ANTH212-21S1 (C) Semester One 2021

Kinship and Family in Comparative Perspective

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 22 February 2021
End Date: Sunday, 27 June 2021
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 7 March 2021
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 14 May 2021


This course focuses on the importance and nature of family and kinship in the construction and maintenance of social relations by individuals as well as groups, in a variety of ethnographic contexts.

Family and kinship provide important ways for people to be related to each other in all societies throughout the world. An understanding of any human society is impossible without some understanding of kinship and family in that society. For this reason, topics of kinship and family have long attracted scholarly attention from various disciplines of social sciences, in particular anthropology and sociology. In this course, we will discuss classic and contemporary case studies of kinship and family in cultures and societies around the world, including African tribal societies, pre and post communist China, Medieval Europe, the United States and New Zealand, to list just a few. We will cover the topics of biology and culture, personhood and subjectivity, gender, and global capitalism.

Course Aims: This course is designed to enable students to understand the importance of kinship and family in human societies and the cross-cultural variations in how kinship and family are conceptualized and practiced. This course is also to give students a comprehensive knowledge of historical and contemporary theories and methods in kinship and family studies and enable students to apply these theories and methods to the analysis of kinship and family systems.

Learning Outcomes

After taking this course, students are expected to:

a)  Understand the ways in which anthropologists have understood kinship and family historically, and how these understandings have shifted in line with wider theoretical changes in the discipline.
b)  Appreciate the cross-cultural variation in how kinship and the family are conceptualized and practiced, and the role of these conceptualizations and practices in the structuring and conduct of social relations.
c)  Understand how the conceptions and practice of family and kinship are shaped by the broader socio-cultural, economic and political contexts.
d)  Be able to apply the theories and methods learned to the analysis of kinship and family systems.

NOTE: The correct pre-requisites for this course are as follows - please ignore the ones below.

15 points of 100 level ANTH or SOCI with B grade or better; or 30 points of 100 level ANTH or SOCI; or students without 100 level ANTH or SOCI but with a B average or better in 60 points in related subjects may enter the course with the approval of the Head of Department.


Any 15 points at 100 level from ANTH or SOCI or any 60 points at 100 level from the Schedule V of the BA.


ANTH312, GEND218, GEND318, SOCI212, SOCI312

Equivalent Courses

Course Coordinator

Zhifang Song


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Weekly questions and answers 5% Each student will have 2 opportunities to lead group discussion
Facilitating tutorial discussion groups 5%
Attendance and Participation 5%
Mid-term test 30 Mar 2021 25%
Ethnographic Project and Final Essay 05 Apr 2020 20% Part One Data collection
Part two 04 Jun 2021 40% 1500 words

Textbooks / Resources

Readings are posted on Learn.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $785.00

International fee $3,500.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Language, Social and Political Sciences .

All ANTH212 Occurrences

  • ANTH212-21S1 (C) Semester One 2021