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                                          I.  THE DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY


The Department of Anthropology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is housed in Alumni Hall.  The departmental office is located in Room 301 (Telephone: 919-962-1243; FAX 919-962-1613).  You can visit our web site at

The Departmental Chair is Rudi Colloredo-Mansfeld.  The Associate Chair is Michele Rivkin-Fish and the Director of Graduate Studies is Chris Nelson.  The staff consists of Shamecia Powers, Administrative Manager; Matt McAlister, Accounting Technician/Registrar; and Caleb Tabor, Student Services Manager.

The Departmental Chair oversees all departmental activities, including the budget, and coordinates departmental activities with the Dean of Arts and Sciences and the University administration.  The Associate Chair serves ex officio as chair of the Curriculum Committee, and deals with administrative matters related to course offerings, organizes the schedule of departmental courses for the coming semester, assigns Graduate Assistantship duties.  The Director of Graduate Studies is particularly responsible for the interpretation of the graduate curriculum in the case of individual students, and for annual revisions to this Graduate Guide.

The Society of Anthropology Students (SAS) is composed of graduate students in the department and undergraduates at UNC who are majoring in anthropology.  The Society of Anthropology Students organizes a wide range of student activities and serves to express student opinions on departmental matters on both an ad hoc basis and through student participation on departmental committees, described below.

Departmental News:  E-mail, a department listserv, and the department web site are used to inform the local anthropological community of new course offerings or course changes, visiting speakers, film showings, times and places of various departmental meetings, current scholarships and fellowships, and other important matters.

The Bulletin Board across from the elevator on the 3rd floor of Alumni carries general news items of current interest to the Anthropology Department.  Check this board daily.    The second floor Bulletin Board displays announcements of archaeology-related opportunities and programs received from other departments and universities.

The departmental lounge area (Room 313) has a coffee pot and microwave.  Room 313-A offers a place to eat lunch with your colleagues and friends, discuss anthropology with others in the department, and just to relax.  It is often reserved for other events or classes so please check with Caleb Tabor in 301 to make sure it is available.  There is a refrigerator in the 303 graduate student area for use by everyone.

The Departmental Colloquium is a principal instrument for intra-departmental intellectual exchange and discussion of current research.  The colloquium meets regularly throughout Fall and Spring semesters, normally Monday afternoon at 3:30 p.m., although this may change from semester to semester so please check our events calendar.  The colloquium offers presentations by visiting speakers and by members of the department.  Upon reaching the writing stage of their Ph.D. research, graduate students in the department are asked to make at least one presentation to the colloquium.  It is the responsibility of the student’s advisor to remind the student of this expectation, and to inform the Colloquium Committee of the student’s preparedness to speak.  The colloquium takes place in a spirit of critical, but amicable and constructive, exchange of ideas.  The colloquium is regarded as an axis of the department’s intellectual life, and all graduate students are expected to attend.  Students need not feel compelled to speak up during the colloquium, but their contributions are welcome.  Undergraduates are welcome to attend departmental colloquia and other presentations by guest speakers.  The normal format includes about one and one-half hours for the presentation itself and subsequent discussion, after which there is time for refreshments and informal conversation.


The earliest anthropology courses offered at UNC-CH were taught by the late Guy B. Johnson.  Professor Johnson’s specialty was the cultures and problems of southern Blacks and, by extension, the cultures of Africa.  In 1930 he introduced the first course in cultural anthropology into the Department of Sociology, in 1937 a course on culture contacts, and later, a course on African cultures.

The Research Laboratories of Anthropology were established in 1938 as a repository of archaeological materials, in particular those from Town Creek for which Joffre L. Coe was the Site Supervisor.  Robert Wauchope was named the first Director of the RLA in 1940.  When Professor Wauchope left UNC two years later, Professor Johnson became Acting Director.  In 1948 Joffre Coe was appointed Director of the RLA and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1982.

In 1946 John P. Gillin joined Guy Johnson and Joffre Coe in the UNC-CH Anthropology program.  Dr. Gillin was a specialist in applied anthropology, culture and personality, and Latin American cultures.  He expanded the course offerings in sociocultural anthropology, formulating advanced degree programs in anthropology, and recruited more anthropology faculty.  Professors Honigmann and Gulick originally came to UNC-CH in connection with several of these projects.  Anthropology became a curriculum within the Sociology Department (whose name was changed to Sociology and Anthropology), with Gillin informally in charge of sociocultural anthropology, while Joffre Coe developed teaching and research activities in archaeology.  In the late 1950’s two physical anthropologists, Professors Holcomb and Pollitzer, came to UNC-CH with initial appointments in the Department of Anatomy.

