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The Discipline of Anthropology

Anthropology claims for itself an immense task: the study of human kind. As such, while located within the social sciences, it has close links with the arts, the humanities, and the physical sciences. Although anthropology has been historically associated with the study of non-western peoples, its constitutive feature is its comprehensive concern with both the processes of becoming and the endlessly diverse ways of being human. The subject matter of anthropology is anthropos, humankind, in its complexly interconnected dimensions: as a  biological species, the product of evolutionary processes that differentiated human from non-human primates, and as a plurality of historically and culturally conditioned ways of life that have interacted over time and across space.  

At Wesleyan, attention is paid to cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, and archaeology. Courses are offered in cultural, social, and archaeological theory and method, as well as in a wide range of specializations, including feminist and gender studies, urban anthropology, globalization, popular culture, and the ethnography and archaeology of particular regions around the world.

Students have found anthropology to be an ideal concentration for a broadly based liberal arts education. It can also form an excellent preparation for further graduate and professional studies, as well as for a wide variety of careers that require intercultural literacy, in such fields as education, journalism, law, business, medicine, or development. Students have double-majored in anthropology and a wide range of departments and programs, including Music, Dance, English, Film, Sociology, History, Earth & Environmental Studies, Biology, FGSS and SiSP.

Faculty members have carried out fieldwork in Europe, North and East Africa, South, and Southeast Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States. They have published widely on topics ranging from theory and interpretation to ritual symbolism, mass culture, film, kinship, political culture, globalization and development, gender, urban politics, nationalism, mortuary archaeology, the archaeology of identity, and the biological dimensions of culture