Recent developments in the humanities and social sciences have provoked questions in ethics, politics, and life that exceed existing disciplinary boundaries. Spanning the humanities and social sciences in a unique manner, our department has taken a leading role in shaping critical engagements with such questions. Faculty research responds to an interlocking network of global challenges and dilemmas, with regional expertise in Latin America, South, East, and Southeast Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the United States. Against the historical reality of anthropology as a discipline haunted by Eurocentric assumptions, this department has sought to decenter elite and metropolitan knowledge production by working with diverse traditions of scholarly inquiry and everyday practice.
The Department of Anthropology emphasizes the importance of ethnographic research methods, conducted through intensive fieldwork in a single site or in a network of sites. Our ethnographic research has involved both innovative engagement and solid grounding in multiple anthropological traditions. Faculty and graduate students have conducted longitudinal studies through repeated field visits, combined quantitative and qualitative methods, explored novel methods in archival research, and followed networks and movements of people, institutions, and ideas across dispersed sites.
We take ethnography as generative of anthropological theory and objects of anthropological reflection, rather than merely as a mode of collecting data, making observations, or illustrating theoretical claims. Our emphasis on the link between theory and ethnography reflects the dynamism of the interdisciplinary conversation animating work within the department, which places our work in a mutually productive conversation with scholars and scholarship in philosophy and social and political theory. We are deeply invested in carrying forward and sustaining such dialogue across the humanities and social sciences.