Why Anthropology?

What is anthropology?

What does the food we eat tell us about who we are and where we come from? How are national parks experienced differently by tourists and residents? What can government representations of the Iraq war tell us about American nationalism? How did a women's party make it into the Northern Ireland peace process? These are just a few of the many problems being investigated by anthropologists at Memorial. Anthropology students learn about the lives of people in diverse societies while also exploring a wide range of important issues and problems that are very relevant to their daily lives. We seek to foster an approach that is at once critical and engaged. While the research interests of the faculty are diverse, we share a strong interest in problems of power and social inequality, which we view as being critical to understanding the contemporary world.

What do anthropologists do?


What do anthropologists study? Sample courses include:
  • ANTH 2413 Culture, Society and Globalization; explores the way in which social, cultural, economic and political interconnections at the global level interact with local social and cultural processes.
  • ANTH 3073 Imaginary Worlds; explores the anthropology of imaginary worlds, including those created through pseudo-history, on-line gaming, science fiction and fantasy literature, and film. Particular examples will be examined in terms of the ways that social stratification, gender, ethnicity, race, and cultural beliefs become constructed inside of these imaginary worlds.
  • ANTH 4416 Anthropology of Slums; examines social class forces producing a planet of slums, and details ways that everyday forms of violence, social injustice, and poverty take social shape in the everyday lives of slum dwellers. Among the topics covered are: social class formations, including ghettos, favelas, and shanty towns; surplus populations and disposable peoples resulting from late capitalist globalization; and forms of resistance and struggle that arise within dispossessed populations.
What kind of jobs do anthropology grads get?

The study of anthropology provides a strong background for students who intend to specialize in any of the social sciences and humanities or in medicine, nursing, social work, education, law, business, government, communications and many other fields which require a nuanced understanding of global processes and a strong grounding in the cross-cultural study of human behaviour. Students of anthropology have gone on to find employment with public, private and non-government organizations in diverse fields, including: academia, public policy, print, radio, and television journalism, documentary film-making, healthcare, international development, and social and environmental activism.