Persian is the main language of more than 120 million people and is among the world's most widely spoken languages. Apart from opening the door to a fascinating and varied region, knowledge of Persian and the Middle East provides access to the rich intellectual heritage of Islam. To study Persian is to enter into a rich and diverse culture. The School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures at the University of Edinburgh is recognised in the UK and internationally as a leading institution for research and study of Arabic, Persian, Islam, the Middle East, and other related subjects. Social anthropology is the comparative study of human behaviour and ideas in their social contexts. Societies around the world vary enormously in their social, cultural, religious, and political forms, and their individual members also display a corresponding diversity of ideas and behaviour. The study of these variations, and the common humanity that underlies them and renders them intelligible to sympathetic outsiders lies at the heart of social anthropology. Much of this knowledge is gained through the distinctive method of 'participant observation', which often involves anthropologists living with the people they are researching and sharing their experiences for extended periods. While the subject matter overlaps with that of sociology, human geography, and development studies, social anthropology is also closely linked to history and philosophy. At Edinburgh students will have the opportunity to learn from researchers who are international leaders in their field, and will also engage in original anthropological research, which may be library based or involve fieldwork.