Human, Social and Political Sciences reading list

For prospective students

A student reading in the Library

Reading in King's Library

We advise you to read the HSPS page thoroughly. For reading and preparation advice you should find the following sections particularly useful:

Do also keep an eye on the subject resources, which provide more general guidance and examples for developing your academic interests.

For offer holders

Congratulations on your offer of a place at King's. We wish you well in any remaining examinations you still need to take, and we look forward, if all goes well, to welcoming you here to begin your studies in HSPS.

Student at a waterfall

Raffaella at Victoria Falls during her fieldwork trip to Zimbabwe

Below is a list of suggested readings for the main subjects in the course. Some of these will be new to you, so it is a good idea to use some of the time you have before coming to Cambridge to sample some new subjects. This will help to inform your choice of first-year courses when you arrive.

Do not be alarmed by the length of these reading lists. There is no expectation that you will necessarily have read anything like all of the books. They are designed to give you plenty of choice, and to be useful for once you begin your studies here, as well as for general reading in advance. Most should be readily available in paperback, or from a library.

Archaeology

  • Timothy Darvill (2010) Prehistoric Britain. 2nd Edition. London: Routledge.
  • Clive Gamble (2000) Archaeology: The Basics. London: Routledge.
  • Ian Hodder (2012) Archaeological Theory Today. 2nd Edition. Cambridge: Polity.
  • Barry Kemp (2005) Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilization. 2nd Edition. London: Routledge.
  • Colin Renfrew and Paul Bahn (2012) Archaeology: Theory, Methods, and Practice. 6th Edition. London: Thames & Hudson.
  • Chris Scarre (1998) Exploring Prehistoric Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Chris Scarre (2009) The Human Past: World Prehistory and Development of Human Society. 2nd Edition. London: Thames & Hudson.
  • Barbara Bender et al (2007) Stone Worlds: Narrative and Reflexivity in Landscape Archeology. Left Coast Press.
  • Martin Jones (2008) Feast: Why Humans Share Food. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Marc Van de Mieroop (2006) A History of the Ancient Near East. 2nd Edition. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Robert Wenke (1999) Patterns in Prehistory4th Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Biological Anthropology

  • Robert Boyd and Joan Silk (2012) How Humans Evolved. New York: Norton.
  • Robert Foley & Roger Lewin (2003) The Principles of Human Evolution. 2nd Edition. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Peter Gluckman and Mark Hanson (2004) The Fetal Matrix. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Matt Ridley (2004) Nature via Nurture. New York: Harper Collins.
  • Chris Stringer (2012) The Origin of our Species. London: Penguin.
  • Frans de Waal (2001) Tree of Origin: what Primate Behavior Can Tell Us About Human Social Evolution. New Edition. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.  
  • Matt Ridley (2003) Nature via Nuture. Genes, Experience and What Makes Us Human Fourth Estate.
  • Larsen, Clark Spencer (2011) Our Origins: Discovering Physical Anthropology Wiley.
  • Mark Jobling, Edwards Hollox, Matthew Hurles, Toomas Kivisild and Chris Tyler-Smith (2013) Human Evolutionary Genetics 2nd Edition Garland Science, Abingdon and New York.
  • Jared Diamond (1997) Guns, Germs, & Steel W. W. Norton.
  • Frances Ashcroft Life at the Extremes Harper Collins.
  • McMichael, A. J. (Tony) Human Frontiers, Enviroments and Disease: Past Patterns, Uncertain Futures Cambridge University Press .
  • Muehlenbein, M. P. (ed.) (2010) Human Evolutionary Biology Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Laland, K. N. & Brown, G. R. Sense & Nonsense: Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Behaviour 2nd Edition Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Politics

