Historical Anthropology

Historical research defines Anthropological Archaeology and has long been a significant aspect of Social Anthropology. Through work with material artifacts, textual records, and oral narratives, archaeologists and social anthropologists illuminate the historical dynamism of material landscapes, social relations, and cultural meanings. Our faculty research covers a wide range of historical phenomena including, the social, cultural, ecological, legal, and political dimensions of colonialism, processes of decolonization, changing articulations of identity and difference within postcolonial and postimperial societies, and the production of old and new nationalisms. Many are also deeply engaged with questions of epistemology and method, particularly how to understand overlaps and divergences between anthropological and other disciplinary approaches to the past. Finally, several of our faculty address the changing place of anthropology in the world and how the discipline has been variously implicated in wider processes of state formation, political contestation, and cultural production. 

Ajantha  Subramanian

Ajantha Subramanian

Department Chair


Research and Teaching Interests: Political Economy; Colonialism and Postcoloniality; Political Ecology; Space...

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Tozzer Anthropology Building 210
21 Divinity Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138

Chair Business Contact:
(617) 495-5820 | Peabody Museum 30A
p: (617) 496-9647
John  Comaroff

John Comaroff

Hugh K. Foster Professor of African and African American Studies and of Anthropology
Oppenheimer Research Fellow
On Leave Spring 2019


Research and Teaching Interests: The...

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Department of African and African American Studies
260 Barker Center
12 Quincy St.
Cambridge, MA 02138