The Cultural Anthropology major and minor are offered through the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice, Law and Society, which also offers a major in Sociology and Criminal Justice, Law and Society. Minors are available in Sociology, Anthropology, Criminal Justice, Law and Society and Comparative Religion.
Cultural Anthropology explores the diversity of humankind by asking what it means to be human. Anthropologists examine this diversity through the common thread of culture building on the premise that all cultural beliefs, values, and practices can be understood when examined in their own cultural context. By examining human behaviors comparatively, anthropologists learn to avoid ethnocentrism, the tendency to interpret practices as strange on the basis of preconceptions derived from one’s own cultural background. Anthropologists learn how to make the strange familiar and the familiar strange and thereby provide frameworks for cross-cultural understanding at the micro and macro level.
Cultural Anthropology majors are trained in qualitative and ethnographic research skills along with tools for advanced critical thinking and theoretical application. The program contributes to a liberal arts education, prepares students for graduate training in anthropology, civic and community engagement, as well as careers in healthcare, government, business, law, journalism, social services, education, and human rights work—in local and international settings.
The cultural anthropology curriculum provides graduates with knowledge and perspectives needed to participate as engaged citizens in a global society. Anthropology emphasizes tolerance and respect for other cultures’ ways of living. Anthropological approaches oriented toward social and political engagement, collaborations with local communities, applied work, and public dissemination of research (through publishing, oral presentations, film, internet and museum exhibits, web-content) provide specific tools and opportunities for inspiring students to think, care, create, and pursue justice in our world.
Students interested in an Anthropology major should consult with a faculty member in Cultural Anthropology before the end of the sophomore year to decide if they will pursue a Cultural Anthropology major with or without study aboard.
Students who declare a major in Cultural Anthropology cannot double major in Sociology.