Anthropology is the comparative study of human diversity through time and across the world. Its scope spans the humanities, the social sciences, and the biological, physical, and evolutionary sciences. As a history of the human species, anthropology studies all human biological and behavioral variation from the earliest fossil records to the present; it includes the study of nonhuman primates as well. As a social science, anthropology aims at uncovering the patterns of past and present societies. As one of the humanities, anthropology seeks to understand the ways cultural meaning and political power have shaped human experience.

At the University of Wisconsin–Madison, anthropology consists of three subfields: archaeology—the investigation and analysis of the remains from past cultures, uncovered through excavation; biological anthropology—the study of human evolution and the roots of the biological and genetic diversity found among contemporary peoples; and sociocultural anthropology—the comparative study of society, politics, economy, and culture, whether in historical times or in our contemporary moment. UW–Madison also offers some classes in anthropological linguistics—the analysis of language and its place in social life. Comparative and empirical work—and fieldwork in particular—are the hallmarks of anthropology on this campus.

Thus, anthropology at UW–Madison is characterized by a comparative point of view, a focus on humans and societies in all their variation and similarity, and an effort to reveal and understand the complex but organized diversity that has shaped the human condition, past and present.


  • Katherine Bowie

    Cultural anthropology, Southeast Asia, Thailand

  • Henry T. Bunn

    Archaeology, emergence of culture, behavioral ecology, East Africa

  • Jerome Camal

    Cultural anthropology, ethnomusicology, Caribbean

  • Sarah Clayton

    Archaeology, Mesoamerica, Teotihuacan

  • Falina Enriquez

    Cultural anthropology, ethnomusicology, Brazil

  • John Hawks

    Biological anthropology, paleoanthropology, anthropological genomics, South Africa

  • J. Mark Kenoyer

    Archaeology, South Asia, Harappa, craft production

  • Nam C. Kim

    Archaeology, Southeast Asia, Vietnam, complex societies, warfare

  • Maria Lepowsky

    Cultural anthropology, medical anthropology, Oceania

  • Hayder al-Mohammad

    Cultural anthropology, anthropology of Islam, Iraq

  • Richard McFarland

    Biological anthropology, primatology, behavioral ecology

  • Larry Nesper

    Cultural anthropology, legal anthropology, North America, Wisconsin

  • Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney

    Cultural anthropology, East Asia, Japan

  • Travis Pickering

    Biological anthropology, taphonomy, South Africa

  • Sissel Schroeder

    Archaeology, historical ecology, Eastern North America, complex societies

  • Amy Stambach
    Cultural anthropology, East Africa
  • Karen Strier

    Biological anthropology, primatology, behavioral ecology, Brazil

  • Claire Wendland

    Cultural anthropology, medical anthropology, Africa, Malawi

  • Zhou Yongming

    Cultural anthropology, East Asia, China, development

Academic Staff

Affiliate faculty

Administrative Staff

Emeritus faculty

  • Kenneth George

    Cultural anthropology, Southeast Asia, Indonesia

  • Sharon Hutchinson

    Cultural anthropology, Africa

  • Anatoly Khazanov
    Cultural anthropology
  • Herbert Lewis

    Cultural anthropology, history of anthropology

  • T. Douglas Price

    Archaeology, Archaeological chemistry, Europe

  • Frank Salomon

    Cultural anthropology, South America

  • James Stoltman

    Archaeology, North America, Wisconsin