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.

Faculty

  • 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

  • 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

  • Elizabeth Leith, Senior Academic Curator

    Museum anthropology, protohistoric, European trade, historical archaeology

Affiliate faculty

Administrative Staff

For general information:
anthroinfo@mailplus.wisc.edu
608-262-2866

Emeritus faculty

  • Kenneth George
    Cultural anthropology, Southeast Asia, Indonesia

  • Sharon Hutchinson
    sehutchi@wisc.edu
    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