Areas of Research Concentration

All graduate students are asked to focus in one of the department's three areas of concentration. These areas of inquiry are designed around the strengths and interests of our faculty and often intersect across the traditional subfields defined in Anthropology. Students are therefore encouraged to draw upon the expertise of the entire faculty in their work within one of these three conceptual fields.

The department does not view these areas of concentration as isolated categories, but rather in terms of their systemic interrelationships. In keeping with the synthetic and holistic nature of anthropological inquiry, the ways in which these areas overlap and relate to each other is as interesting and functionally important as is their particular character. Therefore, students will be encouraged to explore the interrelationships between their areas and the others.

Students seeking to pursue interests outside these areas may do so with departmental permission and the cooperation of a faculty advisor. Students thus seeking to depart from the areas of concentration must make clear their intent prior to their acceptance of admission.

Anthropology of Health

Anthropology of Health focuses on the anthropological study of how health and well-being are shaped, experienced, and understood in light of global, historical, and structural forces. Faculty interests include global health, community-based health research, health systems, health policy and governance, health disparities, migrant and immigrant health, risk environments, disease and diagnostic categories, addiction, experiences of social suffering, hypermarginality, gun violence, incarceration, and racialization. More information about anthropology of health in the department. 

Medical Anthropology and Global Health

Medical anthropology draws on social, cultural, biological, and linguistic anthropology to better understand factors that influence health and well-being (broadly defined), the experience and distribution of illness, the prevention and treatment of sickness, healing processes, the social relations of therapy management and care, and the cultural importance and utilization of pluralistic medical systems. 

The program in Medical Anthropology & Global Health is designed to appeal to students who are interested in gaining a strong theoretical foundation in medical anthropology and instruction in empirical analysis of a range of global health issues.

Our interdisciplinary approach to health and healthcare seeks to raise the analytic rigor offered to students, challenging them to develop robust theoretical and empirical skills in order to act on contemporary health challenges. 

PROGRAM FACULTY
  • Christina Getrich, PhD
    • Expertise: Health disparities & equity, primary care, health & immigration policy, Latinos, US-Mexico borderlands
  • Andrea Lopez, PhD
    • Expertise: Hypermarginality, addiction, social suffering, critical phenomenology, urban United States
  • Joseph Richardson, PhD
    • Expertise: Gun violence & trauma, incarceration, Black male youth, urban United States
  • Thurka Sangaramoorthy, PhD, MPH
    • Expertise: Global health, HIV/AIDS, risk environments, health policy & governance, race, US & Caribbean

Anthropology of Heritage

Anthropology of Heritage focuses on the management of heritage and cultural resources and the identification and study of both material and intangible cultural resources as they relate to our ability to understand the relationships between the past and the present. Faculty interests include historical archaeology, cultural resource management, applied folklore and oral history, heritage tourism development, relationships between culture and history, and health-based heritage practices. More information about heritage studies in the department.

Archaeology and Heritage

The Department of Anthropology is internationally recognized as a leader in historical archaeology, environmental archaeology, and heritage studies. Anthropology offers skills-based training in zooarchaeology; geospatial technology, mapping, and modeling; geoarchaeology; cultural resource management; archaeological/heritage ethnography; and forensic anthropology. Students may contribute to faculty members’ projects in Iceland, Ireland, Italy, the anthracite area of northeastern Pennsylvania, Annapolis and Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Faculty

  • Stephen Brighton 
    • Expertise: Material Culture Studies, Labor & Immigration, Diaspora Studies, Historical Archaeology, Contemporary Theory, Ireland
  • George Hambrecht 
    • Expertise: Zooarchaeology, Medieval Archaeology, Post-Medieval Archaeology, Environmental Archaeology, Norse Archaeology
  • Kathryn Lafrenz Samuels
    • Expertise: Cultural Heritage, Environmental Heritage & Climate Change, Archaeological Ethnography & Heritage Ethnography, Cultural and Heritage Resource Management, Rights & Democratic Practice
  • Mark Leone 
    • Expertise: Critical Theory, Emancipation, Public Archaeology
  • Barnet Pavao-Zuckerman 
    • Expertise: Zooarchaeology, Colonialism, Animal Husbandry, Environmental Archaeology, Plantation Archaeology, Mission Archaeology, Southwestern Archaeology, Southeastern Archaeology, Historical Archaeology
  • Paul Shackel
    • Expertise: Labor, Heritage, Civic Engagement, Historical Archaeology, Social Justice

 

Anthropology of Environment focuses on the anthropological assessment of environmental issues, the management of natural resources and the study of biological, cultural and behavioral factors as they impinge upon our understanding of the environment and our ability to respond to environmentally based opportunities, problems, and crises. Faculty interests include human ecology, cultural and environmental conservation, culture and cognition in environmental decision making, gender and ethnic factors in environmental problem solving and conservation, environmental justice, ecotourism, and aspects of agricultural development and regional or community planning. More information about environmental anthropology in the department. 

Ecological and Environmental Anthropology

Ecological and environmental anthropology focuses on the anthropological assessment of environmental issues, the management of natural resources and the study of biological, cultural and behavioral factors as they impinge upon our understanding of the environment and our ability to respond to environmentally based opportunities, problems, and crises.

The program in Ecological and Environmental Anthropology is designed to appeal to students who are interested in gaining a strong theoretical foundation and instruction in empirical analysis of a range of ecological and environmental issues.

Our interdisciplinary focus on the environment seeks to raise the analytic rigor offered to students, challenging them to develop robust theoretical and empirical skills to act on contemporary environmental challenges.

PROGRAM FACULTY

  • Janet Chernela
    • Expertise: ethnography of the Amazon basin, NGOs, Latin American Studies
  • George Hambrecht
    • Expertise: zooarchaeology, dynamics between humans and natural systems
  • Kathryn Lafrenz Samuels
    • Expertise: climate change, energy resources, international development, cultural heritage
  • Yancey Orr
    • Expertise: Environmental anthropology, phenomenology, indigenous environmental knowledge
  • Michael Paolisso
    • Expertise: Chesapeake region, economic anthropology, research methods
  • Barnet Pavao-Zuckerman
    • Expertise: Native Americans and European colonization, zooarchaeology
  • Jen Shaffer
    • Expertise: human-environmental interactions, historical ecology, indigenous knowledge, rural livelihoods, conservation, climate change adaptation and resilience, Southern and Eastern Africa.