Belize Field Program

Students at the Belize Archaeology Field Program

Costa Rica Field School 2008

Dr. Glenn and students observing monkeys at La Selva, Costa Rica

Mona monkey skull

Mona monkey skull used in teaching and research

Skeletal specimen

Specimen from the skeletal collections at our labs

Spider monkeys

Spider monkeys at La Selva, Costa Rica

Study abroad in Tibet

Study abroad in Tibet

Alisha Gaskins

Former student Alisha Gaskins completing a facial reconstruction

San Nicolas

Melinda Salisbury and Laura Monterrosa measuring pit depth at San Nicolas

Aten Temple-Tell el Amarna

small Aten Temple-Tell el Amarna

West Africa Magnuson monkeys

Former Graduate student Lindsay Magnuson tracking monkeys in West Africa

Anthropology student

Anthropology student

Student Making Peanut Butter in Bolivia

Erin Wheelis making peanut butter, Bolivia Peace Corps

Dai Sun Xian Ceremony

Dai Suan xian ceremony

Anthropology Student dancing in field in

Anthropology students immersed in the Grenadian culture

Dai Dinner

Dai Dinner

Howling monkeys

Howling monkeys at La Selva, Costa Rica

Costa Rica Field School 2008

Students in San Jose, Costa Rica, at the end of the Costa Rica Primate Field Program

Costa Rica Field School 2008

Students at the Costa Rica Primate Field Program

Belize Field School

Dr. Cortes-Rincon and students at the Belize Archaeology Field Program

Costa Rica Field School 2008

Students observing monkeys at La Selva, Costa Rica

Why Study Anthropology?

Studying anthropology is a great way to develop very useful and marketable life skills. Anthropology students learn to be very culturally aware, which is critical to learning how to communicate effectively in a wide variety of cultural situations.

Anthropology looks at people and culture in the context in which they are found.

  • How does the environment impact the way people live?
  • What rituals and beliefs do cultures develop to address events like birth, death, or natural phenomena?
  • How do rules and sanctions help to enforce necessary social functions and responsibilities?
  • How do rules and sanctions help a culture to survive within its environment?

In order to really understand anything, it is important to examine it within the context it came from, and anthropology teaches students how to understand the interlocking pieces of a particular problem or situation.

Anthropology Subfields

Archaeological Anthropology

Archaeologists study material remains, or the things that a culture leaves behind after they have left or disappeared. Think of the items in your own home that may still be around in a few hundred or a few thousand years. Archaeologists find these kinds of items from past cultures, from weapons and tools, to bones from slaughtered animals and fossilized seeds and plants. They study each artifact in context, and use that information to determine things about the culture that left them behind. What kind of food did they eat? What kind of tools did they make, and how did they make them? What sort of structures did they build? What did their artwork and symbols mean? Archaeologists study the remains of cultures from the earliest hominids, all the way into the recent past.

Applied Anthropology

Incorporating skills from anthropological disciplines to solve practical problems in fields such as development, healthcare, medical anthropology, education, business and advertising.

Biological Anthropology

Biological anthropologists study human biology and evolution and work in very diverse fields. One field, primatology, studies that huge world of nonhuman primates (including lemurs, monkeys, and apes) to learn about their behavior and evolution, to place human evolution in context, and to aid conservation efforts. Paleoanthropologists study the fossil record of humans and other bipedal primates (“hominins”) like Neanderthals and “Lucy” to understand how humans evolved. Forensic anthropologists apply their knowledge of anatomy to help identify human skeletal remains. Forensic anthropologists work on murder cases, but they also work internationally in human rights cases, helping the give justice to the victims and closure to their families. A relatively new field within physical anthropology is evolutionary medicine – it seeks to answer questions about why we get the diseases we get, what health issues are more common in certain areas, and what health/nutritional/medical strategies are used in different cultures.

Cultural Anthropology

Cultural anthropology is the study of human cultures all over the world. Cultural anthropologists study exotic cultures, such as those of hunter gatherers, as well as the cultures that exist in our own back yard. Like language, human cultures are dynamic, constantly changing in response to the environment, the people, and other cultures. Whether studying the culture of indigenous people in Australia or online gaming enthusiasts, cultural anthropology examines everything from a group’s rituals, rules and traditions to their eating habits and modes of communications. More importantly, cultural anthropology seeks to promote an understanding of cultural differences and similarities. This understanding is applicable in a wide variety of fields, from business to international diplomacy.

Linguistic Anthropology

Did you know that words like “Doh!”, “bling-bling” and “baby daddy” are added to the Oxford English Dictionary every year? Have you ever wondered what effect online abbreviations or text-messaging will have on the English language over the next decade or so? If so, you might want to consider studying linguistics.

Linguistics is the dynamic study of language. Where did our modern languages come from? How and why do languages change over time? How does a person’s language or dialect relate to their culture? What happens when multiple languages meet? How can understanding language differences help one to operate more successfully in a very global society? These questions, and many others, all fall within the field of linguistics.