ASS204 - Doing Urban Anthropology

Unit details


2023 unit information

Enrolment modes:
Trimester 3: Online
Credit point(s):1
EFTSL value:0.125
Unit Chair:Trimester 3: David Giles
Cohort rule:






Incompatible with:


Typical study commitment:

Students will on average spend 150-hours over the teaching period undertaking the teaching, learning and assessment activities for this unit.

Scheduled learning activities - campus:

 1 x 1-hour class per week, 1 x 1-hour seminar per week

Scheduled learning activities - online:

1 x 1-hour class per week (recordings provided), 1 x 1-hour online seminar per week


This Unit allows students to practice “doing anthropology” — using ethnographic research methods to explore anthropological questions in their own urbanised contexts. They will design and carry out fieldwork projects incorporating: participant observation, fieldnotes, interview techniques, audiovisual documentation, surveys, data analysis (both traditional and digital), and ethnographic writing and communication in traditional and emerging media.

The Unit applies these methods to contemporary, cosmopolitan issues at work in students’ own “backyards”, developing anthropological and interdisciplinary frameworks to explore the sociocultural, political, and economic dynamics that shape our everyday lives and urban environments. This unit will therefore explore questions such as: How do global forces remake local places? How is culture reflected in urban space? What social relations make a city? What flows of people and things make up global economies? Who becomes empowered or vulnerable in the process? And what forms of agency do people create in their cities and neighbourhoods?

ULO These are the Learning Outcomes (ULO) for this unit. At the completion of this unit, successful students can: Deakin Graduate Learning Outcomes

Analyse cultural processes of urban space- and place-making according to anthropological theories and methods; and engage these with the theories and methods of other disciplines, including geography and sociology

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities


Identify the relationships between urban place-making and global forces such as migration, mass communication, economic liberalisation, and post-colonial conflict

GLO4: Critical thinking

GLO8: Global citizenship


Identify and pursue a specific line of anthropological inquiry; develop and support an argument regarding contemporary events using primary and secondary data sources

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities

GLO4: Critical thinking


Capture detailed, effective descriptions of sociocultural processes and systems using text and visual media; effectively and communicate and support arguments in writing

GLO2: Communication


Assessment Description Student output Grading and weighting
(% total mark for unit)
Indicative due week
Assessment 1 - Seminar/Online exercises 1000 words
or equivalent
25% Ongoing
Assessment 2 - Journal 1400 words
or equivalent
35% Week 6
Assessment 3 - Essay 1600 words
or equivalent
40% Week 11

The assessment due weeks provided may change. The Unit Chair will clarify the exact assessment requirements, including the due date, at the start of the teaching period.

Learning Resource

The texts and reading list for the unit can be found on the University Library via the link ASS204
Note: Select the relevant trimester reading list. Please note that a future teaching period's reading list may not be available until a month prior to the start of that teaching period so you may wish to use the relevant trimester's prior year reading list as a guide only.

Unit Fee Information

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