We live our lives in an increasingly interconnected global world. People, goods, and ideas travel like never before, binding local communities and global forces in new and dynamic relationships. The impact of globalization extends to every corner of the earth, and yet its experience is endlessly different. Everything is changing.

And yet, globalization itself is nothing new. Humanity has been global for millennia. Our history is a ceaseless process of movement and exchange. From the spread of the earliest domesticated grains from Southwest Asia to the circulation of smart phones assembled in factories throughout East Asia. From goods carried in caravans along the Silk Road to commodities traded electronically across markets in Chicago, Shanghai and Johannesburg.

From groups of farmers pledged to mutual assistance in rural Japanese villages to highly sophisticated networks of NGOs, governmental bureaucracies, corporations and individual volunteers committed to disaster relief across the globe. Societies have long developed with and against knowledge, values and technologies drawn from around the world. Contemporary patterns of health and illness, faith and religion, art and language, wealth and poverty emerge from global connections that are both ancient and continually remade. For decades, Anthropologists have worked to make sense of these patterns.

Anthropology at UNC Chapel Hill brings our students and faculty together with people who live and work in communities across the globe. Our projects extend deep into the past, to cities and villages in distant places, to nearby communities here in North Carolina. Together we [try to] create locally grounded understandings of our world. We take on the key questions, crises, and possibilities that define our shared lives. Doing so, we work together to advance anthropology as a discipline of—and for—a global world. This is the Anthropology of Global Engagement.

Engagement: Department of Anthropology Courses with Guided Research Opportunities

Our students create pathways between their own interests and the real places and people, in North Carolina and across the world, where global forces are reshaping lives. The program is built around three types of engagement. First, the department offers courses that train students in ethnographic research methods. Second, faculty support international field experiences, whether through summer programs in archaeology, heritage, or community service or through individual advising to develop independent international research and grant proposals. Third, the department offers advanced seminars and independent study opportunities for students returning from study abroad, summer travel, immigrant or refugee work in the US, and other international experiences. Engagement also means inquiry into one’s own experiences. Through coursework and independent study, the department creates opportunities for students to build on past travel, study abroad, or bi-cultural experiences as a basis of personal growth or career development.   The Department of Anthropology offers training in research methods through either Archaeology lab courses and field schools or specially designed assignments within regular anthropology classes. These courses often entail structured, multi-week projects. Under the instructor’s guidance, students gain a practical introduction to developing research questions, working with individuals, observing, interviewing, recording or participating in the flow of action.

Classes will vary. Some offer opportunity to work with primary data, others entail a chance to work on an IRB certified, interview- based project, and still others offer weekly guidance in participatory ethnographic practice with careful attention paid to the ethics of projects and responsibilities of researchers to the communities where they work.

Gateway Course

Anth 142: Local Cultures, Global Forces will serve as the origin-point. This large lecture will bring students into the department and serve as a gateway to other courses. Chris and Towns have received a CFE grant to revamp this course for 2015. In the months ahead, they will be coordinating with everyone to redesign the course in a way that best prepares students for specific higher-level courses in the department. The idea here is to bolster enrollment and students’ readiness for more advanced course-work.

Capstone Course

Anth 490 Capstone Course: Each year we would like to offer a capstone course emphasizing student-driven research. Year to year, this course can vary, but ideally it will involve first-hand research on local-global dynamics. Our first course will be entitled “Global North Carolina.”

Advanced Course for Students Returning from Study Abroad: We will also create a guided seminar for students returning from study abroad programs to contextualize their experiences using anthropological theory and practice, and plan for future engagements.

Current Courses

  • 50 First-Year Seminar: Skeletons in the Closet
  • 52 First-Year Seminar: Asian Cultures, Asian Cities, Asian Modernities
  • 54 First-Year Seminar: The Indians’ New Worlds: Southeastern Histories from 1200 to 1800.
  • 55 First-Year Seminar: The Modern Corporation: From the English East India Company to Wal-Mart (3).
  • 57 First-Year Seminar: Today in Africa.
  • 60 First-Year Seminar: Crisis and Resilience: Past and Future of Human Societies (3).
  • 62 First-Year Seminar: Indian Country Today
  • 63 First-Year Seminar: The Lives of Others: Exploring Ethnography
  • 64 First-Year Seminar: Public Archaeology in Bronzeville
  • 77 First-Year Seminar: Windows of Mystery and Wonder: Exploring Self-Taught Art
  • 92 & 93 UNITAS
  • 103 Anthropology of Globalization
  • 130 Anthropology of the Caribbean
  • 145 Introduction to World Prehistory
  • 191 Peoples of Siberia
  • 194 Anthropology and Community Development
  • 206 American Indian Societies
  • 210 Global Issues in the 20th Century
  • 226 The Peoples of Africa
  • 234 Native American Tribal Studies
  • 238 Human Ecology of Africa
  • 240 Action Research
  • 248 Anthropology and Public Interest
  • 250 Archaeology of North America
  • 259 Culture and Identity
  • 284 Culture and Consumption
  • 312 From the Equator to the Poles: Case Studies in Global Environmental Change (3).
  • 318 Human Growth and Development
  • 319 Global Health
  • 320 Anthropology of Development
  • 330 Japan, Myth and Memory
  • 333 Anthropology of Democracy
  • 356 Artisans and Global Culture
  • 360 Latin American Economy and Society
  • 375 Memory, Massacres, and Monuments in Southeast Asia
  • 377 European Societies
  • 380 Anthropological Perspectives on Cultural Diversity
  • 406 Indigenous Ethnography
  • 411 Laboratory Methods in Archaeology
  • 414 Laboratory Methods: Human Osteology
  • 416 Bioarchaeology
  • 419 Anthropological Applications of GIS
  • 422 Anthropology and Human Rights
  • 429 Culture and Power in Southeast Asia
  • 445 Migration and Health
  • 447 The Anthropology of Work (3).
  • 449 Anthropology and Marxism (3).
  • 451 Field School in North American Archaeology
  • 453 Field School in South American Archaeology
  • 454 The Archaeology of African Diasporas
  • 466 Alternative Economic Systems (3).
  • 477 Visual Anthropology
  • 491 Political Anthropology
  • 502 Globalization and Transnationalism
  • 545 The Politics of Culture in East Asia
  • 567 Urban Anthropology
  • 574 Chinese World Views
  • 578 Chinese Diaspora in the Asia Pacific
  • 586 The Gardens, Shrines, and Temples of Japan
  • 625 Ethnography and Life Stories
  • 626 African Cultural Dynamics
  • 682 Contemporary Chinese Society

Graduate and Advanced Work in Global Engagement

At this time, we have no concrete plans to develop a graduate component for Global Engagement. However, we do intend to organize a colloquium to bring together undergraduate and graduate students, faculty from our department and the university at large, and experienced members of the community to explore the possibilities of anthropology in a globalized world. We are particularly interested in building more effective relationships with the Center for Global Initiatives, the Study Abroad Office, the various Area Studies Centers, and the Carolina Center for Public Service.