Tag Archives: anthropology

Royal Anthropological Institute conference success for student society

DSC_0890Wednesday 18 May saw Oxford Brookes University host the 6th annual Royal Anthropological Institute Student Research Conference. The event was open to undergraduate and postgraduate students from all over the UK and provided a fantastic opportunity to explore the broad range of research being carried out within the theme of ‘Anthropology in the 21st Century’. Congratulations go out to Oxford Brookes Anthropology Society for preparing such a successful event!

Students presented papers and posters on a huge range of topics from ‘The Social, Cultural and Educational Dynamics of ‘Change’ in the Lives of 21st Century University Leavers in London and New York City’ (John Loewenthal) and ‘Creating and Navigating LGBT Subjectives in Kingston, Jamaica: an analysis of an ethnolocalised concept of navigating non­normative sexualities as situated in an already globalized world’ (David Lowis); to ‘Red Kites and Rewilding: Exploring how Anthropology and Conservation can come together in the 21st Century’ (Miranda Strubel) and ‘Growing beyond the limits: an analysis of the cooperative underpinnings in the Neolithic Demographic Transition of Southwest Asia’ (Mattia Cartolano).


The day finished with a keynote speech from Oxford Brookes’ own Professor Jeremy MacClancy on ‘Anthropology and the Civil Service’ and the work that anthropologists can do outside of academia. This was followed with a wine reception where students, presenters, and staff had the opportunity to network and socialise.

Oxford Brookes lecturers to convene 2017 British Academy Conference

Carrying child news sizeAn interdisciplinary team of lecturers from the Department of Social Sciences at Oxford Brookes University has been selected to convene one of the prestigious British Academy Conferences, to take place in London in 2017. The theme of the conference will be ‘Vulnerability and the Politics of Care’, a subject that has broad academic and public appeal.

Over the course of the two-day conference speakers will present research and engage in discussions about vulnerability in contexts ranging from eldercare to the war on terror, from epigenetics to phenomenology.

The organisers are Doerthe Rosenow (Senior Lecturer, International Relations), Victoria Browne (Lecturer, Politics), Tina Managhan (Senior Lecturer, International Relations), and Jason Danely (Senior Lecturer, Anthropology) – all of whom are first-time applicants to organise the event. They decided to move forward with their British Academy proposal after a successful two-day workshop on the same topic held at Oxford Brookes University in January 2016, which included participants from across the UK and Italy.

For the British Academy Conference, the four organisers have built upon the success of January’s event and invited even more world-class speakers – not only from the UK, but also the US, Germany, Australia, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and Lebanon. One highlight of the conference will be a talk by Professor Judith Butler (University of California Berkeley), widely recognized as one of the most influential voices in contemporary social theory today. Butler, who is best known for her work on politics, gender and queer theory, has been at the center of developing a politics of vulnerability over the past decade, and was a key supporter of the conference proposal. More information on the conference will be available later in the year.

Oxford Brookes University to host the 6th annual National Student Conference for the Royal Anthropological Institute!


The Oxford Brookes Anthropology Society will be hosting the 6th annual National Student Conference for the Royal Anthropological Institute on Wednesday 18 May.

The annual conference is open to all students nationwide, both undergraduate and postgraduate. Tickets are available here, with the £10 attendance fee including refreshments for the day. The day will begin at 9am for registration, ready for a 10am start in the Union Hall.

The theme for the conference is ‘Anthropology in the 21st Century’, a broad theme that will display the broad range of research being conducted in the field. It will be a fantastic opportunity for students to present their work in the form of papers and posters. The day will finish with a keynote speaker (TBC) and a wine reception.

For more information, contact



PhD studentships now available for September 2016 start!

8460 800 by 430The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Oxford Brookes University is pleased to offer a number of full-time PhD Studentships across a range of subject areas for a September 2016 start.

The successful candidate will receive an annual payment of £14,000 as a stipend towards living expenses for a maximum of three years.  Home/EU fees will also be covered by the relevant Department for a maximum of three years.

