Dr Piers LockeCare of captive elephants.

Anthropology

Why study Anthropology?

Anthropology is primarily the study of humanity, and it explores the human condition in multiple ways.  It is about who we are, how we organize ourselves into groups, and the practices and beliefs that give meaning to our lives.

Anthropology is also about the relations we develop with other forms of life; about the ways we respond to crisis and conflict; about forms of identity and belonging; and about the historical legacies that configure the social world.

Social and Cultural Anthropology

Here at the University of Canterbury, we introduce you to social and cultural anthropology.  Related to human geography, history, indigenous studies, linguistics, philosophy, political science, psychology, and sociology, this kind of anthropology is distinctive for a research method called ethnography.  To undertake ethnographic research is to immerse oneself in the activities and relationships of everyday life.

For more information about anthropology and anthropological career paths see:

News and Announcements

Anthropology

June

Associate Professor Aditya Malik (Anthropology), currently Fellow, Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Study, Erfurt (Germany), and former Adjunct Associate Professor of Anthropology, Antje Linkenbach (also currently Fellow, Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Study, Erfurt) are organizing an international conference on: Realizing Justice? Encountering Normative Justice and the Realities of (In)Justice in South Asia between 11-13 June (flyer and programme). The participants and session chairs are from USA, Europe, India and New Zealand with disciplinary backgrounds in Intellectual History, Law, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, Art History, Sanskrit, Social Philosophy and South Asian Studies including the History of Indian Religions. The conference has received funding worth approximately 19,000 Euros from the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft), the Max Weber Center, and the University of Erfurt. The theme of the conference draws inspiration from Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen’s work on The Idea of Justice (2009).   Although Prof. Sen is unable to attend the conference because of a busy schedule, he has recently conveyed his interest in the questions being asked at the conference and the outcome of the discussion.

The School of Language, Social, and Political Sciences would like to extend a warm welcome to Canterbury staff and students to attend the next instalment of our monthly symposium series, Talking Texts: A Pretext for Interdisciplinary Conversation, on Thursday May 15 (Fine Arts, Block One, “Red Room”, 3:15-5:15pm).

These symposia aim to foster a gregarious intellectual space within which to share the ideas and inquiries that interest us most, and to discover the unexpected intersections between them. Each month, speakers from across a range of disciplines are invited to share a short presentation about the work that compels them, followed by discussion among all present of the themes and questions which emerge from each speaker's comments and from their juxtaposition. These topics are united loosely by a concern with "texts", both on the page and otherwise, both as objects of inquiry and as media of communication. Staff and students equally are encouraged to be part of the conversation. And, of course, refreshments will be provided.

This month's featured speakers and themes will include:

  • Dr Bill de Friez (Fine Arts, University of Canterbury, NZ), who will be discussing and screening clips from his film, currently in production, about dogs in Thailand.
  • Dr Piers Locke (Anthropology, University of Canterbury, NZ), who will be discussing and screening his ethnographic film, Servants of Ganesh: Inside the Elephant Stable, about traditional elephant handlers in Chitwan National Park, India

On Friday May 2 Piers Locke gave a talk for The Department of Anthropology seminar series, University of Otago. He will be giving a presentation titled: "Interspecies Intersections: Ethnoprimatology and Ethnoelephantology".

A human-animal themed issue of the journal Environment and Society: Advances in Research has just been published, featuring an article by Piers Locke (Anthropology). Titled 'Explorations in Ethnoelephantology: Social, Historical, and Ecological Intersections Between Asian Elephants and Humans', it traces the emergence of a new approach to the study of humans-elephant interrelations that integrates methodological perspectives from the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Exploring the ways in which human and elephant lives and landscapes are socially, historically, and ecologically entangled, it reviews latest research in anthropology, geography, and history.

Patrick McAllister’s research on the lunar new year in Vietnam is the subject of two recent articles in Tuoi Tre, Vietnam’s largest circulation national daily newspaper. See: http://tuoitre.vn/tet-2014/590828/giao-su-patrick-toi-an-tuong-nhat-voi-tap-tuc-cung-xom.html
http://tuoitrenews.vn/features/17155/new-zealand-professor-proves-to-be-tet-enthusiast

March

Aditya Malik has been invited to participate in an international conference on "The relevance of traditional cultures for the present and the future" organised by the India International Centre-Asia Project in New Delhi from 24-26 March. The purpose of the conference is to "bring together intellectuals from different countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America who have reflected and will reflect on the fundamental questions whether the long civilisational histories of these countries, with their rich and varied knowledge systems and cultural traditions, have a meaningful and significant role to play in the contemporary world and certainly the world of the future." Conferences participants include academics, thinkers, writers and social activists from Brazil, Mexico, Benin, Ghana, Egypt, Greece, U.K., Russia, Austria, Vietnam, Indonesia, India, China and other countries. Aditya's presentation is entitled: "Articulations of Being: Reflections on the crisis of modern civilisation." 

Aditya Malik gave a guest lecture at the Centre for Modern Indian Studies (CeMIS) at the University of Goettingen on 5 February, titled “Petitions to Goludev: Notes on Intimacy, Truth and Justice in Uttarakhand”

Terralingua Organization's semi-annual magazine - Anthropology PhD student Kierin Mackenzie has guest edited the latest issue of the Terralingua Organization's semi-annual magazine Langscape, which aims to promote a paradigm shift by educating minds and hearts about the importance and value of biocultural diversity for global sustainability through scientific and cultural knowledge. The theme of this issue in the Emerging Paradigms series is Weaving Innovation and Tradition.

Piers Locke gave a presentation to the Human Geography Seminar Series in the School of Geosciences at the University of Edinburgh on February 20. The title of his presentation was 'Ethnoelephantology and The Multispecies Turn: New Approaches to Human-Elephant Relations'.

Patrick McAllister’s research in Vietnam was the subject of a major news story in the country’s highest circulation national newspaper, Tuoi Tre, on 7 Februay. See http://tuoitre.vn/tet-2014/590828/giao-su-patrick-toi-an-tuong-nhat-voi-tap-tuc-cung-xom.html
and http://tuoitrenews.vn/features/17155/new-zealand-professor-proves-to-be-tet-enthusiast

Environment and Society: Advances in Research - A human-animal themed issue of the journal Environment and Society: Advances in Research has just been published, featuring an article by Piers Locke. Titled 'Explorations in Ethnoelephantology: Social, Historical, and Ecological Intersections Between Asian Elephants and Humans', it traces the emergence of a new approach to the study of humans-elephant interrelations that integrates methodological perspectives from the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Exploring the ways in which human and elephant lives and landscapes are socially, historically, and ecologically entangled, it reviews latest research in anthropology, geography, and history.

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