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About the Department of Anthropology

In the Department of Anthropology, we go beyond other disciplines that ask what it is to be human. We attack this critical question holistically, comprehending the human condition from an interconnected perspective of biology, behavior and society, and the legacies and distant echoes of each.

We synthesize the knowledge and approaches from the social sciences, natural sciences and the humanities to study humankind—from its earliest evolutionary ancestor to its contemporary expressions and challenges. We strengthen our approach by combining the traditional sub-disciplines of archaeology, biological and cultural anthropology. Students and faculty bring this integrated perspective to interactions and collaborations with others in departments and programs in each of the Colleges across the University.

We offer BA, BS, and MA degrees, with specialized masters programs in Ethnic Studies, Environmental Studies, Great Plains Studies, Professional Archaeology and Women and Gender's Studies. Many graduate students choose to complete a certificate in Digital Humanities.

Through coursework, laboratory and field work, we train students to identify, understand and address problems, with inter-meshed social, biological, material, and environmental dimensions. Courses in anthropology acquaint students with the range of human behavior as explored within each of the sub-disciplines within Anthropology—archaeology, biological anthropology, and cultural anthropology. Methodological courses outfit students with valuable analytic and research skills in qualitative, quantitative and GIS analysis as well as in content-appropriate analytic protocols, as for the analysis of archaeological and ethnographic materials.

We value the synergy that comes from working between the sub-disciplines of anthropology. This synergy is realized in our integrated approach to Digital Cultural Heritage, which is the application of information technologies to advance research in the broadly construed and highly interdisciplinary area of culture heritage. Our faculty has special expertise in the development, application, and distribution of content and technologies in Digital Cultural Heritage. Assistant Professors Heitman and Richards-Rissetto participate in the Digital Humanities graduate certificate program and they and other Anthropology faculty immerse students in the theoretical, methodological, practical, and ethical aspects of Digital Cultural Heritage. Students and faculty are using this expertise as part of several current collaborative research projects, including: constructing archives with legacy data that support Puebloan indigenous communities in the American Southwest; researching the organization and growth of Mayan cities of Honduras through 4D GIS; creating an online archive of 3D ceramic forms for the Byzantine deposits from Nemea Valley (Greece); investigating health in medieval France; examining the role of material culture in building community by Great Plains homesteaders; gaining evolutionary insights into kinship using longitudinal data from indigenous Venezuelan populations; and, exploring the intersection of gender and class in contemporary Plains society.

Our Department offers a field school in archaeology annually and we help students identify internship opportunities in the city of Lincoln, the state of Nebraska, and elsewhere. Our students have interned at the Smithsonian and at museums and national agencies throughout the United States. In Lincoln, students have completed internships with the Asian Community and Cultural Center, the Indian Center, the National Park Service Midwest Archeological Center (one of two major NPS research laboratories), the Nebraska State Historical Society, and the People’s City Mission, to name just a few.

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