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About Us

Inside the West Hall Arch. (UM Photo Services)

Anthropology studies human biological and cultural variation across space and time, with specializations in four subfields:

Faculty in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Michigan do work in all four subfields. We ask difficult questions about how humans see the world, how moral and material interests shape our lives, how we evolved as a species, and how our bodies, languages, and societies continue to interact and change.

Our mission is to advance and share knowledge of anthropology through research (both scientific and humanistic), empirical analysis and theory-building, teaching, publication, and multiple forms of public engagement. We are especially committed to serving our primary constituencies: undergraduates (our majors and minors, along with the many others who want to learn how anthropology is done, why it is important, and how it might shape future careers); graduate students (whom we equip for advanced work in the field); the larger discipline of anthropology (in which our department has been an intellectual leader for decades); the communities we live with and study (who shape, facilitate, and should benefit from our research); and the general public (whom we inform and educate through our work).

We are a large department, and we contribute vitally to the dominant trends in anthropological research. We have strong collaborative relations with other departments, schools, and centers at the University of Michigan, offering joint degrees, certificates, and individualized interdisciplinary training. We participate in numerous intellectual exchange programs and make diverse funding and research opportunities available to our faculty and students. The Department is host to lecture series, topical workshops, intellectual interest groups, conferences, and its own student-led graduate and undergraduate societies. Our curriculum addresses new developments in anthropology, the history and foundational ideas of the discipline, area and topical literatures, practical aspects of method, and advanced modes of data collection and interpretation.

In all its programming, the Department of Anthropology enables innovation, rigorous scholarship, and generous support for research and study. Our collective effort is given to building an inclusive scholarly community in which students and faculty can do their best, most engaging work.