Department of Anthropology

nthropology as a discipline is said to be the most humanistic of the sciences and the most scientific of the humanities. Meaning that anthropology spans from prehistory to the contemporary and research in the humanities, the social sciences and the sciences.  The Department of Anthropology at McGill is a world-class department within a world-class university with faculty who study human beings from every time period and in every way possible. The Department was founded in 1966 by Richard Salisbury, who served as the first chair and who pioneered the field of development anthropology. A few years later he and his students helped the James Bay Cree reach a historic treaty with the Québec government that now serves as a model for reconciling indigenous autonomy with economic development. Archaeologist Bruce Trigger championed the rights of Canada's First Nations and made advances in the theory of archaeology and the effect of research context on the interpretation of archaeological data. In the 1980s, the innovative work of Margaret Lock and Allan Young helped to establish McGill as one of the world's premier centers for the study of medical anthropology. These central figures and their colleagues built a strong tradition of original research that transcends disciplines and reaches beyond the university gates.

Today, our Department continues to recognize and grow from these roots and now has four main specializations - archaeology, development, medical and sociocultural anthropology. We also have a small program in primate ecology and behavior headed by Primatologist Colin Chapman. In all four sub-disciplines we provide training grounded in anthropological theory and our unique program provides our graduates with a combination of disciplinary competence and interdisciplinary perspective.

Degrees Offered: Anthropology PhD, MA (MA Medical Anthropology), BA/BS major/honors, minor.


Congratulations to Colin Scott who was awarded over $2m in FQRSC grants to sustain the INSTEAD and CICADA Projects, for up to six years, in Anthropology and the Environment at McGill.

Sandra Hyde was awarded the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Academic Writing Fellowship to work on Chasing the Dragon, her latest book about therapeutic community-based drug rehabilitation in China. The fellowship takes place in May and June 2017 at Lake Como in Italy.

Lisa Stevenson was awarded an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellowship to further develop her filmmaking skills at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema at Concordia University for 2017-2018.


Lisa Stevenson's Life Beside Itself: Imagining Care in the Canadian Arctic (UC Press, 2014) was awarded the 2015 Victor Turner Prize for Ethnographic Writing sponsored by the Society for Humanistic Anthropology of the American Anthropological Association.

Diana Allan's Refugees of the Revolution: Experiences of Palestinian Exile (Stanford, 2013) was awarded the 2014 Palestine Book Awards, sponsored by the Middle East Monitor. It was also the winner of the 2015 Middle East Section Book Award, sponsored by the American Anthropological Association Middle East Section.

Eduardo Kohn's How Forests Think: Toward Anthropology beyond the Human (UC Press, 2013 was awarded the 2014 Gregory Bateson Prize sponsored by the Society for Cultural Anthropology of the American Anthropological Association. Read more here.

Gabriella Coleman's Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous (Verso, 2014) was awarded the 2015 Diana Forsythe Prize sponsored by the Committee for the Anthropology of Science, Technology and Computing of the American Anthropological Association.