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences spans a diverse range of disciplines that include social sciences, history, philosophy, religion, education, law, English and modern languages, and has a long tradition of producing world-class research. The REF 2014 results confirm our ‘world-leading’ and ‘internationally excellent’ research status in a range of subjects, and serve as official recognition of the expertise, dedication and passion of our academic community. We are now accepting applications for the following PhD studentships:


Department of Social Sciences

Applications are invited for a PhD Studentship in ‘Lemurs as protectors of the forest: Lemur seed dispersal, forest regeneration and local livelihoods in the littoral forest fragments of Madagascar’ The supervisory team will be led by Dr Giuseppe Donati (Primatology/Biological Anthropology), with Professor Kate Hill  (Anthropology). This proposed PhD project will examine the assumed role of lemurs’ forest regeneration and the likely value of this to local human populations.

Applications are invited for a PhD Studentship in Challenging Security Anew: Probing the Bases and Limits of Critical Security Studies. The supervisory team will be led by Dr Tina Managhan (International Relations) with Dr Doerthe Rosenow (International Relations). This proposed PhD project will explore the ontological and philosophical underpinnings of post-structuralist Critical Security Studies with the aim of furthering its critical ethos and politics.

Applications are invited for a PhD Studentship in Exploring family, care work and fatherhood in the ‘age of migration’. The supervisory team will be led by Professor Tina Miller (Sociology) with Dr Maja Cederberg (Sociology). This proposed PhD project will investigate the role of fathering and examine the emotion work involved in transnational migration, focusing on fathers who are migrants coming to the UK. In particular it will explore how men who are fathers navigate expectations of paternal care and associated emotion work across their home and host country, and how parental obligations and responsibilities are understood, maintained and practiced over time and across borders.


Department of English and Modern Languages

Applications are invited for a PhD Studentship in ‘Avant-Garde Writing, Technology and the Everyday’. The supervisory team will be led by Professor Alex Goody (Twentieth-Century Literature), with Dr Eric White (American Literature).  We are interested in proposals that examine the interactions between the avant-garde writers of modernism and its aftermath and the technological world of the twentieth century. The proposed research should aim to produce a new account of the relationship between the modernist ‘revolution of the word’ and the contingencies and externalities of living in a modern world radically reconfigured through technology (such as transport, inscription, information, communication, surveillance, prosthesis, augmentation and warfare).


Department of History, Philosophy and Religion

Applications are invited for a PhD Studentship in ‘The Art of Pre-Raphaelite Criticism’. The supervisory team will be led by Professor Christiana Payne, (History of Art) with Dr Dinah Roe (19th Century Literature). The proposed project will examine the role of contemporary criticism in the development of the Pre-Raphaelite aesthetic, with particular reference to the work of William Michael Rossetti and Frederic George Stephens.


Applications for the Sasakawa postgraduate studentship in Japanese studies are now open!


The Department of Social Sciences, Oxford Brookes University is pleased to invite applications for the Sasakawa Postgraduate Studentship in Japanese studies, made possible through the generosity of The Nippon Foundation and the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation.

The department can nominate candidates for the MPhil/PhD or Masters by Research for a studentship of £10,000. This studentship is initially for one year only, but may be renewable subject to satisfactory progress in subsequent years, up to a maximum of three years, beginning in September of the 2016/17 academic year. Please note that you will be required to reapply for the studentship each year, and that the GBSF will consider these applications on their merits. The GBSF cannot make a recurrent three year commitment to any one PhD candidate from year one.

For the successful MPhil/PhD candidates, Oxford Brookes is able to offer a further studentship of £7000, in addition to the Sasakawa studentship. This is also initially for one year, renewable subject to satisfactory progress, up to a maximum of three years. Please note that this does not apply to Masters by Research students.

 Please note that although you may use your studentship to help towards the cost of your fees, you will be responsible for paying your fees each year. International applicants should be aware that they will need to fund their fees at the international rate.

Candidate Criteria:

  • The research proposal must focus on Japan.
  • It is important that you and your referees comment on your skill in Japanese in the areas of reading, composition and speaking.
  • Interviews may partly be conducted in conversational Japanese.
  • Candidates must have submitted an application for admission by the Studentship application deadline.

