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Anthropology lies at the intersection of the multiple approaches to the study of humankind that characterize other disciplines – biological, social, cultural, historical, linguistic, cognitive, material, technological and aesthetic – because of its unique holistic perspective. These multiple approaches are encapsulated in the four traditional subfields that have composed the discipline since its establishment in the 19th century: cultural, archaeological, biological and linguistic anthropology. Anthropologists typically engage in particularistic research (devoted to specific topics, regions, theoretical and methodological concerns) that ultimately contributes to the “big questions” about the human experience.

Photo of Turlington Hall at UF main campus

The Department’s mission is to maintain the vision of anthropology encapsulated in these strengths among its faculty, graduate students, undergraduate majors and other students taking anthropology courses and to foster an understanding of anthropology within the university community and beyond.

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Characteristics of the Department

Many faculty conduct research at the boundaries of standard anthropological research. UF Anthropology and its faculty have gained national attention and high regard for conscientiously maintaining a holistic approach that is fostered by making connections across methodological and disciplinary borders. Explore our press page for updates on the department. The department has a high number of faculty with joint appointments in other campus units. Many department faculty are actively involved in research and teaching with other campus units.
Photo of two children holding baby lambs at Department of Cusco, Peru

The department values empirical, theoretically and methodologically informed research, respecting the different approaches and perspectives employed by individual faculty. Both quantitative and qualitative research are pursued, with interests spanning the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities.

The department fosters the development of expertise in the culture, history or language of a specific area. Traditional regional emphases are Latin America, Africa and North America, with the more recent addition of faculty specializing in Asia and Europe.

The department values both “academic” and “applied” research. By both choice and training, a high proportion of graduate degree holders pursue careers outside of academia.

The department is deeply committed to international and intercultural research and education. The research of many faculty members and students takes place in other countries and involves international researchers and audiences. Numerous courses taught by the department have a strong international component. The department has a high number of international students and some international faculty.

Several faculty members are involved in developing anthropological education in other countries through collaborations with foreign universities, including international field schools.

Photo Credit: Characteristics of Anthropology Photo Courtesy of Stéphanie Borios