  • Benedict Anderson (1983) Imagined Communities: Reflections on the origins and Spread of Nationalism. London: Macmillan.
  • Headley Bull (1977) The Anarchical Society. London: Macmillan.
  • John Dunn (2005) Setting the People Free: The Story of Democracy. London: Atlantic.
  • Niccolo Machiaveilli (2003) (1532). The Prince. London: Penguin.
  • James Mayall (2000) World Politics: Progress and its Limits. Cambridge: Polity.
  • David Runciman (2006) Politics of Good Intentions: History, Fear, and Hypocrisy in the New World Order. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • James C Scott (1998) Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition have Failed. New Haven: Yale University Press.
  • Adam Watson (1992) The Evolution of International Society. London: Routledge.
  • Anthony Best et al (2008) International History of the Twentieth Century and Beyond. 2nd Edition. London: Routledge.
  • Chris Brown & Kirsten Ainsley (2009) Understandig International Relations. 4th Edition. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Bernard Crick (2002) Democracy: A Very Short Introduction Oxford: Oxford Univeristy Press.
  • David Runciman (2014) Politics Profile books.
  • John Dunn (1992) Western Political Theory In The Face Of The Future (revised edition) Cambridge University Press.

Social Anthropology

  • Lila Abu-Lughod (1986) Veiled Sentiments: Honor and Poetry in a Bedoin Society. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Adam Ashforth (2005) Madumo: A Man Bewitched. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Rita Astuti, Jonathan Parry, and Charles Stafford (2007) Questions of Anthropology. Berg: Oxford.
  • Thomas Boellstorff (2008) Coming of Age in Second Life. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • John R. Bowen (2007) Why the French Don't Like Headscarves: Islam, the State, and Public Space. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • Michael Carrithers (1993) Why Humans Have Cultures. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Sharon E. Hutchinson (1996) Nuer Dilemmas: Coping with Money, War, and the State. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Jean La Fontaine (1998) Speak of the Devil: Tales of Satanic Abuse in Contemporary England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Joel Robbins (2004) Becoming Sinners: Christianity and Moral Torment in a Papua New Guinea Society. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Michael Stewart (1997) The Time of the Gypsies. Colorado: Westville Press.
  • Yunxiang Yan (2009) The Individualization of Chinese Society. Berg: Oxford.
  • Adam Kuper (2014) Anthropology and anthropologists: the modern British school. Routledge.
  • Michael Carrithers (1992) Why Humans Have Cultures: Explaining Anthropology and Social Diversity . Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Thomas Hylland Eriksen (1996) Small Places, Large Issues. Pluto Press.
  • Wacquant L.J.D (2004) Body & Soul: notebooks of an apprentice boxer. Oxford University Press.
  • BBC series From Savage to Self,
    see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06zjhfx
  • The Cambridge Anthropology Podcast:
    http://www.socanth.cam.ac.uk/media/listen-and-view/camthropod

Sociology

  • Nicholas Abercrombie (2004) Sociology. Cambridge: Polity.
  • Anthony Giddens (2006) Sociology (5th edition). Cambridge: Polity.
  • Anthony Giddens (1973) Capitalism and Modern Social Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • J.A. Hughes, W.W. Sharrock, and P.J. Martin (2003) Understanding Classical Sociology. London: Sage.
  • C. Wright Mills (1959) The Sociological Imagination. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • K.J. Neubeck and D.S. Glasberg (2005) Sociology: Diversity, Conflict, and Change. Boston: McGraw Hill.
  • W. Outhwaite (ed) (2003) The Blackwell Dictionary of Modern Social Thought. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Richard Sennett (2006) The New Culture of Capitalism. New Haven: Yale University Press.
  • Jeffery C. Alexandet et al (2011) A Contemporary Introduction to Sociology: Culture and Society in Transition. London: Paradigm Publishers
  • Ulrich Beck (1992) Risk Society: Toward a New Modernity. London: Sage.
  • Anthony Giddens and Phillip Sutton (2013) Sociology. 7th Edition. Polity Press.
  • Anthony Smith (2013) Nationalism 2nd Edition. Polity.
  • Jack Goldstone. ed. (1994) Revolutions: theoretical, comparative, and historical studies. Harcourt Brace College Publishers.
  • Kristin Surak (2012) Making tea, Making Japan: Cultural nationalism in practice. Stanford University Press.
  • Nira Yuval-Davis (2011) The politics of belonging. Intersectional contentions. Sage.
  • R W Connell (2009) Gender 2nd Edition; Polity.
  • Richard Sennett (2012) Together: The rituals, pleasures, and politics of cooperation. Yale University Press.
  • Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett (2010) The spirit level: why equality is better for everyone. Penguin.
  • Zygmunt Baumant (2001) Thinking Sociologically 2nd Edition; Wiley-Blackwell.

