School

The School is renowned for its contributions to anthropological theory, its commitment to long-term ethnographic fieldwork, and its association with the Pitt Rivers Museum and the anthropology of visual and material culture. In recent years the School has also become known as a centre for medical and ecological anthropology, migration studies, evolutionary anthropology, and the study of cognition and culture. Home to over forty academic staff, over a hundred doctoral students, eight Master’s programmes, and two undergraduate degrees (Human Sciences; Archaeology and Anthropology), Oxford anthropology is one of the world’s largest and most vibrant centres for teaching and research in the discipline. It came top of the Power (research excellence + volume) rankings for anthropology in the UK both in RAE 2008 and in the 2014 REF. In this last research exercise, the department submitted 56 people, making it by some way the largest in the country, with the highest number of top-rated publications, an excellent research environment, and very strong research 'impact'.

Anthropology has been taught at Oxford since E.B. Tylor began lecturing on the subject in 1883, and the first Professor of Social Anthropology, A.R. Radcliffe-Brown, was appointed in 1937. His successors have been Sir Edward Evans-Pritchard (1946-70), Maurice Freedman (1970-75), Rodney Needham (1976-90), John Davis (1990-95), David Parkin (1996-2008), and David Gellner (2008-). In 2006 a second Chair in Social Anthropology was established, to which Harvey Whitehouse was appointed from October 2006 (taking over from Professor Parkin as Head of School). David Gellner was elected to the first Chair in Social Anthropology with effect from October 2008.

Academically, the organizational unit for Anthropology is the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography. The School brings together the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology (ISCA), the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), the Institute of Human Sciences (IHS), the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology (ICEA), the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society (InSIS) and also aspects of the academic side of the Pitt Rivers Museum (PRM, which is governed through the University’s Academic Services and University Collections Group). ICEA includes the Centre for Anthropology and Mind (CAM). Apart from the Museum, the School’s buildings are clustered together on both sides of Banbury Road. In addition to staff offices, these buildings contain teaching spaces, library facilities (including the Tylor Library which houses 21,000 books, some 70 current periodicals, and about 14,000 pamphlets), meeting rooms, audio-visual equipment, computing facilities, common rooms, and kitchens.

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Canela men and women ritually march around the village circle, northeast Brazil (Theresa Miller 2012)

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