Our Department

Overview

What is Anthropology?

Anthropology is the comprehensive study of human development, culture, and change in sociocultural systems, past and present.

Our Methodological Approach

We take an interpretive approach to the study of culture - an approach that requires intensive ethnographic fieldwork, deep engagement with critical social theories, and historical analysis. In addition to teaching foundational texts, our department is interested in conceptual innovations in the use and organization of evidence and modes of ethical engagement. Our department specializes in socio-cultural anthropology, but we also offer undergraduate courses in biological anthropology, including evolution, epigenetics, adaptation, race, forensics and death.

Degrees and Certificates Offered

Our department offers a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology, a certificate in Ethnographic Studies (ETH), and a Ph.D. in anthropology. In our pedagogy we emphasize individual and collective advising that supports independent thinking, and methodological versatility and experimentation, including visual methods, archival research, creative writing, and engaged anthropology.

Areas of Expertise

Our department includes scholars working around the world on diverse topics using a variety of analytical approaches. To locate scholars and events by area, topic, and/or theoretical interest please search areas of expertise.

Signature Event

The Department hosts an annual Clifford Geertz Commemorative Lecture, inaugurated in 2009:

  • 2016 - Sherry Turkle, Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • 2015 - Jean Comaroff, Alfred North Whitehead Professor of African and African American Studies and of Anthropology at Harvard University
  • 2014 - Michael Lambek, Canada Research Chair & Chair, Department of Anthropology at University of Toronto Scarborough
  • 2013 - Tania Murray Li, Professor, Canada Research Chair, Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto
  • 2012 - Michael D. Jackson, Distinguished Visiting Professor of World Religions at Harvard Divinity School
  • 2011 - Paul Willis, Professor of Sociology at Princeton University
  • 2010 - Dame Marilyn Strathern, Emerita William Wyse Professor of Social Anthropology at Cambridge University
  • 2009 - Philippe Descola, Chair of the Anthropology of Nature at the Collège de France

Colloquia

Throughout the year, the Department sponsors lectures which are listed on the events page.