The Graduate Program in Social Anthropology consists in a master’s program and a doctoral program a single concentration, Social Anthropology, with four lines of research.
The program aims to train anthropologists of the highest scientific diligence and professional competence, qualified to work at institutions of higher education, research centers, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations in Brazil and abroad.
Formed in 1971, the Unicamp Graduate Program in Social Anthropology. (PPGAS), one of the first in Brazil, initially offered only a master’s program. In the mid-1970s, two doctoral dissertations were defended and approved, authored by professors Manuela Carneiro da Cunha and Luiz Mott. PPGAS launched the doctoral program in 2004 (the first cohort began working in 2005). Prior to this, the PPGAS faculty offered courses and advised students in different areas under the umbrella of the interdisciplinary doctorate in Social Sciences founded in 1985. The expansion of the program with the implementation of the doctoral program in Social Anthropology, with a more disciplinary focus, meant a more effective integration of three levels of education—the undergraduate, master's, and doctoral programs—as well as the possibility of better coordinating the lines of research at these different levels. In addition, this integration fostered greater visibility and institutional clarity for the program, attending to the increasing student demands. Currently, the PPGAS has 22 faculty members and a staff of five.
Area 1: Culture and politics
This line of research focuses on the permanent re-articulation of the fields of culture and politics, both theoretically and empirically, departing from a complex conception of the contemporary world. In this way, it seeks to connect different national and international debates around themes such as: colonialism and post-colonialism; nation formation and diasporic movements; urbanization processes and diversification of ways of life in the countryside and city; socio-cultural inequalities and policies of recognition and redistribution; experiences with the sacred and new forms of religiosity; and the social organization of belief. It also addresses transversal reflections on social memory, human rights, state violence, political disappearances, reparation processes and transitional justice, and Truth Commissions. It includes cross-national comparative studies between Brazil and other national and regional contexts: Portugal, the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, Southern Africa, and Central Eastern Europe.
Area 2: Anthropology and Ethnographies of Knowledge
Characterized by dynamic research, this area combines two notions—knowledge and existence—as multiple modes (and their expressions) to be understood. This union brings theory and ethnography together to form ethnographic theories that hold imagination and expressions as central themes and challenges in research into description, narratives, orthographies, and images.
At the intersection between anthropology, art, literature, science, and so-called conventional knowledge lies the union of knowledge and existence. This line of research is also open to interests in the ethnography of institutions, in biography and the experiences of people, material, and cultural goods, and in the epistemology of anthropology. The professors and researchers working in this area focus on such relations in their courses and seminars and welcome research projects that propose some theoretical and methodological innovation.
Sub-lines of research:
*Archive, Heritage, and Memory;
*Narratives, Spellings, and Images;
*Biography and Trajectories;
*Science and Other Modes of Knowledge.
Area 3: Ethnologies
This line of research covers ethnology in a broad and plural sense, from the fields of Africanism and Americanism (with an emphasis on the lowlands of South America) to studies of historically invisible "peasant classes,” which now lay claim to recognition of their ethnic and cosmological particularities, for example Afro-American populations (quilombos, palenques, cimarrones) and so-called traditional or indigenous peoples. Themes related to this line of research can be distributed across four broad interconnected fields: A) discourse analysis, cosmology and religion, aesthetics, mythology and ritual, gender, kinship and social organization; B) the sociogenesis and social micro-history of these collectives, their conceptions of history and memory, and the development of specific public policies aimed at those segments of the population, such as indigenism; C) questions concerning forms of spatialization and territorialization, mobility, territorial overlaps, conceptions of nature and management of resources, and finally, conflicts related to land titling and relationships with the State; and D) contemporary political organizations of an ethnic character, debates on official forms of recognition in the fields of health and education, as well as new forms of protagonists in the arts, in museums, and in the human and social sciences themselves.
Sub-lines of research:
*Quilombian Studies; peasants and traditional populations.
Line 4: Sexuality, Gender, Body, and Intergenerational Relations
This area includes studies that problematize gender along with social, cultural, and political expressions, experiences, and practices around the body and sexuality. Its general objective is to implement and when possible refine or develop theories and methodologies based on research that, by addressing various manifestations related to the body and sexuality, highlights the connections between gender and other categories of identity, such as age, race, ethnicity, gender, and social class.
