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Department of Anthropology

  • Graduate students posing at a dig site.


Our small department size means you'll get personal attention from our faculty members as you embark on an interdisciplinary course of study. We also encourage you to take advantage of the expert faculty in other departments like geology, geography, linguistics, public health, history, African American studies, Latin American and Caribbean studies, and many more.

Our graduate study is flexible with multiple degree programs, areas of study and several interdisciplinary certificate programs to choose from. Many of our students are also awarded a graduate assistantship after they apply to the program


What You'll Study

You'll choose a sub-field of anthropology to specialize in, but we encourage you to cross the boundaries of each sub-field and incorporate them into your graduate work. 


Four Sub-fields of Anthropology

Our Archaeology faculty focus on a range of research areas including  eastern North America pre-contact and contact-era archaeology (Jones), historical archaeology of African diaspora slavery and self-liberation, and indigenous struggles against settler-colonialism in the Caribbean and U.S. (Weik), historical archaeology of the 19th century rural landscapes (Jones & Weik), and African prehistoric archaeology and ethnoarchaeology (Casey). Research areas also include historical archaeology of the African diaspora in the U.S. and West Africa, ethnoarchaeology in West Africa, and public heritage and memorialization in both the eastern U.S. and West Africa (Goldberg). The South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology (SCIAA) also has several archaeologists working on prehistoric (King) and historic archaeology (DePratter) of the Southeast and a very large collection of materials from the state. Many of our archaeology faculty offer elective courses that complement other subfield offerings. 

Our Biological Anthropology faculty are primarily interested in bioarchaeological approaches to reconstruction demography, health, and disease in past populations in ways that are relevant to living people. Their work addresses questions about how health and disease outcomes in the past were shaped by various factors such as age, gender, social race, socio-economic status, marginalization, immigrant status, and environmental conditions. Their research is informed by theoretical perspectives on embodiment (ecosocial theory), developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD), intersectionality, and the social determinants of health. Dr. de la Cova integrates historical archival research with paleopathological analysis. Dr. DeWitte uses paleodemographic and paleoepidemiological approaches to investigate health in the past in ways that engage with the Osteological Paradox (i.e., heterogeneous frailty and selective mortality).

Our Cultural Anthropology faculty study social discourses in a wide range of contexts. These contexts include political-economic change and migration in Guatemala, Mexico, and the U.S. (Reynolds), and how undocumented migrants navigate shifting immigration enforcement trends in the U.S., Central America, and Mexico (Doering-White). Research areas also include globalization, feminist epistemologies, and valuations of labor in late capitalist contexts (Barker), the intersection between gender and popular culture in China and Taiwan (Moskowitz), and women's organizations, Afro-Dominicanness and African American culture and experience in the Dominican Republic and the U.S. (K. Simmons). More areas of interest are race, inequality and environmental inequality in the U.S. south (Barra), the ways The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians living in the Qualla boundary in North Carolina attain economic stability (Lewis), how power shapes vernacular and biomedical meanings of health, healing and therapeutic practice (D. Simmons), and socio-cultural legacies of the Soviet atomic bomb project and the political economy of health in Kazakhstan (Stawkowski).

Our Linguistic Anthropology faculty have complementary research strengths in interactionist, performative and semiotic approaches to the intra- and intersubjective mediation of subject formation as it pertains to forms of social belonging and exclusion. Dr. Feliciano-Santos examines how historical narratives, institutions, and life experiences frame the interactional and institutional management of identity in identity movements and legal settings. Dr. Reynolds is a specialist in language socialization and studies quotidian discourse practices within family networks, peer groups, and schools within contexts of political and economic change and internal and transnational migration. Linguistic Anthropology is also one of the subfield areas of concentration within the Linguistics Program


Our Graduates

In general, about half of our graduates go on to Ph.D. programs. Some have continued at USC (Linguistics, Public Health, Sociology). Others have gone elsewhere to study Anthropology (Stanford, University of Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Iowa, Yale, UCLA, McGill, UC Riverside, Kent State University, University of Pittsburgh, Purdue, UC Berkeley, Texas A & M, University of South Florida, Medical School, University of SC., UNC - Chapel Hill, UVA, SUNY Birmingham, Simon Fraser University).

Those who don't continue on to Ph.D. programs go on to fulfilling careers. 

Many of our students are now working in organizations like SCIAA, museums, state agencies, National Park Service and private archaeological research firms. 

You can find our graduates working in the Federal Government, in translation services for private companies and government agencies, teaching cultural awareness courses for businessmen, and teaching at community colleges. 

Many of these students continue in academic programs in biological sciences and public health and in professional schools, like dentistry, medicine and physical anthropology. Others are employed by public health research projects, cultural resource management firms, cemetery relocation projects and doing forensic death investigations. 


Photo Credit: 2008 Field School at the Belmont Neck site in central South Carolina. Image by Gail E. Wagner

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