Department of Social Sciences

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  • Research

    All of our academic staff value research, and maintain a high rate of grant success and publication in top journals for anthropology. Not only has this earned us awards and recognition, but we make sure to integrate research in our teaching at every level. Students at Brookes will get real hands-on experiences in collecting, analysing and presenting original research with the guidance of our experts, and the support of our resources and research centres.

    Body Arts: Scent, Pain and Exchange

    Professor Jeremy MacClancy talks to Helen Hales of the Pitt Rivers Museum about themes including scent and perfume, expressions of womanhood among a minority hill tribe in Pakistan, and the role of pain, degradation and empowerment in marking the body.

    ( 12.7 MB | 13:30 min )

    Source: Pitt Rivers Museum Body Arts | Scent, Pain and Exchange

    Social anthropology

    Social anthropology research at Oxford Brookes University has been supported by grants from ESRC, the Templeton Foundation, and the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation. Our staff have unique specialisations in the anthropology of Japan, Europe, and West Africa, including work on topics like family, identity, economy, ageing, care, food and sport. We use our expertise to support students’ original independent fieldwork research projects for their final year dissertations.

    • Dr Thomas Chambers' research focuses on labour, migration, craftwork and Muslims in India
    • Professor Jeremy MacClancy does work on British migrants in Spain and Brexit; early Western appreciation of non-Western art; the reception of asylum seekers in GB, Germany and Italy; the repopulation of depopulated rural Western Europe; public anthropology and histories of anthropology
    • Dr Jason Danely co-convenes the Age and Generations network of the European Association of Social Anthropology and the Aging and Life Course Interest Group of the American Anthropological Association
    • Dr Jennifer Diggins’ work on gender and East African economies has been used in international development reports as well as academic publications
    • Dr Louella Matsunaga's research focuses on ritual and the body in Japan, and on Pure Land Buddhism both in Japan and elsewhere
    • Ross Wignall's research specialises in development issues and focuses on youth, labour, gender and religion. His work with youth in West Africa has featured in reports for Plan International, DFID and the Mastercard Foundation

    Biological anthropology

    Biological anthropology staff at Oxford Brookes specialise in human origins, paleo anthropology, people-wildlife interaction, conservation and primate behaviour. We run active field sites in the UK, Madagascar, Jordan and Indonesia, examining early human settlements, relations between humans and wildlife, and the behaviour and conservation of living primates. This research is actively integrated into our teaching, and is supplemented by a diverse weekly seminar series.

    In 2008, Biological Anthropology staff were awarded the prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize in Higher Education for their work in Primate Conservation.

    • Professor Vincent Nijman investigates the nexus between wildlife trade, conservation and human health in Morocco, Myanmar and Indonesia.
    • Dr Giuseppe Donati is an expert in lemur ecology and conservation. He is one of the coordinators of the Lemur Conservation Action Plan in Madagascar.
    • Professor Anna Nekaris directs the Little Fireface Project, conserving endangered nocturnal species in Asia, and is Co-Editor-in-Chief of Folia Primatologica, one of the top European journals in Primatology. She has appeared on the BBC's The Natural World.
    • Prof. Catherine Hill studies people-wildlife interactions and conservation conflicts in Africa and the UK, and is a member of the IUCN SSC Task Force on Human-Wildlife Conflict.
    • Dr Susan M. Cheyne has worked on gibbon conservation for 20 years and has led a wide-ranging mammal conservation research across Indonesian Borneo. She is co-director of the Borneo Nature Foundation and Vice Chair of the IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group Section on Small Apes.

    Other staff are on the editorial boards of a range of key journals in our field including: Asian Primates, Contributions to Zoology, Endangered Species Research, Human Dimensions of Wildlife, Journal of Anthropological Sciences.

    Members of staff have had their research featured on BBC, Animal Planet, ITV, National Geographic and History Channel.

    • Dr Simon Underdown is chair of the Society for the Study of Human Biology. His work on Hominin Paleovirology has been featured on BBC radio programs like Jeremy Vine and 5Live.
    • Dr Sam Smith is an expert in chipped stone tool analysis and has worked on sites in the UK, Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa.