Educational Objectives

Student writing notes
A former graduate student writes fieldnotes while conducting exploratory fieldwork in New Orleans

Our central objective in the classroom is to help students develop their intellectual skills, cross-cultural fluency, and sense of civic and moral engagement. We hope that our majors leave the program with greater analytical and critical skills with which to think about the world. Every major will gain knowledge of the most important theories and debates within contemporary anthropological scholarship on subjects ranging from globalization and its effects, gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, mass culture and mass media, and class inequality and conflict. We also seek to school majors in the intellectual history of the discipline through exposure to founding mothers and fathers of anthropology.

At the same time, the major aims to inculcate knowledge of the key issues facing societies across the globe. More particularly, this involves an understanding of how cultural beliefs, social structures, systems of value, and notions of identity vary from place to place and over time. 

Majors will also come away with a greater awareness of the challenges and rewards of civic engagement. Although we do not want our students to imagine that there are any simple or neatly agreed upon solutions, Cultural Anthropology does encourage active engagement in the various communities in which we live. To this end, classroom work will emphasizes patterns of injustices and inequality of all kinds in a global framework.