The human world consists of a myriad of ethnic, religious, and political
groupings whose boundaries and identities are increasingly called into
question in this age of internationalization. Anthropology takes human
diversity, past and present, as a starting point, examining the profoundly
different ways in which social groups interpret and inhabit a changing
Anthropology at Dickinson College is a broad social science program that
connects with the natural sciences and humanities. Faculty in our department
engage in teaching and research that inform contemporary debates bout globalization
and global change in wide range of societies from China to Tanzania, Ethiopia
and Cameroon, Mexico and Guatemala, Peru and Chile, the United States,
Italy and other parts of Europe. We also examine the evolution of the human
family from our primate origins to our emergence as modern humans. Using
anatomical and archaeological fossil records, our goal is to understand
our species' biological diversity and unique place in the natural world.
By examining the diversity of human experience, students learn to look
clearly at their own views and to better understand their own societies.
Students probe such questions as: how and why does American society classify
people on the basis of race? How does racism work in different parts of
the world? How do African and Chinese diasporic populations create social
identities in different places? Do women occupy a status lower than men
in all societies? Is inequality natural to human societies and universal?
How does the penetration of capitalism effect societies throughout the
world? In other words, we teach students to think critically, reassessing
what they stand for as they explore the human condition from a variety
of distinct perspectives.
In addition to grappling with social issues, students learn the process
of doing anthropological research through fieldwork and laboratory research.
Ethnographic fieldwork - observing and interacting intimately with people
in a social setting over an extended period of time - is one of anthropology's
distinctive contributions to the human sciences. In coursework and our
department's ethnographic field schools, students familiarize themselves
with fieldwork by conducting local and international projects that they
may later develop into senior thesis papers. In addition to fieldwork experiences,
the Anthropology Department at Dickinson has a state-of-the-art laboratory
where students engage in experiential learning about human evolution, osteology,
and biological diversity. The lab is also a facility where students can
develop their use of qualitative and quantitative research methods. Students
are strongly encouraged to take advantage of Dickinson 's many study abroad
programs, where they can practice their fieldwork skills for senior papers
and presentation at conferences.
Anthropology at Dickinson emphasizes the use of knowledge for active participation
in the world. Students leave the anthropology program fully prepared for
graduate school, for public and non-profit sector work, and for any form
of business or professional work that requires critical thinking skills
and understanding of cultural difference. Whatever they do in life, students
of anthropology will have gained a firm foundation to stand on as they
navigate their way through our own and global society.