Anthropologists investigate meaning and power through field-based research in a variety of global settings. Anthropology offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of cultural variation with particular attention to race, gender, ethnicity, and social change. At Bates the program emphasizes archeological and sociocultural perspectives.

Anthropology attempts to make sense of the patterns and practices of everyday life through nonethnocentric analysis and interpretation. Practitioners of anthropology engage in innovative and ethically-grounded research in order to promote cross-cultural understanding, address social problems, and advance theory.

Students of anthropology are especially attuned to how meaning and power are created and contested in everyday life. Our anthropology program emphasizes the importance of global study while preparing students to critically examine their own cultures. Combined with opportunities to study abroad and enroll in community-engaged courses, Bates anthropology fosters students’ abilities to function effectively in new settings and to appreciate the value of cultural diversity. Graduates are creative and effective oral, visual, and written communicators, are able to connect theory and practice, and are skilled observers of social life.

Some recent graduates have pursued careers in public health and medicine, community organizing, journalism, environmental law, international development, teaching, and museum work; some have gone on to graduate work in anthropology and archeology. Anthropology 101 is designed as an introduction to the discipline of anthropology and as preparation for more advanced courses. Other 100- and 200-level courses also admit first-year students, but more closely reflect a specific field within anthropology. The 300- and 400-level courses are open to all upper-class students, but the latter are especially designed for majors.