A message from our Chair

What does Anthropology mean to you?

Miranda Cosman, Anthropology Graduate Student

At its core, Anthropology is the discipline that allows us to learn who we are. For some, that means studying our cultures, social behaviour, archaeology, and language. For others, such as myself, that means delving into our evolutionary past to look at fossils of our ancestors and to study modern primates and our closest living relatives. I believe what makes Anthropology unique is that anthropologists are united in their interest in humans and primates. It is a field that stands at many intersections including evolutionary biology, behaviour and ecology, social sciences, and humanities (and more!). This breadth in methodologies and views allows for interesting and novel analyses as to what “makes us human”, however that is interpreted. 

Sara Borsodi, Sophomore, LSA Anthropology and MES Researcher through the Classical Studies Department 

I think it is as simple as this. I love stories, and I love learning about people. Anthropology provides a unique way to tell and learn these stories about ourselves and those that came before us. I believe that at the center of our being we have the same basic emotions, fights, passions, and curiosities. And it is because of these deeply rooted similarities, as well as our differences, that I want to learn about people, our culture, and our history. We can take lessons from our past and from those who surround us every day through anthropology and it is worth the work. The world of anthropology that we are now entering into is a hopeful one. It is one concerned with understanding our past mistakes and challenging our biases, and while not perfect, I believe that it is a field that is beginning to involve itself with understanding the human experience in a challenging and hopeful way, looking towards a new horizon. 

Daniel Agudelo, Anthropology Alumni, Park Ranger 

Anthropology to me means seeing the world with a different perspective. Appreciating the built environment surrounding us and acknowledging how different cultures have uniquely adapted to the modern world while keeping true to their roots. As a Park Ranger working at one of our beautiful national parks, my anthropology degree has allowed me to make connections with visitors from all over the world by teaching them the importance of conservation and appreciation of the natural and cultural resources that our national parks have to offer. 

Erina Baci, Anthropology Graduate Student

Anthropology, to me, is the study of what it means to be human. Past, present, and future. I include the future because I think an anthropological perspective is valuable for effective and impactful policymaking on a local, regional and global level. As a discipline, anthropology is rooted in colonialism. This is something we need to acknowledge and actively work towards changing. We need to think critically about how we can remove obstacles to those interested in pursuing a career in anthropology, how we engage in anthropological questions, how we engage with people, especially stakeholder communities, how we can facilitate access to information, and what narratives we support with our research. While there is a lot of work to do to create decolonial and equitable anthropology. I do believe there is merit to the field because of the sheer scope of questions that fall under the umbrella of “anthropology.” Anthropology is about exploring what brought us to this movement in time, whether it is exploring the early origins of our species 300 thousand years ago in Africa or the social organization of Bronze Age pastoralists in the Balkans or politics, violence, and materiality of migration in the 21st  century. And I think this is particularly powerful.