siddhas’ exhibition, Rubin Museum of Art, NY (2006)


Low(DPhil Oxon 2004) – reviews in African Studies Review, Journal of African History; invited to African Healing Wisdom conference George Washington Univ. (2005)


Makovicky (PhD UCL 2007) – JRF Wolfson (2007-10)


Morton (DPhil Oxon 2002) – Head Photograph & Manuscript Collections PRM (2006- ); Career Development Fellow Linacre & PRM (2005- ); reviewer JRAI


Neveu-Kringelbach (DPhil Oxon 2005) – Evans-Pritchard JRF (2002-04), Senior Research Fellow (St Anne’s 2004-07), editorial assistant Social Anthropology


Sadan (PhD SOAS 2005) – JRF, Wolfson College (2006-10); British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship (2007-09); PRM (AHRC-funded) Project Manager ‘Tibet Visual History’ (2004-06); reviewer Journal of Asian Studies, ed. board SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research


Scheele (DPhil Oxon 2005) – JRF, Magdalen College (2006-10); invited lectures Princeton, EHESS, Ecoles des Mines (Paris), ZMO (Berlin)


Sridhar (DPhil Oxon 2005) – RF, All Souls (2007-12); Project Director ‘Global Health Governance’ (2006-08); reviewer Economics and Human Biology, Journal of Biosocial Science


Swancutt (PhD Cantab 2003) – ESRC Research Fellow (2006-09); Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Cambridge (2005-06); reviewer JRAI, Inner Asia, Cambridge Anthropology


Xiang (DPhil Oxon 2003) – invited papers in San Jose, Berkeley (2006), LSE, Azerbaijan, Osaka (all 2007); Member of National Advisory Group, PRC; reviewer for four journals, Welcome Trust, ESRC