Letter from the Chair, Summer 2017
Bragging about the Anthropology Department at Washington University in St., Louis is easy. Most anthropology departments struggle to attract majors and to have a strong presence on their campuses. We, however, have over 300 majors and have graduated more than 100 students a year for the last five years. We’re successful because we do not take our selves or our discipline for granted. No serious American university could exist without biology, economics, or English, yet no university must have a department of anthropology. We must provide value-added services to the university. My colleagues are among the best teachers at WashU. They inspire, delight, surprise, and push their students. And, as one graduating senior put it, they are “nice,” too. They are passionate and devoted teachers because they are also inspired researchers.
In the end, though, we do so well because we are an engaged and engaging community. Our hallways buzz with conversations; our social events are alive with cheer; and we celebrate the accomplishments of students, staff, and faculty alike in ways large and small. It is hard to put a finger on exactly what makes a community—but enjoying one another’s company surely must be one element. We are fortunate to have these bonds because they make us more than the sum of the individuals who work in McMillan Hall. As you can see from the articles in this newsletter, honoring our craft, celebrating our accomplishments, and recognizing community are central to what we are. Thank you for being a part of Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis.
Chair, Department of Anthropology