Bart Dredge, Chair
Anthropology, the study of human cultural diversity, involves four distinct sub-fields: cultural anthropology, archeology, physical anthropology, and socio-linguistics. All four sub-fields explore how culture shapes the human experience, the forces and processes that have shaped human biology and society over time, and the ways in which human societies are similar to and different from each other. Cultural anthropology, the sub-field which is emphasized at Austin College, investigates human experience within different cultural settings by actually entering into those cultures and studying those groups from their own perspectives.
The courses offered in anthropology, a department within the Social Sciences, explore a wide range of societies and communities, from gatherers and hunters to tribal groups, peasants, urban peoples in the third world, and ethnic groups in the United States and around the world. Courses deal comparatively with contemporary issues such as gender and family structures, race and ethnicity, development, colonialism and the shaping of the world system, politics and the exercise of power, war and peacemaking, the relationships of society to the environment, and others. As an integrative science, anthropology has links to other disciplines and programs including history, biology, religion, environmental studies, gender studies, area studies programs, and the other social sciences.