What is Anthropology?
Anthropology examines human cultures and societies in all their diversity, in the present and throughout all periods of the past, in order to view human experience in very broad and globally comparative perspectives.
The Department of Anthropology at Harvard incorporates two principal approaches: Archaeology and Social Anthropology.
Archaeology focuses on the past records of human societies and particularly on the material remains that individual humans and their communities have produced over time. These remains are recovered, analyzed, and interpreted within various intellectual frameworks in order to create understandings of how peoples lived and interacted with one another over more than a million years. Of particular interest are the nature of past social, economic, political, and cultural practices and how those have changed through time into the multi-facetted behaviors and institutions that we now often take for granted. Archaeological research and teaching in the Anthropology department at Harvard currently emphasize the prehistoric and historic cultures of North, Central, and South America and of West, Central, South and East Asia. More Information
Social Anthropology Program
Social Anthropology focuses on contemporary societies and cultures, in terms of both local understandings of what, for example, Japanese, Italian, Senegalese, Filipino, Yemeni, Pakistani, French, Thai, Indonesian, Peruvian, American, or Chinese communities, cultures, and societies experience in everyday life, as well as how global interconnectivity shapes myriad features of life, across issues of gender, popular culture, ethnicity, personal identity, health and illness, religion, consumption, human rights, nationalism, and the environment. Research and teaching in Social Anthropology includes East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Mediterranean Europe, North America, Central America, and South America.
An Interdisciplinary Concentration
The Department of Anthropology maintains very close ties to many other fields in the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. The Department has special programs in Medical Anthropology (with the Harvard Medical School) and in Visual Anthropology (with the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies). Many of the Department’s faculty are active in the programs of Harvard’s diverse Centers and Institutes (for example, the Center for the Environment, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, the Center for World Religions, the Program on Women’s and Gender Studies, the Program on Folklore and Myth, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the Asia Center, the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, the Fairbank Center for East Asian Research, the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies.)
Undergraduate concentrators are encouraged to undertake original and independent research projects for Senior Theses, with guidance from faculty members.
The concentration in Anthropology is open to all students and does not require an application for
admission. 10 half-courses (including tutorials) are required for the non-honors concentration. An additional 3 half-courses (including the senior thesis tutorial) are required for thesis honors. A non-thesis
honors degree is also possible in Social Anthropology but not in Archaeology. A combined concentration
in Archaeology and Social Anthropology is also possible.
||Director of Undergraduate Studies
- Professor of Contemporary Arab Studies
- Social Anthropology Program
William James Hall 318
firstname.lastname@example.org | website
||Archaeology Program Head Tutor
Richard H. Meadow
- Senior Lecturer
Peabody Museum 35 B
email@example.com | website
||Assistant Head Tutor
William James Hall 385
||Undergraduate Program Coordinator
Elizabeth (Penny) Rew
William James Hall 352