Anthropology - What Does it Mean to be a Human in this World?

We asked Carlo Cubero Irizarry, the Associate Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology to describe our Anthropology MA programme.



Please describe, what is the Anthropology MA programme about?

The Anthropology programme at Tallinn University offers a MA degree conducted in English. Two years ago we began an Audiovisual Ethnography pathway within our MA programme, which allows researchers to produce films, sound recordings, installations, and other formats as part of their final projects. Researchers interested in pursuing doctoral studies in Anthropology at TU can do so in within the Studies of Cultures programme.

The content of the Anthropology programme is focused on developing an understanding of what does it mean to be a human in the world, from a cross cultural perspective. In our courses, students and researchers examine questions pertaining to the relativity of world-views and cultural practices and place them in a global context. This is primarily carried out through analysing ethnographic texts and anthropological films in a seminar setting. Many of courses address issues like globalisation, migration, anthropological cinema, the anthropology of the body, anthropology of perception, amongst others. At the end of their studies, students carry out their own anthropological study in close collaboration with a supervisor.

How did the programme come about?

Our programme began in 2006, in the context of the expansion of the Estonian Institute of Humanities into Tallinn University. The programme received full accreditation a few years later and has been steadily growing since. We now have over 50 registered students and 5 staff members. The programme now is incorporated into the School of Humanities, which represents a series of very interesting possibilities.

Why is the Tallinn University School of Humanities, the right place to this programme?

First of all, the programme is open to students from all disciplines. We have here international academic staff whose regional research interests cover the Baltics, South America, Caribbean, Turkey, and India. During the studies the students participate a lot in seminar led courses that foster an active debating and discussing environment. Our programme is research centered. As I mentioned, there is an unique opportunity to specialise on Audiovisual Ethnography, which is taught and designed in collaboration between the Tallinn University School of Humanities and the Tallinn University Baltic Film, Media, Arts and Communication School. We have Erasmus agreements with several universities, which allows students to visit another European university for one year. The School of Humanities also receives many temporary lecturers and researchers through the Erasmus and DoRa network programmes. This ensures a lively and fluid environment.

What kind of courses will be offered to students?

Here are some examples of the courses:

  • Anthropological Theory Part I & II
  • Linguistic Anthropology
  • Anthropology of The Problematic Body
  • Performance and Body Movement
  • Anthropology of Islands
  • Anthropology of the State
  • Technology and Culture
  • History & Theory of Anthropological Cinema
  • Soundscape: Perception and Design
  • Anthropology of the Senses
  • Anthropology of the Caribbean
  • Contemporary issues in Migration
  • Anthropology of Globalisation

What kind of students, with what kind of backgrounds, might be interested in this programme?

Students interested in practice-based humanities.

What are the practical skills that students acquire during their studies?

A degree in Cultural Anthropology makes you competitive for a variety of jobs, from academia to social service agencies, the government sector and companies that do business internationally. To increase your prospects for being accepted into the programme, consider traveling or working in another country and learning a second language to gain hands-on experience with other cultures.

What jobs will student go on after they graduate? Academic prospectives?

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics: "Employment of anthropologists and archaeologists is expected to grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations". These numbers suggest there are not enough anthropologists and that this is a robust career choice, growing at a significantly higher rate than the 11% growth forecast for all occupations.

The American Anthropological Association conducted a survey last year and found that anthropologists have made valuable contributions in the following fields: Education/Outreach, Archaeology, Cultural Resource Management (CRM), Historic Preservation, Museum/Curation/Project Design, Community Development, Advocacy (human rights/social justice), Human/Social Services, Computers/Software Development/Information Technology, Design (products and/or services), International Development/Affairs, Forensics, Mass Communication, Administration/Management, Ethnography/Cultural Anthropology, Evaluation/Assessment, Health (international/public health), Environment and Natural Resources, Business, Tourism/Heritage, Healthcare Management/Services/Deliver, Management Consulting/Organizational Development/Training, Social Impact Assessment, Market Research, Law/Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement and Humanitarian Efforts.

What in your view is most exciting about this programme?

Its diverse group of motivated people make for a very lively and stimulating environment.

Read more about the programme and admission requirements from our web page.