About Our Department
How, when, and where did human life arise, how have environmental conditions and social institutions shaped human society, what is the role of learned versus innate behavior, and how are humans adapting to rapidly changing contexts? These, among many, are the sorts of questions anthropologists ask. Anthropology, the appreciation of and commitment to understanding all aspects of human diversity past and present, is devoted to the proposition that the diversity among humankind is comprehensible and enriching. In today’s global era, Anthropology is increasingly relevant as we seek to explore and explain differences and similarities among the world's cultures. Research, teaching, and service are the foundations of anthropology at Washington University.
Excellence in teaching and attention to undergraduates is a hallmark of the Anthropology Department. The department offers a major and minor in anthropology, as well as optional global health and environment tracks. Our department enjoys a strong sense of community among students and faculty. We provide a diverse array of vibrant, intellectually challenging courses for undergraduates and graduates and hands-on advising. Students find that our program provides one of the most flexible and well-rounded undergraduate majors in the liberal arts, and that it is an unrivaled preparation for professional study (law, business, medicine) and a springboard to careers in wide ranging fields.
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Researchers of ancient DNA set guidelines for their work
“There are very serious ethical implications to dealing with human remains. These samples are taken from humans who had lives, families, and whose bodies represent the ancestral history of people still living today,” said Michael Frachetti, professor of archaeology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis who has used ancient DNA research to study Central and Eastern Eurasia populations.Read more
New database highlights underrepresented scholars of African archaeology
Helina Woldekiros, assistant professor of archaeology in the Department of Anthropology in Arts & Sciences, and her collaborators recently launched the Bibliographic Database of African Scholarship on African Archaeology (BibDAA). The new open-access database collects and shares publications on African archaeology, broadly defined, by African and Afrodescendant scholars. Recognizing that under-citation of Black scholars is a long-standing problem in archaeology and responding to renewed calls to cite Black scholarship, BibDAA supports academic research and teaching by helping scholars and educators discover under-cited work and diversify student reading lists, increasing the visibility of underrepresented researchers.Read more
Washington University's Department of Anthropology has a strong reputation for scholarly excellence. Faculty and students conduct research around the world, and we reach across time from the Oligocene to the present. Our research strengths are enhanced by the department’s commitment to training students in the history and foundations of anthropological theory.Find out more about our research