Nikolay Ssorin-Chaikov’s master classes in anthropological theory
From March 24th to March 29th, 2014, the Cambridge University lecturer Nikolay Sssorin-Chaikov held a series of seminars dedicated to anthropological theory (12 hours in total) for students of the 2nd to 4th years of study and master students, all majoring in social anthropology.
The main aim of the seminars was for the students to master contemporary theoretical approaches to social and cultural analysis based on some case studies. These master classes dealt with some of the topical areas of anthropological theory. Among the themes studied were the linguistic turn, Michel Foucault’s approaches, the new interest in material culture, and the anthropology of science. For each of these themes, one class was held dedicated to the discussion of key theoretical texts, and one more one – to specific case studies and examples of applying those approaches to certain studies. Such classes are designed to let the participants understand the essence of theoretical approaches and how these work ethnographically. The reading list for the seminars contained the minimum of references so as to ensure a focused and in-depth discussion of the texts.
The participants liked the manner in which the new lecturer communicated with them. The classes were held as open discussions, the course of which was defined by the participants’ interests and thoughts on the texts in question. They were impressed and inspired by the variety of Nikolay’s research interests whose works they had also studied while preparing for the seminars. According to the feedback received, the seminars were very informative and interesting.