University of Aberdeen
The Department of Anthropology in Aberdeen is a friendly community with a strong commitment to linking teaching and research to contemporary global issues. Our main ethnographic focus since the Department was founded by Tim Ingold in 2002 has been the circumpolar north, including Canada, Iceland, northern Europe and Russia, and we now also have expertise in Central Asia, the Himalayas, South America and Scotland and the UK. Department research themes build on our strengths in environmental anthropology and the north, covering religion, politics and the state, museums and histories of science, and art and craft.
As well as hosting a full range of Anthropology undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, we have an MLitt and a recently launched PhD in Museum Studies, and many students have moved on to professional careers in the museums sector. The Museums programmes have been supported by the appointment of Dr Jen Walklate as Lecturer and in early 2021 we were delighted to welcome Prof Sharon Macdonald as an Honorary Professor in the Department. We are exploring how we can further work with the University’s extensive museum collections, building on our experience of collaborative research with Indigenous and local communities.
Our recent research has been supported by many external grants, including from the ERC, ESRC, AHRC, Leverhulme and others. Current projects include Nancy Wachowich’s SSHRC (Canada) collaborative project with Inuit seamstresses, Jo Vergunst’s AHRC network ‘Creative Landscape Futures’ based in Scotland, and Arnar Árnason’s ESRC project on care in funerals during Covid 19 in the UK. Pandemic restrictions have affected much staff and student research but we have managed to find ways to continue. It has been particularly pleasing to see a number of PhD students completing their theses in 2020-21, including Annemiek Prins, João Francisco Canto Loguercio and Anna Kuprian.
Over the last year we have begun a number of initiatives aimed at decolonising our curriculum. These range from listening to the experiences of our students, reviewing course areas and content, and planning ways to better involve students in the curriculum. We expect this to be an ongoing process at all levels of our teaching. In the context of Covid 19, when so much of what was normal has been upended, the opportunity to reflect on what we do and how we do it is something we are all keen to pursue.