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.

    Biological anthropology

    Biological anthropology staff examine human evolution based on studies of ancient primates to early human ancestors, as well as the behaviour of primates to understand the processes behind primate and human origins. 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 runs a field project in the southeast of Madagascar to study the evolution of multiple lemur species and their reaction to human-induced environmental change.
    • Professor Anna Nekaris directs the Little Fireface Project, conserving endangered nocturnal species in Asia, with a long-term field project in Java, Indonesia studying the Javan slow loris.
    • Professor Anna Nekaris is also Co-Editor-in-Chief of Folia Primatologica, one of the top European journals in Primatology, and has appeared on the BBC's The Natural World.

    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.

    Human Origins and Paleo Anthropology

    The origins of human societies, human dispersal and tool use.

    • 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.