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Readings for students interested in HSPS subjects.

Preliminary Reading

The titles listed below provide overviews and introductions to these subjects. HSPS Students should also consult the lists for Politics, Sociology, and International Relations. Many readings are particularly relevant to the first year course. Two of the Social Anthropology titles are case studies (‘ethnographies’) of individual societies, intended to introduce you to the discipline’s distinctive method and approach.

You are not expected to read all of the books recommended below, but your first weeks at University will be easier if you read at least some of them. Try to read at least one book from each discipline, so as to familiarise yourself with some of the key ideas, topics and perspectives that you will encounter in your first year of study. Visits to museums and archaeological sites, as well as travel, are all good ways to develop your interests and understanding of the discipline.

Please note: that many of these books are re-issued and updated every couple of years, so if you can find a more recent edition of any book, all the better! Check publication dates — for Bio Anth especially, older versions may omit many recent fossil finds that have changed our understanding of human evolution, for example. However, reading an older version is better than not reading the book!

General interest


International Relations


Social Anthropology

Egyptian & Mesopotamian Language & Culture




Dr Pieter van Houten, Director of Studies in HSPS (Social & Political Sciences)

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