MPhil/PhD candidates must have:

  • a good first degree (a good 2:1 or above) or are predicted to obtain one.
  • completed a degree with a substantive anthropology content or in Japanese studies and have a sufficient level of Japanese language ability to engage in fieldwork in Japan (normally this should be equivalent to JLPT level 2 or above).

A Masters is desirable, but we will consider candidates without a Masters who can demonstrate the ability to engage in substantial independent research.

Part-time programmes are not eligible.

Masters by Research candidates must have a good first degree (a good 2:1 or above) or are predicted to obtain one.

Applicants may be of any nationality, but Masters degree applicants must be either UK citizens (regardless of their current residency) or settled in the UK or have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years immediately preceding the start of their MA course.

How to apply:

You will need to follow the standard university application procedure. Please contact the Research Administrator Terri Morris: for further details.

Deadline: The closing date for applications is 17:00 on Monday 29th February 2016

Anthropology lecturer to present research at 2015 Caring Matters Conference

Anthropology lecturer to present research at 2016 Caring Matters Conference

Senior lecturer in anthropology, Jason Danely, will be running a workshop about his research on family-provisioned care in Japan at the Caring Matters Conference.

There are an estimated 6.5 million unpaid carers in the UK, and Jason’s research is part of a larger project comparing care in the UK and Japan. In particular, his work highlights the influence of culture on the kinds of stress and resilience experienced by family caring for older adults.

The conference will be held on Friday 20 November, to coincide with National Carer’s Rights Day, at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford and is organized by Carers Oxfordshire.

Other guest speakers include; Jen Kenward, Head of Patient Experience – Community, Primary and Integrated Care Nursing Directorate (NHS England), Professor Graham Stokes (Global Director of Dementia Care at BUPA), Paul Mayhew-Archer (British Writer, producer and Script Editor for the BBC), Ruth Patil (Carers Worldwide), Andrew Smith MP and Paul Cann, Chief Executive of Age UK Oxfordshire and Action for Carers Oxfordshire.

The event is free for carers. Anyone interested in attending should contact Carers Oxfordshire on

Oxford Brookes Anthropologist receives Early Career award from the Enhancing Life Project

DSC_8191 Danely 2

Senior Lecturer in Anthropology, Jason Danely, was one of only twenty scholars from around the world to receive a two-year $50,000 Early Career award from the Enhancing Life Project, a collaborative research group funded by the John Templeton Foundation in collaboration with the University of Chicago and Ruhr University, Bochum.

Danely plans to use the award to conduct research on compassion among family carers of older adults in the UK and in Japan. More developed countries like the UK and Japan are already experiencing major strains to the capacity of their social care systems to handle the growing number of older adults in need of care, and depend heavily on volunteers, charities, and family members. Danely has found that these carers are less likely to experience carer exhaustion when they see themselves as practicing compassion, and yet little is known about the differences in the meanings, practices, and experiences of compassion across cultures that have very different linguistic, religious, and cultural contexts. Danely plans to use ethnographic observation and interviews with carers to explore ways of cultivating compassion in order to help people around the world who may be struggling with the emotional burden of caring for an older family member.

As part of the award, Danely joined 34 other scholars, from theologians to neuroethicists,  from universities around the world last summer in Banff, Canada for a week-long workshop on what it means to “enhance life”. This fellowship, and Danely’s research on compassion, will form the basis for a new module at Brookes titled “Culture and Care,” in which students will be able to study care across the life course and in different societies around the world.

Wild chimpanzees drink alcohol using leafy tools, research finds


Research by an Oxford Brookes academic and a team of international scientists has found that chimpanzees drink alcohol using leafy drinking vessels.

The paper, by Dr Kimberley Hockings was published in the Royal Society journal Royal Society Open Science earlier this month (10 June) and received a huge amount of interest from national and international media.

The new research was headed by Professor Tetsuro Matsuzawa of the Primate Research Institute at Kyoto University in Japan and it provides the first empirical evidence of repeated and long-term ethanol ingestion by apes in nature.

