Research and teaching in the Department of Anthropology focus on socio-cultural anthropology, one of the four traditional subfields of the discipline. Since its establishment, the department has helped to lead debates on many of the issues that have shaped the field. Our current faculty has field research experience in the Americas, South and East Asia, the Middle East, and sub-Saharan Africa. We work on themes such as the everyday, the state, religion, media, law, ethics, infrastructure, ecology, climate, and health. In our teaching and research on these themes, we build on interdisciplinary dialogues across the humanities, social sciences, and health sciences.

The department offers a PhD program and a BA program for undergraduate majors, as well as courses for students from majors such as public health and international studies.

Our contemporary world has been marked by profound restructurings of global politics, economics, and social life, and by emergent concerns relating to religion, health, and security. At the same time, developments in the health sciences and social sciences provoke questions of ethics, politics, and life that exceed existing disciplinary boundaries. Spanning the humanities and social sciences in a unique manner, anthropology has taken a leading role in shaping critical engagements with such questions.

Our research in the Department of Anthropology at Johns Hopkins is oriented toward the investigation of crosscutting themes of trans-regional concern. We embrace non-European anthropological traditions as crucial to the character and reach of the discipline, and we take field research as productive of theories of knowledge, rather than as a mode of data collection alone. In extending this vision of field research, we place ethnography in a mutually productive dialogue with philosophy, history, and social theory.

History of the Department

The Department of Anthropology at Johns Hopkins is one of the few in the United States that was founded—and had developed organically—as a department specializing in socio-cultural anthropology. The department was created on the initiative of Dean George Owen and historians linked to the Atlantic Program in History, Culture, and Society. In the fall of 1973, the Rockefeller Foundation financed two positions in history and two positions in anthropology as part of the newly created Atlantic Program.

In 1974–75, Sidney W. Mintz, Richard Price, and Emily Martin, all three of whom had moved from Yale, started teaching at Hopkins.  Founding members of the faculty focused attention on matters of political economy, globalization, and transnational forms of social and political organization, working at the intersection of anthropology and history.  Our current research themes build upon and carry forward these founding concerns, routed now through a renewed emphasis on ethnography, its pursuit across diverse scales of analysis, and the use of novel conceptual prisms.

Past Faculty

Talad Asad, Eytan Bercovitch, Jean Besson, Donald Carter, David W. Cohen, Gillian Feeley-Harnik, Hill Gates, Ashraf Ghani, Suzanne Kuechler, Ruby Lal, Beatriz Lavandera, Hy van Long, Emily Martin, Sheryl McCurdy, Felicity Northcott-Grant, Gyan Pandey, Sally Price, Richard Price, Kathleen Ryan, Sonia Ryang, William Sturtevant, Michel-Rolph Trouillot, Katherine Verdery, Yun-xiang Yan<

Past Visiting Faculty

Robert McCormick Adams, Sandra Barnes, Fredrik Barth, Maurice Bloch, Fenella Canell, Hill Gates, Dell Hymes, Murray Last, Sir Edmund Leach, Barbara Little, Stuart McLean, Deepak Mehta, Johan V. Murra, Kalpana Ram, Wendy Richardson, John Rickford, Jennifer Robertson, David Scott, Michael Silverstein, S. Hoon Song, Sharon Stevens, Stanley Tambiah, Paul Trawick, Arturo Warman,  Harriett Whitehead, Brackette F. Williams