Program Summary

Anthropologists study human beings, globally and cross-culturally, and recognise that each way of life is but one possibility among many. In a pluralistic world, where people from different places and backgrounds frequently interact, anthropology is an important tool for helping us understand each other and the rapid changes going on around us. Anthropology offers the potential to broaden our understanding of what it means to be a person, to question what passes as “normal” or “natural”, and to examine the world we inhabit as interconnected by environmental, political, economic, cultural and social forces.

While anthropologists have traditionally studied in small scale, non-Western societies, today we apply our participatory research methods and a combination of humanistic and social scientific perspectives to all kinds of situations: if people do it, you can study it as an anthropologist.

Carleton’s anthropology program specializes in socio-cultural anthropology, which is the study of contemporary societies and cultures through direct engagement, participant-observation and other qualitative methods. Our faculty work in various contexts and communities in Alaska, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Thailand, the Andes, and Sub-Saharan Africa, among others. Our faculty specialize in a range of topics including:

  • the study of Indigenous people’s lives in context (e.g. indigenous-state relations; governance & colonialism; language; urban indigenous communities).
  • environmental issues (e.g. human-environmental relations; subsistence politics; the Anthropocene; climate change; natural resources)
  • transnational & global issues (e.g. transnational adoption; development; migration; diaspora; sex tourism)
  • race, ethnicity, and nationalism (e.g. ethno-history; ethno-politics)
  • selfhood, personhood, subjectivity, identity, psychiatric anthropology, and phenomenology;
  • genders and sexualities (e.g. motherhood; reproductive health; gendered childhood; feminist theories/methodologies).
  • political economy (e.g. global capitalisms; processes of commodification; capitalist and non-capitalist societies)