A comparative discipline, Anthropology, is built on the attempt to understand what it means to be human across time and place. Our intellectual lineage in the department is varied, with intellectual roots at the University of Cape Town, Nelson Mandela University, the University of Michigan, and the University of the Free State. Immersed in, and experienced practitioners, of decolonial thinking, reflection, teaching, and research praxis, the department offers undergraduate and postgraduate students the opportunity to explore the diversity of humanity, with a close reading of an immersive understanding that foregrounds critical thinking, critical questioning, and critical experiencing. Students who do Anthropology not only learn about, and engage with ‘the other’, but they come to understand how their relationships with near and distant others shape their experience of the world.

At the undergraduate level, students are encouraged to delve into our course offerings as electives, or as modules taken to complete a minor or major in Anthropology. Across the undergraduate curriculum, you are introduced to Anthropology, situating, and questioning the histories of the discipline, rooting your history and experience in the cornerstone of what we do – fieldwork – and giving you insight into the ways that societies are configured whether through social categories like race, gender, or nationality or around other forms of externalized organization like kinship, politics, economics, and religion. At second-year and third-year levels specifically, some of the discussions at the first year are transposed into the curriculum for further deconstruction, further exploration, and critical engagement, including consideration of contemporary identity construction, the power of the symbolic, applied (activist?) anthropology, urban anthropology, and the anthropology of (un)development. The theoretical lenses anthropologists used also became more apparent in the second and third years. Throughout the curriculum reflection and reflexivity are important aspects of our pedagogic and think-feeling toolkit.

We offer postgraduate degrees all grounded in research at Honours, Masters, and PhD levels. Here students are encouraged to explore the discipline further in relation to other disciplines as much of the research work we complete in the department is interdisciplinary and holistic. We encourage you to write to the HOD, details provided below, to explore possibilities for further research and the requirements for each degree. A more detailed introduction to the staff in the department can be found here.

If you have a deep interest in how ‘groups’ of people create meaning and the ways in which a discipline can reveal future human potentialities (in spite of its chequered past, or maybe because of it?); and you are genuinely interested in understanding how you participate in the creation of systems of meaning, Anthropology is for you. You walk into Anthropology as someone with a particular story; you walk out of Anthropology as a human being in conversation with other human beings.

Department of Anthropology
Faculty of the Humanities
University of the Free State
PO Box 339
South Africa

Admin Officer
Gomotso R. Moticoe 
T: +27 51 401 3283 
E: Moticoegr@ufs.ac.za

Head of Department
Prof Joy Owen
T: +27 51 401 2334
E: Owenjn@ufs.ac.za


T: +27 51 401 2240 or humanities@ufs.ac.za

Marizanne Cloete: +27 51 401 2592

Neliswa Emeni-Tientcheu: +27 51 401 2536
Phyllis Masilo: +27 51 401 9683

Humanities photo next to contact block

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