Anthropology

The Anthropology Department offers a rigorous and comprehensive program for graduate students, who examine and experience anthropology through course study, fieldwork, and laboratory work.

Our faculty members are at the forefront of research in fields that include religion, politics and society, human sexuality, the evolutionary biology of human and non-human primates, and archaeological research on long-term change in environments, agricultural systems, and early urbanism.

Social anthropologists typically identify themselves in relation to two broad types of concerns: regions of areal expertise and topics of theoretical investigation. Among world areas, the department has concentrated on four regions: Africa, Asia broadly conceived, the Islamic world, and Europe. These areal emphases build on center and department resources across the University, including the African Studies Center, the Center for the Study of Asia, the Center for Muslim Societies, and the Pardee School of Global Studies. In terms of theoretical topics, our social anthropology faculty are leaders in the study of youth and gender, religion and modernity, migration and belonging, psychological anthropology, and political anthropology.

Biological anthropologists focus on the evolutionary biology of both humans and non-human primates and typically identify themselves based on study subjects (human or non-human primates) and methodology (behavioral ecology, genetics/genomics, physiology and morphology). Current faculty research projects afford opportunities for students to become involved in cutting-edge field research and laboratory studies. Highlights include Matt Cartmill’s work on the evolution of locomotion, Eva Garrett’s work using genomics and fossil morphology to understand the evolution of olfaction, Carolyn Hodges-Simeon’s comparative studies of human maturation, Cheryl Knott’s work on orangutan ecology and life history, and Christopher Schmitt’s studies of the evolutionary genomics of obesity. Students hoping to conduct graduate coursework in forensic anthropology should apply to the MA program in Forensic Anthropology at the Boston University School of Medicine.

Our archaeological anthropology program focuses on various aspects of past societies, including human-environment interactions, agricultural strategies, urbanism, households, and material culture viewed in deep historical perspective. Primary regions of active fieldwork include Mesoamerica, North America, and the Mediterranean.

In all these respects, the graduate program in Anthropology at Boston University is committed to the training of a new generation of anthropologists capable of addressing the challenges of the modern world.