School Newsletter 2019 - Welcome from the Head of School

elizabeth ewart delivering a talk as part of the oxford  gorongosa fieldschool 2019 in mozambique

Elizabeth Ewart delivering a talk as part of the Oxford – Gorongosa Fieldschool 2019 in Mozambique (Photographer: René Bobe)

Welcome to the School of Anthropology & Museum Ethnography’s newsletter for Winter 2019!

As I write this many of us are in the thick of our annual admissions processes, interviewing eager candidates for our undergraduate degrees and evaluating applications to the many postgraduate degrees hosted in the School.

Despite turbulent times and considerable uncertainty facing universities, 2019 has given us much to celebrate within the School.

This past summer, the School awarded the 1000th DPhil in Anthropology, just 83 years after Max Gluckman received the first Oxford DPhil in 1936!  

50 years ago, in 1969, the University approved the establishment of the degree in Human Sciences and we look forward next year to commemorating the 50th anniversary since the first students enrolled on the degree in 1970. As is the nature of things, the 50th anniversary of the first Human Scientists graduating will surely follow three years hence. Do look out for celebratory events over the coming years!

The BA in Archaeology & Anthropology is also preparing to celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2020.

If you are a former student of either of our undergraduate degrees, we would love to hear from you!

I am also delighted and proud that Anthropology came top of the QS World University Rankings in 2019. We value our close and enduring teaching and research relations with  the Pitt Rivers Museum and were consequently delighted when the PRM was nominated as a finalist for the Arts Fund Museum of the Year Award.

Amidst the many amazing successes and achievements of colleagues and students let me highlight the election of our colleague, Clare Harris, as Fellow of the British Academy, as well the appointment of Carlos Vargas-Silva to the Directorship of COMPAS.

As a School we have been fortunate to be able to make exciting new appointments this past year. Liz Hallam has taken up a brand new Associate Professorship in Visual, Material and Museum Anthropology in association with St Peter’s College, while Tim Clack has joined us as the first Chingiz Gutseriev Research Fellow in Archaeology & Anthropology. 2019 was not just a year for new posts, as we also welcomed the first cohort of students on the brand new DPhil in Migration Studies programme.

With so much going on, it will come as no surprise that our space problems are becoming ever more acute, and it is with considerable anticipation that I can share with you the good news that plans for our move to refurbished premises in the LeGros Clarke building just behind the Pitt Rivers Museum are progressing. Funds are still being raised and designs for the refurbishment are still on the drawing board so we are not packing up our offices on the Banbury Road quite yet. However, we do know that this move, which will see the whole School coming together under one roof for the first time ever, is projected to take place in 2022/23, and almost certainly before the 2000th DPhil is awarded.

While there have been many positive developments over this past year, I must also share with you the School’s deep sadness at the passing of two of our colleagues: Noam Segal, valued colleague and researcher at the Institute of Science, Innovation & Society and Janette Davis, a long-time research affiliate and friend of anthropology.

 I hope you will enjoy reading this Newsletter which shines a light on the achievements and research activities of our colleagues and students from across the School, but I hope you will allow me to celebrate and thank all those who while not always visible are nonetheless absolutely vital to the vibrancy and success of our School.

As students of all things social, we know better than many that none of us achieve our successes alone; the School’s thanks and appreciation are therefore due to every one of the many staff, students, visitors, affiliates and supporters of the School.

Elizabeth Ewart
Head of School (2018-)