The first M.A. in Anthropology from UNC-CH was granted in 1949, and in 1957 the first Ph.D. in Anthropology was awarded to Ruben Reina. Professor Gillin resigned in 1959.  At that point, there were four full-time anthropologists in the Sociology-Anthropology Department (as opposed to 31 full-time anthropologists presently in the department).  In the academic year 1959-60, approximately 600 students were enrolled in all of the anthropology courses taught.  In the academic year 1995-96, the total student enrollment in anthropology courses was 3700, including, of course, many graduate and undergraduate students each taking several courses in the department.

The Department of Anthropology gained a separate academic identity, and split from Sociology on July 1, 1965.  John Gulick was the first Chairperson, serving until 1970, when he was succeeded by John Honigmann.  James Peacock became the third Chairperson in 1975.  Donald Brockington served as Chairperson from 1980 to 1985, and George Holcomb served as Chairperson from 1985-1990.  In July, 1990 James Peacock assumed duties of Chairperson a second time; he served as Chair during 1990-91, after which he was elected to the post of Faculty Chair of the University.   Bruce Winterhalder served as Chair from 1991 to 1996.  He was followed by Dorothy Holland, who served from 1996-2001.  From 2001-2004, Judith B. Farquhar served as Chair until June 30, 2004 when she departed from us to take a position in Chicago, Illinois.  As of July 1, 2004, Paul W. Leslie served as Chair until June 30, 2009 and was reappointed for a four year term effective July 1, 2010 after a year of leave.  Dale Hutchinson serves as Interim Chair from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010. Rudi Colloredo-Mansfeld serves as the current Department Chair.

Following Joffre Coe’s retirement, Roy S. Dickens, Jr., served as  Director of the Research Laboratories of Anthropology from 1982 to 1986.  In 1987, Vincas Steponaitis was appointed Director; along side him, is Stephen R.P. Davis as Associate Director.

In 1964, Alumni Building housed the Department of Sociology, the Recreation Curriculum, the Institute for Research in Social Science, the Department of City and Regional Planning, and the School of Social Work.  Anthropology occupied Room 202.  Later, City and Regional Planning moved to Room 209 when the Recreational Curriculum moved out.  In 1970, City and Regional Planning moved to its present quarters, vacated by the Institute for Research in Social Science.

Major reallocations of space and easing of crowding were possible with the move of the Sociology Department to Hamilton Hall in 1971-72.  In 1973, the School of Social Work moved to its own building.  The Anthropology Department spent 1973-74 in Steele Building while Alumni Building was extensively renovated.  In 1974, the department moved back to Alumni, and rejoined the Research Laboratories of Archaeology, which had spent several years in Person Hall.  The fourth floor space was used over the years by several departments and in 2009 was given to Anthropology.  Alumni Building is now almost entirely an anthropology building.


Each academic year, the Departmental Chairperson establishes a number of committees which carry out various responsibilities necessary for the functioning of the department.  Students serve on these committees along with faculty members.  The faculty members are appointed by the Chairperson while the student members are elected by the graduate students in anthropology.  Students interested in being candidates for membership on one of these committees should consult with the President of the Society of Anthropology Students  (new students are not placed on the Admissions, Awards, or Curriculum committees).

The following is a list of the departmental committees (subject to change) and their specific responsibilities:

Admissions:   Evaluate applications for admission to graduate program; notify Departmental Chairperson of decisions and report evaluations to the faculty and Chair and instruct Student Services Manager regarding information or correspondence related to admission decisions.

Stipends:   Evaluate applications for financial awards for Fall and Spring; supply Chairperson with rankings to be used in awarding departmental assistantships.

Curriculum:   Evaluate curriculum at the level of general policy and evaluate proposed course offerings by faculty for each semester.  Report to Associate Chairperson, prepare recommendations for faculty action, and initiate program revisions.

Colloquium:   Select and arrange for visiting speakers as well as suggest and arrange other departmental colloquia where appropriate.

Human Subjects:   Evaluate research projects submitted by students and faculty in the department with respect to the ethics of treatment of human subjects.  Forward recommendations to the University’s Institutional Review Board.

A list of chairpersons and members is on file with the Administrative Office after the beginning of the Fall semester.  Graduate students routinely serve on the admissions and colloquium committees.  They also serve on faculty search and other ad hoc committees.  Selection of student members of the committees is directed by the officers of the  Society of Anthropology Students in consultation with the Departmental Chairperson.

Inquiries and suggestions in an area covered by a committee should go to the chairperson of that committee or to one of its members, either faculty or student.


Please refer to Faculty on the People web page.


A number of anthropologists in the UNC-Chapel Hill area work either in adjunct, faculty associate, or research positions in our department (and may also have appointments in other departments on campus.)   Please refer to Affiliated and Emeritus Faculty on the People web page.