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Social Anthropology:


Magnus Course

Magnus Course
Dr Magnus Course
Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology
5.24 Chrystal Macmillan Building 15a George Square Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
+44 (0)131 651 3893
Research Interests
Ethnography, Mythology and folklore, Memory, Language and Identity, Gaelic Scotland, Environment, fishing, the sea, Chile, South America, Death, religion and ritual, Italy

Guidance and Feedback Hours

  • Thursdays, 2 - 3.30pm

Research Interests:

  • kinship, personhood, and ritual in comparative perspective
  • Gaelic Scotland
  • the role of language in anthropological representations
  • fishing
  • sea, land and belonging

PhD Supervision:

I would be interested in supervising projects relating to:

  • Language and social life
  • fishing
  • Native American ontologies and cosmologies
  • Kinship and personhood
  • Symbolic and semiotic approaches to human life

Biographical Statement:

Magnus Course's research is concerned with the relations between kinship, personhood, power, language and land. He completed his PhD on kinship and personhood among the Mapuche of southern Chile at the London School of Economics in 2005, and the ensuing monograph was published by University of Illinois Press in 2011 as Becoming Mapuche: Person and Ritual in Indigenous Chile. The Spanish translation will be published by Editores Pehuen in 2017. He is the author of many academic articles on a variety of topics, as well as two edited collections, one (with Suzanne Oakdale) on indigenous autobiographies in lowland South America, the other (with Maya Mayblin) on new anthropological approaches to sacrifice. For the past four years, he has been working on the intersection of fishing and Gaelic culture in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. He recently started new research exploring changing attitudes to death and the afterlife in Naples.

Selected Publications:

Books & Special Issues: 

 2014. Fluent Selves: Autobiography, Person, and History in Lowland South America. (with Suzanne Oakdale). Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.

2013. The Other Side of Sacrifice: New Anthropological Approaches. Special Issue of Ethnos (with Maya Mayblin).

2011. Becoming Mapuche: Person and Ritual in Indigenous Chile. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.


Under review. The Woman Who Shed Her Skin: towards a humble anthropocentrism in Hebridean fishing. Environmental Alterities. Eds. Cristobal Bonelli and Antonia Walford.

Under review. Fishing, Gaelic, and Environment in the Outer Hebrides. (co-written with Gillebride MacMillan). Proceedings of Rannsachadh na Gaidhlig.

2019. Houses of Uist: memory and dwelling in the Outer Hebrides. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. Vol.25, No.1: 51-65.

2019. The Necrographic Imagination. in Articulate Necrographies (eds. A. Panagiatopoulos & D. Espirito Santo). Oxford: Berghahn Press.

2017. Changelings: alterity beyond difference. Folk Life, Vol.55, No.1: 1-10.

2014. The End of Me: Mapuche narratives of destiny. in Fluent Selves: Autobiography, Person, and History in Lowland South America. Eds. Oakdale & Course. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.

2013. The Clown Within: becoming white and Mapuche ritual clowns. Comparative Studies in Society and History. Vol. 55, No.4: 771-799.

2013. Speaking the Devil's Language: ontological challenges to Mapuche intersubjectivity. Language and Communication.Vol. 33, No.3: 307-316.

2013. The Other Side of Sacrifice. Ethnos. Vol.78, No.3: 1-12. (with Maya Mayblin). 

2013. The Apple is Grown, The Grape is Given: Two Modes of Mapuche Exchange. Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, Vol. 18, No.1: 1-13.

2013. The Fifth of Five Worlds. Anthropology of This Century. 

2012. The Birth of the Word: Language, Force, and Mapuche Ritual Authority. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, Vol.2, No.1: 1-26.


2012. Comment on "On the Importance of Visions among the Amazonian Shuar" by Steven Rubenstein. Current Anthropology, Vol.53, No.1: 39-79. 

2011. O Nascimento da Palavra: Linguagem, Força e Autoridade Ritual Mapuche. Revista de Antropologia (Sao Paulo) Vol.54, No.2. 

2010. Of Words and Fog: Linguistic Relativity and Amerindian Ontology. Anthropological Theory, Vol.10, No.3: 247-263.

2010. Making Friends, Making Oneself: Friendship and the Mapuche Person. In The Social Uses of Friendship: An Anthropological Exploration (eds) A. Desai & E. Killick. London: Berghahn Press.

2010. Los Generos Sobre el Pasado en la Vida Mapuche Rural. Revista Chilena de Antropologia, Vol.21: 39-58.

2009. Why Mapuche Sing. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. Vol. 15, No.2: 295-313

2008.  Estruturas de diferenca no palin, esporte Mapuche. Mana: Estudos de Antropologia Social  Vol.14, No.2: 299-328.

2007. Death, Biography, and the Mapuche Person. Ethnos, Vol. 72, No.1: 77-101.

2005. Borges, the Mapuche, and the Mother's Brother's Son. Cambridge Anthropology, Vol. 25, No.1: 11-30.

Topics interested in supervising

I would be interested in supervising projects relating to: Language and social life; Native American ontologies and cosmologies; Kinship and personhood; fishing; death.

If you are interested in being supervised by Magnus Course, please see the links below for more information:

PhD in Social Anthropology; MSc (R) Social Anthropology