Over the years anthropology majors at Ithaca College have excavated a Cayuga village site in central New York, studied taro farming on the Big Island of Hawaii, worked on a farm with local Native Americans, helped refugees establish projects to raise scholarship money, worked to empower disabled people in India through music, helped grade school children develop recycling and compost programs by having them do an archaeological excavation of waste from their school, and much more. For more than three decades our faculty have guided students in fieldwork, research, and internships in many states and around the world.
Anthropologists study the totality of the human condition, including its origins, evolution, shared traits with other primates, cultural development, and human diversity. Our department embraces the holistic tradition of anthropology, linking the subfields of biological anthropology, archaeology, and cultural anthropology. Our diverse faculty members mentor students in gaining regional specializations in the Americas, Africa, the Pacific, and Asia. Other courses focus on skill building through research methods and research. Many courses emphasize applied anthropology by demonstrating ways that anthropologists make substantial contributions to global issues such as cultural preservation, identity, food security, environmental stewardship, community development, war and militarization, integrative medicine, interpretation of skeletal remains, and the origins of social inequality. If you would like to learn more about our program and facilities, please browse the Anthropology Student Handbook or contact us.
Learning by Doing
The guiding philosophy of the anthropology department is that "the best way to learn anthropology is to do anthropology." Anthropology majors are regularly presented with opportunities to participate in faculty research. In addition, community service projects in cultural preservation and community building and empowerment challenge them to apply their knowledge and skills in real settings. Recent practical training experiences and projects have included the following:
- faculty-led programs in India and Hawaii
- archaeological research at sites in Alaska, Israel, Peru, the Caribbean, the American Southwest, and upstate New York
- cultural preservation and empowerment collaborations with Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) organizations.
- study-abroad programs in places such as Kenya, Nicaragua, Madagascar, India, Australia, Bolivia, Ghana, Jamaica, Brazil, and Italy
- outreach into refugee communities and refugee service organizations in Central New York and around the globe
- serving as undergraduate student representative on the steering committee for the AIDS and Anthropology Research Group
Our students also regularly receive internships with some of the most respected organizations. Emily MacDowell interned with National Geographic, where she wrote "Did You Know?" articles for National Geographic Online! Freshman Melendy Krantz spent the summer of 2006 in Bangladesh, studying Bangla on a Critical Language Scholarship through the Council of American Overseas Research Centers. Elana Sukert interned at the indigenous rights organization Cultural Survival, where she helped to organize bazaars at which vendors, artists, and musicians come together to raise money and awareness for the organization.
We are very proud of our graduates and their accomplishments as well. Indeed, recent graduates have found research positions and internships with the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization in Rome and in nursing homes, courtrooms, museums, organic farming operations, and public schools throughout the United States.
Engaged in the World
Faculty in the anthropology department are deeply involved in research, consulting, and the applications of anthropology to global as well as local concerns. And our faculty often include their students in their research efforts. Please click on the Faculty and Staff link to see a profile for each faculty member. We're proud of who we are.
The small size of our department gives students and faculty the chance to get to know one another and interact together in a close, mutually supportive environment. Faculty work one-on-one with students as mentors, advisers, and fieldwork supervisors. Many students get involved with our anthropology club, which is oriented toward both service and social activities. This strong sense of community also expresses itself in a variety of extracurricular activities. Staff and students participate in informal seminars, picnics, and dinners, and travel to conferences, museums, and field sites. Elected student representatives play a vital role in shaping programs in the department.
Students in anthropology will find that the faculty is interested in promoting their personal growth as well. The department emphasizes that in studying anthropology and the world's cultures, students also learn a great deal about themselves. Overseas study opportunities are encouraged as a means of broadening one's view of the world. We are committed to giving undergraduates the attention and support they need as they shape their future role in a culturally diverse and interdependent world.