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Anthropology at Tufts

Anthropologists study global human experience, combining social, cultural, biological, archaeological, and linguistic approaches within a single discipline. Our questions and topics are diverse. In our courses, students examine (for example) the relationship between culture and human rights, the globalization of childhood, concepts of animal life in industrial farming, place making in global cities, the political shaping of gender, how human bodies relate to their environments, questions of cultural ownership in art, new uses of social media, indigenous rights in contexts of environmental destruction, nationalist uses of archaeology, and the intersection of transnational diasporas with US notions of "race." While in the past anthropology was typically the study of non-Western societies, today anthropologists also work "at home"—wherever in the world that "home" is.

Our embrace of both qualitative and scientific research gives our methods flexibility, depth, and analytical rigor. Ethnography, cultural anthropology's signature set of research methods, is in demand in design, consulting, technology, marketing, human services, and other industries, where it drives innovation through the field of "user experience." Ethnographic techniques such as participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and participant photojournaling help researchers view cultural practices and social interactions with new eyes, find implicit patterns and meanings, and see the actual workings of technologies and institutions in practice. For anthropologists, however, ethnography is more than a tool: it is a practice that generates critical thinking and ethical awareness.

Anthropology at Tufts gives students opportunities for ethnographic research though our Fieldwork Lab (Anth 161), several upper-level seminars (Anth 160 and over), internships (Anth 99), and independent research projects (Anth 197 and 199). Our students can present their research and engage with others through Tufts' student Anthropology Collective and Spring Student Anthropology Symposium (SSAS). This combination of hands-on research, disciplinary breadth, global and local understanding, and intellectual community makes Anthropology a strong major and an excellent preparation for a wide range of careers.