"Anthropology is the study of what makes us human"

- American Anthropological Association


Sexual misconduct and other forms of harassment and intimidation have inflicted severe harm on our department. Over the past two years, we have reckoned with the way intimidation and harassment violate equal access to a safe and supportive educational and work environment. In response, we have instituted changes to departmental policies and procedures with the aim of increasing transparency and accountability and will continue to do so over the short and longer term. Many members of the Anthropology department are also actively working with the greater Harvard community to advocate for necessary changes to the University’s investigatory processes for the betterment of our educational mission. 
 

Concentrate in Anthropology

The study of anthropology prepares students to address global concerns through a contextualized study of society, culture, and civilization, and can lead to careers in global health and medicine, law, government, museums, education, the arts, cultural and environmental management, business and entrepreneurship, among other fields, not to mention academia.

What is Anthropology?

By the most common definition, anthropology is the study of human diversity and, as such, teaches us to recognize the remarkable array of circumstances in which human beings live their lives and make meaning from them. On our faculty, we have scholars whose work covers every time period from the prehistoric to the present, and every major world area.

Learn More About Anthropology

But anthropology is more than just a catalog of diversity.  There is an oft-cited phrase that anthropology “makes the familiar strange and the strange familiar.”  What does this mean?  At the very least, it means stepping back and seeing ourselves the way others might see us – a shift in perspective that is foundational to empathy and humility.  Anthropology also invites deeper analysis of behaviors that we might think we fully understand but that have histories and complexities that only reveal themselves with careful investigation.  This is why we do long term field research in local languages to understand social life in all its richness and depth.  And finally, making the familiar strange demands an ethical and political accounting.  It means not accepting the world as given.  This might well be the heart of the discipline, what one of my favorite anthropologists calls its moral optimism: the conviction that things can be different and better -- and that knowledge about the world should be oriented towards greater equality and justice.