What is Anthropology?

Dr. Hofman demonstrating flint knapping

Dr. Hofman demonstrating flint knapping to
an introductory archaeology student.

Anthropology is the study of past and present human societies. It is one of the most wide-ranging of the academic disciplines. Anthropologists are concerned with the origin, history, and future of our own species, so the field is as diverse as people are.

There are four main subdisciplines of anthropology: Archaeology is concerned with studying the human past based on the material culture left behind. Biological or physical anthropology is concerned with human evolution and variation. Linguistic anthropology focuses on language, its history, and its evolution as a way to understand humans and their culture. Sociocultural anthropology is concerned with analyzing behaviors and describing contemporary and historical cultures. Applied anthropologists employ their subdisciplinary skills outside college and university settings.

Anthropology at KU

Dr. Radovanovic and students working with collections in the archive.

Dr. Radovanovic and students working
with collections in the archive.

The Department of Anthropology at The University of Kansas maintains a commitment to a holistic and integrative approach to studying human beings See our statement on human remains research here.  In insisting that its students acquire a solid grounding in the evolution and preservation of human biological and cultural diversity, it provides them with the broad training required to understand human interactions and human affairs in a world where long-standing boundary markers between countries, cultures, and races have been negated, blurred, or redefined.