The following themes and fields of social life are delimited by studies in this area: family, conjugality, and parenting; courses of life and generations; eroticism, choices, and sexual identities; uses, techniques, and technologies of the body; cultural production and uses of the image. This line also concentrates the study of changes in the way in which life is periodized and the age experience is lived by distinct social groups in the younger and older segments of the population. Understanding ages as forms of classification and hierarchization of the world, the study of generations is centered on the analysis of power relations and open spaces for specific social practices, particularly within what has been considered as the realm of intimacy, private life, and of the family, and with regard to production in the scientific field, to the sphere of justice, and to public policies that presuppose solidarity or aim to curb intergenerational violence.
One of the characteristics of our program has been the support and incentives for carrying out field research outside Brazil. Thus, themes that directly address the Brazilian reality add to those that concern other places, and currently we have both completed and ongoing researches in different Latin American and Caribbean countries (Argentina, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic) the United States, various African nations (Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique, and Uganda), various European countries (Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Bosnia-Hercegovina, and Serbia), and Asian countries (Israel, Iran, India, and Japan). Add to this the possibility of internship placements abroad both for our teachers and our students, as well as the constant presence of visiting professors and lecturers from around the globe—in recent years we have hosted scholars from Colombia, the Netherlands, Argentina, Mexico, the United States, Canada, Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, and Senegal for periods ranging from one month to one year—resulting in a highly internationalized program.
The selection process for admission to the Unicamp Graduate Program in Social Anthropology takes place the second semester of each year with the launch of a public contest for admission.
The general selection for the master’s and doctoral tracks consists of four stages:
1. Research project evaluation
2. Written test of knowledge in anthropological theory (bibliography determined in the call for admission applications)
3. Written test demonstrating knowledge of English in the master's degree and a second language in the case of the doctorate. In the master's degree this test is eliminatory.
Since 2015, PPGAS has implemented a policy of ethnic-racial quotas in its selection processes. Additional opportunities for admission are reserved for black (and brown) identifying students are contemplated in the regular call for admission applications, and a specific public call for admissions applications is offered exclusively to indigenous candidates.
Selection Process for Students Residing Abroad
Students residing abroad who wish to apply for admission to the Graduate Program in Social Anthropology must comply with the requirements of the specific selection documents that contemplate this modality of candidacy. Candidates enrolled in the process as residents abroad will not compete for the program's grants. If they wish to apply for scholarships, it is necessary to register for the residency process in Brazil, subject to the same selection criteria. Those who apply for admission as a "resident abroad" can also apply for a PEC-PG scholarship (for foreigners from countries where CAPES maintains this program); prospective students abroad may also apply together with their academic advisor for a FAPESP scholarship or apply for other scholarships through diverse organizations and institutions.
The PPGAS actively seeks to attract prospective students around the world to join our program, which has been extremely important in stimulating intercultural dialogue within the student body. Among students and alumni, we have a significant number of Argentine, Chilean, Colombian, Bolivian, Peruvian, Guatemalan, Mexican, Haitian, American, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian, British, German, Hungarian, Cabo-Verdean, Angolan, and Mozambican alumni.
Admission of Students with Special Needs
The Graduate Program in Social Anthropology admits, in the category of students with special needs, only persons regularly enrolled in other graduate programs. These students are not able to attend the required subjects.
Structure of the course
The minimum duration of the master's degree is 12 months, and the maximum time is 36 months. The activities of the master's degree course in Social Anthropology are subdivided into two successive stages, counted from the date of admission of the student. These two steps are called "coursework period" and "research period." During the "coursework period," we try to implement training in Social Anthropology and guide the elaboration of a research project that will lead to the composition of a master’s thesis.
For the master's degree in Social Anthropology, students must earn a total of 22 credits, distributed among five required courses and at least one elective course and must pass their thesis defense. Completion of these credits during the first year of the program is strongly recommended, so that the second year can be dedicated to research, data analysis, and writing of the qualifying text and final thesis. The qualifying examination must be completed within 18 months.
Structure of the course
The doctorate extends admission to students for a minimum period of 24 months and a maximum of 61 months. The activities of the PhD track in Social Anthropology are subdivided into two successive stages that begin when the student is admitted. These two stages are the "coursework period" and the "research period." During the "coursework period," we try to implement training in Social Anthropology and guide the elaboration of a research project that will lead to the composition of a doctoral dissertation.
For the title of Doctor of Social Anthropology students must earn a total of 17 credits in coursework, distributed among 3 required courses and at least one elective in addition to dissertation activities. It is strongly recommended that students complete the credits during their first year of the program, and the qualifying examination must be completed within 36 months. The Selection Committee may recommend that certain doctoral students from other disciplines or other Anthropology programs take certain courses offered at the master’s level.