Faculty of Arts

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitAnthropology
OfferedNot offered in 2015
Coordinator(s)Dr Julian Millie


This unit gives students a grounding in the history of twentieth century anthropological theories of culture, and addresses the crisis in culture theory in the last decades of the century. By the middle of the semester, students will be able to develop a viable definition of culture and flexible but critical theory of ethnographic representation. In the second half of the semester, students will develop conference papers in which they reinterpret a major ethnographic contribution within a particular area (e.g., a classic monograph from Oceania) in light of the critical theoretical training they have received.


There are four main objectives for this unit, considered both in terms of content and skills and experiences. Students will:

  1. Learn the broad historical outlines of the development of anthropological theories of culture, from early ideas of sociocultural evolution to later theories of structural functionalism, structuralism, and interpretive anthropology
  2. Continue to improve their ability to think with scholarly rigor and philosophical depth on the subject of culture while beginning to formulate their own ideas about how best to study it
  3. Develop the ability to write a focused and analytically rigorous conference paper of approximately 4,000-5,000 words
  4. Develop the ability to present such a paper to their peers.

All of these objectives are interrelated, and the unit is designed to lead the students toward greater independence and confidence in their abilities to be original and productive thinkers.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 288 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)


A first-year sequence in Anthropology or History or Politics or Sociology or a cognate discipline or by permission