Wild chimpanzees in Bossou in the Republic of Guinea, West Africa, harvest fermented sap from the raffia palm using elementary technology – a leafy tool as a spongy drinking vessel.

This absorbent extractive tool is dipped into the opening of the fermented palm sap container, then retrieved and put into the mouth for drinking. All age and sex classes ingested the fermented palm sap and some of the chimpanzees consumed high quantities of alcohol.

Dr Kimberley Hockings, from Oxford Brookes and the Centre for Research in Anthropology in Portugal, was lead author of the paper and commented: “Some individuals were estimated to have consumed about 85ml of alcohol, which is the equivalent to 8.5 UK units, and displayed behavioural signs of inebriation, including falling asleep shortly after drinking.

“Our research demonstrates that there is not a strict aversion to food containing ethanol in this chimpanzee community.

“This new use of elementary technology shows once again how clever and enterprising are humankind’s nearest living relations.”

Another recently published article by Dr Hockings explained how apes are adapting to living in human populations at an increasing rate. More can be read about this study on the University news webpages.

Photo credit: G. Ohashi, Chubu University, Japan, and Wildlife Research Center, Kyoto University, Japan

Human-Primate Interactions specialism at Brookes showcased by BBC Earth

Image Rights KJ HockingsDr Kimberley Hockings’ research on chimpanzees living in human-impacted habitats has been discussed in a fascinating piece published this week on the BBC’s Earth website. Entitled Learning to Live Together the conservation piece discusses a range of human-animal interactions including insights from Dr Hockings’ research on chimpanzees.

Dr Hockings, a Visiting Research Fellow at Oxford Brookes has undertaken research in Guinea, focusing on such issues as crop-ownership; ’who plants the crop’, where chimpanzees are ‘distributing’ cocoa seeds after eating. The piece also highlights an example of male chimpanzees feeding on papaya and sharing with females as a way of showing off and attracting mates, which she witnessed when studying a group of chimpanzees in the small village of Bossou, Guinea.

Dr Hockings’ work includes examples of chimpanzees adapting to the loss of their habitat, where they are seen to be much more flexible than previously thought. Her observations showed chimps crossing roads to reach food and how they would respond to the danger-level as a group. Adults males would lead and follow, with females and young chimps in the middle.

Much of the people-wildlife research conducted at Oxford Brookes can be found on the Human interactions with and constructions of the environment forum. Professor in Anthropology, Catherine Hill, leads the research group and has published widely around the subjects of social constructions of animals and their relevance to conservation, attitudes towards, and perceptions of wildlife and conservation conflicts.

There is a wealth of research expertise in the Department of Social Sciences as a whole, not only exploring primates and their environments, in modules such as People and Other Animals, Humans and Other Primates and Primate Ecology, but also more widely conservation, habitat and food security issues across a range of undergraduate and post-graduate courses.

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MSc Primate Conservation student publishes her research in local African newspaper


Joselyn Mormile, a student on the MSc Primate Conservation course, has been researching human-baboon interaction in South Africa for her dissertation. Joselyn has worked with baboons in South Africa for two years and decided to venture to Knysna, Western Cape Province, to undertake her research.

As a result of continued land development for human uses, wildlife has been forced to live in closer proximity to people. Many animals are able to adapt to this change while others cannot. Baboons in particular are highly adaptable and intelligent omnivorous primates. This has enabled them to exploit nearly any available resources, including human foods such as crops and rubbish. As a result of this behavior, they are often labeled as vermin and are highly persecuted throughout their African habitat.

Joselyn states, “I decided to study a non-endangered primate because I believe conservation efforts need to focus on being more proactive. I also believe that conservation efforts should involve cooperation with local residents.”


Joselyn’s ten-week study involved collaborating with many members of the community including residents, business owners, government officials and environmental organizations. Joselyn and her research were featured on the front page of the local newspaper, which has a circulation of over 100,000. Because of this, Joselyn was able to spread the word about baboon research and conservation.