Who We Are

We are a community of anthropologists committed to the understanding of the complex world we live in. We continuously challenge commonplace assumptions and ways of being. We value curiosity about people and their relationships with others. We engage in investigation into what it means to be human and to live with others, including non-human others. We encourage discussion and debate, respect for difference, and life-long learning. We are committed to offering our students inclusive and exciting experiences of learning and growth.

Our task is to train students to become critical, independent thinkers, and agents of change. Our Department prides itself as a place that provides real-life career opportunities but also occasions for personal growth. Over the years, we have been able to train students for careers in the academy, politics, consultancy, government, journalism, business, the film and creative media industry, market research. Our students are versatile and creative, and equipped with the intellectual tools that enable them to work in diverse fields—museum curatorship, tourism, diversity management, rural and urban development and social policy development, government, NGOs, international agencies, and corporate business.

Most of all, our students are passionate thinkers, writers, analysts, and activists. 

What is Anthropology?

Anthropology is the comparative study of human societies and cultures. It seeks to understand the complexities of human interaction. Anthropologists are interested in understanding how people give meaning to the past and present worlds that humans inhabit; they study what people make, what they do and think and how they organise their social life and relationships, cultures and societies.

Anthropologists produce knowledge in a specific way. They conduct fieldwork, immerse themselves in the lives of the people they study, gather up observations, analyse, theorise, and they write up their findings. Virtually everything of our world interests them: business and money, kinship, modes of production, consumption, beliefs and rituals, politics, gender constructions, migration, nationhood, heritage, social movements, and education. Anthropology is the study of people everywhere, in the big cosmopolitan cities as much as in rural areas, in Africa, Europe, Asia, or anywhere else in the world.

Anthropology is about our involvement in the world we share, and the forms that our world takes. The stories that anthropologists tell are not just an account of the lives of others, but also about ourselves. Anthropological knowledge itself emerges in encounters from the relationship between ‘us’ and the ‘other’ and is affected by how the anthropologist comes to know.

Anthropology is a discipline that was historically founded around the question of difference. In its inception, it was understood as the study of the non-Western people. However, important new questions and challenges have been posed to anthropology from the Global South, by black and feminist scholars, and this has forced the discipline to undergo a productive process of self-critique and regeneration from the 1960s onwards.

Also, history has presented new provocations and questionings to the anthropologists: How do we understand the world we live in? How can our work speak to the inequalities and violence that characterises our contemporary world? Anthropology is indeed traversed by the quest of social justice that remains crucial in how we write, teach and research today. Through their works and constant reflections, anthropologists foster mutual respect and understanding of other people’s experiences and worldviews and are committed to bringing change in our societies.