Anthropology endeavors to examine human biology and behavior from a holistic viewpoint. That is, anthropologists consider the social, cultural, linguistic, historic, and biological factors shaping different cultures and populations worldwide. Although anthropologists have traditionally been associated with the study of small-scale societies, today they increasingly turn their attention to the problems of modern industrial societies and the processes of globalization.
A hallmark of anthropological study is fieldwork in which anthropologists engage their subjects in contexts beyond the classroom and library. Students interested in sociocultural anthropology may conduct personal interviews, research archives, or visit public gatherings or performances. Physical anthropology students may gain experience in our Human Skeletal Identification Laboratory, while archaeology students have opportunities for off-campus summer fieldwork. Many of our majors also elect to study off-campus, either abroad or in a national program. The Department sponsors the Davidson Program in Cape Coast, Ghana, that provides students with the opportunity to learn about the social, historical and political aspects of West African societies. Archaeological fieldwork is ongoing in Yucatan, Mexico, as are studies of contemporary Chinese society. In addition, students may participate in Davidson sponsored study abroad programs in India, South America, Europe, Cyprus, and Europe.
Currently the department has five members (3 sociocultural anthropologists, 1 biological anthropologist, 1 archaeologist). All are active scholars, with area specializations in Africa, East Asia, Latin America, and modern U.S. society. Our relatively small size allows students to work closely and intensively with professors while allowing for considerable freedom for those students who wish to pursue independent studies.