faculty & experts
08 November 2022

ANSO@10: Celebrating a decade of Anthropology and Sociology at the Institute

The Geneva Graduate Institute's Department of Anthropology and Sociology (ANSO) is celebrating its 10th anniversary during the 2021-2022 academic year. Professor Julie Billaud walks us through the department's achievements, learning, innovations and future. 

Within ANSO's decade of learning and sharing, what has the department achieved?
What we are primarily celebrating this year is the very existence of anthropology and sociology at the Geneva Graduate Institute, two disciplines that were not as much represented prior to the establishment of ANSO 10 years ago. We, as a department, are proud to have been able to assert the relevance of our disciplines for international studies and to have attracted so many students willing to study the ‘international’ from a grounded perspective.

The events we organised on the occasion of our 10th anniversary are meant to manifest our collective commitment to create a vibrant intellectual community of students and faculty devoted to learning and researching globalisation empirically, using the unique methods and theories of anthropology and sociology.

What can future students look forward to learning from our master and doctoral programmes in anthropology and sociology?
The department is offering a wide range of courses that address global issues such as biomedicine, human rights, humanitarianism, climate change, inequalities, mobility and migration, financialisation and extractivism; using the unique theoretical insights and methods of anthropology and sociology. Our master and PhD programmes prepare students to carry out their own empirical research and help them develop critical perspectives on how global problems are experienced differently around the world.

Have there been innovations within the learning/teaching processes that have evolved the curricula from 2011 until now?
A few years ago, the department abandoned its initial focus on ‘development’ and was renamed ‘the anthropology and sociology department’ so as to better capture the full scope and diversity of research carried out by its faculty and students. Indeed, ANSO does not specialise in area studies (even though it values geographic expertise) but rather contributes to transversal debates on globalisation from the vantage point of various geographic locations, including the Global North.

What makes studying transnational processes at ANSO unique is the possibility of immersing oneself in International Geneva and interacting with the various actors involved in global governance. Students not only learn in the classroom or the library, but also through socialisation in the surrounding international environment.

Interdisciplinarity is another major strength of the Graduate Institute, and it enables ANSO researchers to engage in broader scholarly discussions, extending beyond those of their specific comfort zones.  

What is ANSO most looking forward to in the coming decade?
In the coming decade, we are looking forward to further strengthening our teaching and research activities in the domains that we consider our main areas of expertise.

We are committed to continuing to experiment with research methods and theories, and to reinforcing the intellectual dynamism that characterises our relatively small but nevertheless dynamic community.

Learn more about our master programme in Anthropology and Sociology

This article was published in Globe #30, the Institute Review.