Department of Anthropology
From the Field: Featuring Graduate Student Photos
Anthropology provides students with a unique opportunity to understand human cultural diversity -- to compare our own culture with those which are remote in time, in geographic distance, or simply in terms of cultural difference. As tropical rainforests and other ecosystems are degraded at ever-increasing rates, as globalization affects the most remote corners of the earth, and as our own society becomes increasingly multi-cultural, it is imperative for educated citizens to understand the nature of cultural diversity, the connections between our own fate and the fate of other peoples, and the short- and long-term processes of socio-cultural change which have made our world what it is.
Anthropology is distinct from all other disciplines in that our primary data are either ethnographic (based on long-term cultural immersion and observation in a local setting) or archaeological (based on the physical remains of prehistoric cultures). No other discipline has the same capacity to look at the world "from the ground up" -- from the point of view of ordinary people living in developing countries, or of ethnic minorities living in our own society. This makes anthropology a central link among the social and historical disciplines.