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Study information

Anthropology of Forced Migration

Module titleAnthropology of Forced Migration
Module codeANT2109
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Kawa Morad (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module aims to introduce you to the current key issues, theoretical discussions, and debates surrounding forced migration and displacement. It aims to provide you with analytical tools and methods to better understand some of the most significant issues pertaining to displacement and forced migration. It will provide a solid introduction and basis to anyone wanting to pursue research, studies, or work on or with forced migrants in a variety of contexts. You will gain foundational knowledge of anthropological theories and concepts as they relate to forced migration and begin to develop an understanding of complex forced migration issues above cultural assumptions and everyday representations, thinking critically and analytically about key questions and problems. These concepts will be utilized to understand a variety of forced displacement contexts.

Module aims - intentions of the module

  • Understand how anthropology and other disciplines approach the study of forced migration.
  • Gain a foundational knowledge of anthropological concepts and approaches to forced migration.
  • Critically analyse scholarly debates about forced migration, belonging, displacement, and refugees.
  • Develop a critical understanding of forced migration and the experience of displacement by drawing on different ethnographic examples.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Show understanding and knowledge of the diversity and variety of experiences and cases of forced migration.
  • 2. develop arguments regarding the methodological and substantive issues associated with the anthropological study of forced migration.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. evaluate contemporary anthropological literature and related texts.
  • 4. Display, in written and oral form, an understanding of the discipline's relation to, and difference from, other social sciences approaches and explanations of mobility and forced migration.
  • 5. Appreciate key issues relevant to the contemporary world, and develop critical, comparative, and cross-cultural insight.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Demonstrate transferrable skills in formulating, researching and addressing focused questions
  • 7. Prepare focused and comprehensive written presentations.
  • 8. work independently and in collaboration with others.
  • 9. demonstrate cross-cultural understanding, translation and comparison, which will be of advantage in many professional settings.
  • 10. prepare and deliver considered oral arguments.

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Introduction: Anthropology of Forced Migration, Key Themes
  • Anthropological Knowledge: Ethics, Challenges, and Contributions
  • Categories and legal frameworks
  • Internal displacement and statelessness
  • Humanitarianism
  • Aid Regimes: Camps, Biopolitics, and Humanitarian intervention
  • Refugee economies and urban refugees
  • Gender and Forced Migration
  • Belonging and Identity
  • Possible Fieldtrip to RSD (Refugee Support Devon)
  • Representations
  • Beyond Bare Life

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching2211 x 2 hour seminars
Scheduled Learning and Teaching4Film and documentary screenings
Guided Independent Study20Preparing seminar presentations individually and in groups
Guided Independent Study74Reading and research
Guided Independent Study30Web-based activities

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Individual class presentations5 minutes1-6, 8-10Written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Portfolio of seminar responses409 responses (200 words each)1-9Oral and written
Essay601,800 words1-9Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Portfolio of seminar responsesPortfolio of seminar responses (1,800 words)1-9August/September re-assessment period
EssayEssay (1,800 words)1-9August/September re-assessment period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Agamben, Giorgio. 1998. Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life. Stanford University Press.

Arendt, Hannah. 1998. The Human Condition: Second Edition. 2nd Revised edition edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Bornstein, Erica. 2011. Forces of Compassion: Humanitarianism between Ethics and Politics. Santa Fe: SAR Press.

Fassin, Didier. 2011. Humanitarian Reason: A Moral History of the Present Times. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Elena, Gil Loescher, Katy Long, and Nando Sigona, eds. 2014. The Oxford Handbook of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies. Oxford University Press.


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Journal of Refugee Studies

Refugee Survey Quarterly

Forced Migration Review

American Anthropologist

Cultural Anthropology

American Ethnologist

Key words search

Anthropology, Forced Migration, Globalisation, Displacement, Refugees

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date