Anthropology Mission

Anthropology confronts the challenges of understanding cultural and biological variation in time and space. It does this via a holistic approach that draws from and contributes to a variety of knowledge traditions. The field is comprised of four major subfields: socio-cultural anthropology, anthropological archaeology, biological (or physical) anthropology, and linguistic anthropology. A fifth subfield that is gaining importance in the discipline is applied or action anthropology. The anthropology curriculum at IWU seeks to introduce students to each of these subfields and the intersecting ways in which they enhance our understanding of the human condition. Students in our program gain appreciation for the history of anthropology and its development over time. They study the theorists whose ideas have shaped the discipline as well as those whose methods have changed the way that professional anthropologists conduct research. Students grapple with the ethical issues surrounding the study of indigenous and/or vulnerable peoples and learn to evaluate patterns of social behavior within local and global contexts. The anthropology curriculum offers courses that challenge students to employ anthropological theories and methodologies in their own ethnographic research, providing greater insight into the work of professional anthropologists. The anthropology program fosters a skill set that prepares students for a range of post-graduation learning and career paths.