International Relations

  • Chris Brown and Kirsten Ainsley (2009) Understanding International Relations . 4th edition; Palgrave Macmillian.
  • Henry Kissinger (1994) Diplomacy; Simon & Schumuster.
  • James Mayall (2000) World Politics: Progress and its Limits; Polity.
  • Jussi Hanhimaki, Jospeh A. Maiolo, Kirsten Schulze, and Anthony Best (2008) An International History of the Twentieth Century and Beyond 2nd Edition; Routledge.
  • Saskia Sassen, (2014) Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy; Belknap.

Psychology

  • H Ruldolph Schaffer (2006) Key concepts in developmental psychology; SAGE.
  • Michael Hogg and Graham Vaughan (2010) Essentials of social psychology; Prentice Hall.
  • Michael W. Wysenck and Mark T. Keane (2010) Cognitive psychology: a student's handbook; Psychology Press.
  • Richard J. Gerrig, Philip Zimbardo, Frode Svartdal and Tim Brennen (2012) Psychology and Life; Allyn & Bacon.
  • Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, Willem Wagenaar, Barbara Fredrickson and Geoffrey R. Loftus (2009) Atkinson and Hilgard's introduction to psychology; Cengage Learning.
  • Part I paper choices

    Museum exhibit

    Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

    The HSPS Tripos covers a wide range of subjects and the first year is designed to give you a chance, before you specialise in the second and third years, to broaden your knowledge and try out subjects you haven’t studied (indeed that may not have heard of!) before. You have to choose four papers from a wide choice: mostly from among the five subject areas in HSPS – Archaeology, Biological Anthropology, Politics, Social Anthropology, and Sociology – and you can also choose Psychology (which is part of a different Tripos). You should read the HSPS course page for Part I paper choices, but please see below for a brief overview.

    HUMAN, SOCIAL, AND POLITICAL SCIENCES SUBJECTS

    ARC1. Introduction to Archaelogy. Provides an introduction to the field of archaeology – both theory and methods of archaeological analysis.

    ARC2. Archaeology in Action. Integrates scientific and humanities approaches to the study of human history, focusing on themes such as material culture, landscape and settlements, and temporal sequence.

    ARC3. Introduction to the Cultures of Egypt and Mesopotamia. A broad survey of the history of the ancient Near East, looking at evidence from geography, literary texts, visual arts, and mortuary remains to piece together the social and political processes of these civilizations.

    ARC 4 & ARC 5. Akkadian and Egyptian Languages. A chance to learn the basics of cuneiform and hieroglyphics.

    BAN1. Humans in Biological Perspective. Looks at humans from the perspective that we are, after all, just one of a quite large number of primate species. Themes include primate biology, ecology, and behaviour; human evolution, and the role of genetics in this; and geographical variation.

    POL1. The Analysis of Politics. Introduces some central questions behind the study of modern politics: the origins of the modern state, the sources of political authority, and democratic forms of governance and alternatives to them. Includes study of some classics of political theory.

    POL2. International Relations. Covers the historical evolution of the international state system, the causes and consequences of war, the sources of international order, and the ethical dilemmas that arise when different systems interact.

    SAN1. Social Anthropology: The Comparative Perspective. Introduces the differences and similarities among the full gamut of societies across the world, and how participant-observation and ethnographic analysis shed light on both global processes and cultural diversity.

    SOC1. Modern Societies: Introduction to Sociology. Approaches to the study of modern societies: includes both an introduction to classical social theory and case studies of issues confronting complex societies including gender, race, ethnicity, and globalization.

    BORROWED SUBJECTS

    PSB1. Introduction to Psychology (from the Psychological and Behavioural Sciences Tripos). Introduces developmental and social psychology by looking at people, their interactions, and their relationships as individuals and as members of groups.

