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    American University
    Feb 23, 2024  
American University Catalog 2023-2024 
American University Catalog 2023-2024



Chair  Rachel Watkins

Full-Time Faculty

Professor  T. SangaramoorthyD. Vine
Associate Professor  C.A. Claus, D. Sayers, R. Watkins
Assistant Professor  O. Burton, Z. Glück, M. Maharawal
Senior Professorial Lecturer  B. Woodard
Professorial Lecturer  Z. Cossin, M. Hargrove, M. Rizvi
Public Anthropologist in Residence  A.W. Cherry, G. Schafft, S. Taylor

Emeriti Faculty

Professor Emeritus/a  G.L. Burkhart, R.J. Dent, D.B. Koenig, W.L. Leap, B. Williams

Department Overview

Humans have always constituted their families, sexuality, gendered identities, social groups, religious practices, work, play, and artistic expression in dramatically diverse ways. Anthropologists explore everyday experience, cultural difference, and power relations in order to understand this diversity in the context of local and global histories. Stark inequalities are also part of the human experience, and anthropologists seek to uncover the ideologies and processes that create and mask those inequalities.

Different kinds of anthropologists explore difference and power from specialized perspectives. Cultural and social anthropologists search for the connections between cultural meanings and lived human experience. Archaeologists probe the remains of past civilizations for significant transformations in the ways communities organized their homes and labor. Biological anthropologists document the dynamics of human evolution and study nutrition, health, and illness in their cultural contexts. Linguists examine the varied texts that speakers create for clues that language holds to hierarchy and personal expression.

Anthropology students examine past and present societies to bring anthropological and archaeological theory and practice to ongoing struggles against racism, sexism, homophobia, inequality, poverty, environmental degradation, and ethnic/cultural genocide. Offering the Anthropology (BA) , Anthropology (Minor) , and Public Anthropology (Undergraduate Certificate) , the undergraduate anthropology program at American University introduces students to all four subfields of anthropology, and many students specialize in one. Graduate programs include the Public Anthropology (MA) Public Anthropology (Graduate Certificate) , and an Anthropology (PhD)  with concentrations in cultural/social anthropology and archaeology. All programs stress active, cooperative learning, for anthropology opens up many exciting questions for discussion and debate.

Students are encouraged to learn outside the classroom, through internships and job placements, field trips and experiential classes, and study abroad. Washington, DC offers many opportunities for students to broaden their learning through museums and research facilities and the rich community life of the city. Many anthropology majors choose to spend a semester abroad. With prior approval, the department accepts courses taken through AU Abroad  as credit for the major.

Honors in Anthropology

The Honors in Anthropology  program provides an opportunity for students wanting to engage with Anthropology more deeply than in the regular major.  


    Major Program (UG)Minor (UG)Certificate (UG)Master’s Program (GR)Certificate (GR)Doctoral Program (GR)