Welcome to the Department of Anthropology!

Anthropology is the integrative study of human beings at all times and in all places. Within this broad field of study, three programs of foundational training form the focus of our department: Archaeology; Human Biology, Ecology, and Evolution; and Sociocultural Anthropology and Ethnography.

We cross cut these specializations with five concentrations to integrate anthropology’s diverse expertise. Our current concentrations focus on: Health, Medicine, and Humanity; Heritage and Unwritten Histories; Global Engagement; Race, Place, and Power; and Food, Environment, and Sustainability.


Department of Anthropology Statement Concerning UNC’s Confederate Monument

Anthropology is a discipline of engagement with social issues that matter. As such, anthropologists are acutely aware of inequality and the way that systems of power marshal words, symbols, and even silences to marginalize and oppress. That’s precisely what has happened for generations on UNC’s campus, where a monument to the Confederacy—and thus a monument to the oppression of African Americans and their earlier exclusion from these halls of higher education—commanded a central place. Standing just outside of Alumni Hall—home to the Department of Anthropology—this towering statue stands as a declaration of white supremacy. For some, it fosters an atmosphere of fear that goes against the University’s emphasis on inclusivity.  A rhetoric that celebrates diversity will always ring hollow when accompanied by a standing embodiment of oppression.

Anthropology is a discipline grounded in careful observation and conversation. As anthropologists, we hear the testimonies of offense and experienced marginalization that pervade our campus and community. We recognize the power of symbols to intimidate, to silence the oppressed, and to empower those who would use fear as a weapon of privilege. Unfortunately, the Confederate monument resonates powerfully in this negative way. There is no place on a university campus for a memorial that uncritically references the institution of slavery.  The university’s commitment to inclusivity demands that we act to insure the safety of all, particularly the brave persons whose daily presence at the monument gives voice to our collective conscience and the need to contextualize the meaning of this Confederate statue. 

A commitment to acknowledging our shared humanity is a foundational tenet of Anthropology. From this tenet, it follows that a monument to divisiveness and racial exclusivity should have no home in McCorkle Place.



Department News


Adjunct Anthropology professor Stephen Davis featured in University Gazette

November 16, 2017 Adjunct anthropology professor and assistant director of the Research Labs of Archaeology, Stephen Davis Jr, was featured in the University Gazette discussing archaeological findings around Chapel Hill and campus. Full article written by Susan Hudson can be … Continued

Department News and Celebrations!

November 14, 2017 Anusha Hariharan has been awarded a grant from the Taraknath Das Foundation to support her work on social justice issues in Tamil Nadu, South India. Lauren Nareau has been awarded a UNC Off-campus Dissertation Fellowship for her … Continued

Summer Research of First Year Graduate Students

October 30, 2017 Dr. Harriet Kupferer was one of the early PhDs in Anthropology from UNC- Chapel Hill.  She was awarded her degree in 1961 upon completion of her dissertation, “The “principal people,” 1960: a study of cultural and social … Continued

Anthropology Graduate Student Celebrations

October 18, 2017 Sierra Roark, 1st year graduate student, won a prestigious award for her undergraduate honors thesis at U Tenn. UT will provide resources for Sierra to travel to Dublin to accept this award. Awards are made “under the … Continued

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