    Please take the opportunity to read up on some of these subjects, including both those you are sure you would like to study and others you may be unsure about, to give you a better idea of what might be involved. This will provide a good basis to discuss your options with your Director of Studies, in the first few days of term.

    No matter what subjects you have studied before at school or college, you will find that you learn a lot of new things very fast once term gets under way here in earnest, so you will find it very helpful to have done some background reading in preparation. You will be glad that you have done some reading before you have to do so under the time pressure of writing essays in a busy term. So select from among the reading lists below:

    ARC1. Introduction to Archaelogy
    Timothy Darvill. 2010. Prehistoric Britain. 2nd Edition. London: Routledge.
    Ian Hodder. 2012. Archaeological Theory Today. 2nd Edition. Cambridge: Polity.
    Colin Renfrew & Paul Bahn. 2012. Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice. 6th Edition. London: Thames & Hudson.
    Chris Scarre. 2009. The Human Past. 2nd Edition. London: Thames & Hudson.

    ARC2. Archaeology in Action
    Barbara Bender et al. 2007. Stone Worlds: Narrative and Reflexivity in Landscape   Archaeology. Left Coast Press. 
    Martin Jones. 2008. Feast: Why Humans Share Food. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    ARC3, ARC4, & ARC5. The Ancient Near East subjects
    Marc Van de Mieroop. 2006. A History of the Ancient Near East. 2nd Edition. Oxford: Blackwell.
    Barry Kemp. 2005. Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilization. 2nd Edition. London: Routledge.

    BAN1. Humans in Biological Perspective
    Matt Ridley. 2004. Nature Via Nurture: Genes, Experience, and What Makes Us Human. London: Harper.
    Robert Foley & Roger Lewin. 2003. The Principles of Human Evolution. 2nd Edition. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
    Frans B. M. de Waal. 2002. Tree of Origin: What Primate Behavior Can Tell Us About Human Social Evolution. New Edition. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.

    POL1. The Analysis of Politics
    Benedict Anderson. 2006. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. Revised Edition. London: Verso.
    John Dunn. 2005. Setting the People Free: The Story of Democracy. London: Atlantic.
    David Runciman. 2006. The Politics of Good Intentions: History, Fear, and Hypocrisy in the New World Order. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
    Niccolo Machiavelli. 2003 (1532). The Prince. London: Penguin.

    POL2. International Relations
    Anthony Best et al. 2008. International History of the Twentieth Century and Beyond. 2nd Edition. London: Routledge.
    Chris Brown & Kirsten Ainsley. 2009. Understanding International Relations. 4th Edition. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
    James Mayall. 2000. World Politics: Progress and Its Limits. Cambridge: Polity.

    SAN1. Social Anthropology: The Comparative Perspective
    Adam Ashforth. 2005. Madumo: A Man Bewitched. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    Rita Astuti et al 2007. Questions of Anthropology. Oxford: Berg.
    John R. Bowen. 2007. Why the French Don’t Like Headscarves: Islam, the State, and Public Space. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
    Joel Robbins. 2004. Becoming Sinners: Christianity and Moral Torment in a Papua New Guinea Society. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    SOC1. Modern Societies: Introduction to Sociology
    Jeffery C. Alexander et al. 2011. A Contemporary Introduction to Sociology: Culture and Society in Transition. London: Paradigm Publishers.
    Ulrich Beck. 1992. Risk Society: Toward a New Modernity. London: Sage.
    Anthony Giddens. 1973. Capitalism and Modern Social Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Richard Sennett. 2006. The New Culture of Capitalism. New Haven: Yale University Press.

    PSB1. Introduction to Psychology
    Brendan Burchill et al. 2001. Introducing Social Psychology. Cambridge: Polity.
    Kevin Durkin. 1995. Developmental Social Psychology: From Infancy to Old Age. New Edition. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

    For more information on the HSPS Tripos and the subjects within it, go to:

    http://www.hsps.cam.ac.uk/undergraduate/

    Further information

    Reading lists | For offer holders | Undergraduate study