The Department of Anthropology consists of five faculty members, including an archaeologist working in Mesoamerica, a biological anthropologist, and three cultural anthropologists (specialists in Africa, East Asia, and Latin America). The department currently has between five and ten majors annually. The relatively small size of the department allows students to work closely and intensively with professors, and permits considerable freedom for those individuals who wish to pursue independent studies. Members of the department are also active scholars with a number of ongoing research projects.
The course work in anthropology is a combination of classroom and active field experience. Archaeology students, for instance, are actively engaged in an on-going excavation of nineteenth century plantation dwellings associated with the Torance Plantation outside of Huntersville. In other courses, students are actively engaged in fieldwork requiring the use of ethnographic methods, film, and mapping techniques such as GES (which may involve conducting personal interviews, researching archives, or visiting performances). Consistently, students enjoy the opportunity to take what they have learned in the classroom and apply it.
Majors in the department are encouraged to expand their knowledge of other cultures by participating in an international studies program, either through Davidson College or through programs offered by other institutions. The Davidson Program in Mwandi, Zambia, offers students an opportunity to explore and get involved with internships that include teaching, tutoring, and hospital work. The Davidson Program in Cape Coast, Ghana, provides students with the opportunity to learn about the social, historical and political aspects of West African societies. The Davidson Program in India offers students an opportunity to study and travel in India. Additionally, a limited number of students have been able to participate as field archaeologists at the ancient Maya site of Ek Balam in Yucatan, Mexico, where the archaeology professor has worked for several seasons.
Courses in anthropology are also applicable to other concentrations and majors, such as the new majors in Environmental Studies and Latin American Studies, and the concentrations in Archaeology, Asian Studies, Ethnic Studies, and Gender Studies.