Department of Anthropology


Welcome to Anthropology at UTM

What is anthropology? Derived from the Greek anthropos ("human") and logia ("study"), anthropology is the study of humankind from its beginnings to the present day. Nothing human is alien to anthropology. Indeed, of the many disciplines that concern themselves with the human, only anthropology seeks to understand the whole panorama of human existence - in geographic space and evolutionary time - through comparative and holistic study.

The research interests of UTM’s fifteen full-time faculty members reflect the broad mandate of anthropology as a discipline. We consist of the four subfields that anthropology has traditionally been organized around: biological anthropology, archeology, socio-cultural anthropology, and linguistic anthropology. We also have strengths in forensic anthropology (which includes human biology, archeology, and ethnohistory). Our faculty thus studies a broad array of topics that range from the exploration of ancient pyrotechnologies in South Asia to the study of rainmaking, gender, and ritual in Tanzania; from the structures of social interaction and the coordination language, gesture and gaze in the Caribbean to imperialism and mortuary rituals in ancient China; from refugees and state-building efforts in post-war, post-Socialist Bosnia to signatures and citizenship in contemporary India; from the relationship between genetics and human evolution to research related to crime scene investigation.

The common goal that links our vastly different projects is to advance knowledge of who we are and how we came to be that way. We are all dedicated to disseminating anthropological knowledge though teaching, research, writing, and other forms of outreach. Our goal as a department is to train our anthropology students in the fundamentals of all of the discipline’s subfields. We aim to produce students who are curious about the world in its complexity, and who are well versed in the skills, theories, and databases of one or more of our discipline’s subfields. Apart from being employed as faculty in universities and colleges, anthropologists find jobs in national and international governmental bodies, in international agencies dedicated to, for example, human rights, as well as in business and industry.

We [anthropologists] have been the first to insist on a number of things: that the world does not divide into the pious and the superstitious; that there are sculptures in jungles and paintings in deserts; that political order is possible without centralized power and principled justice without codified rules; that the norms of reason were not fixed in Greece, the evolution of morality not consummated in England. Most important, we were the first to insist that we see the lives of others through lenses of our own grinding and that they look back on ours through ones of their own.

--Clifford Geertz