We have one of the fastest growing departments with nearly 200 majors and the largest undergraduate-only anthropology program in North Carolina and the third largest program overall (behind UNC Chapel Hill and Duke University). We offer both B.S. and B.A. degrees in several fields of anthropology. Despite the small number of faculty (10 tenure-track faculty [3 full professors, 2 associate professors, 5 assistant professors], 1 visiting assistant professor and 1 senior lecturer), the Department ranks #4 in the College of Arts & Sciences for amount of degrees produced and #4 for amount of majors per tenure line faculty. 

Moreover, in addition to excellence in teaching, we maintain one of the highest standards of research productivity in the College. Our faculty members have been awarded 5 of the scholar of the year awards (junior and senior levels) given by the College of Arts & Sciences in the past 19 years (half of our tenure-line faculty members teaching today have won the college scholar of the year award at either the junior or senior levels). 


The Department of Anthropology is committed to a comparative and holistic approach to the study of the human experience. The anthropological perspective provides a broad understanding of the origins as well as the meaning of physical and cultural diversity in the world - past, present, and future. As such, the program in anthropology offers the opportunity for understanding world affairs and problems within the total context of the human experience and for constructing solutions to world problems which are firmly grounded in that context. Cultural anthropologists study people and their cultural practices and beliefs both within and outside of the United States as well as the topics of identity, power, inequality, and social praxis. Archaeologists study the material culture of past peoples in order to reconstruct their cultures, traditions, and practices in order to understand both what came before and how this may help us understand the present. Biological anthropologists study primate evolution and behavioral ecology, human biological variation, biocultural adaptations, bioarchaeology, and human paleontology. Together, we strive to understand both past and present variation in human societies. [ Why study anthropology? ]


Dr. Gregory R. Reck gives lectures in China as part of cultural exchange program
Thursday, August 20, 2015 - 5:51pm

Dr. Gregory Reck travelled to China this past May as part of a U.S.-China exchange program. During American Cultural Week, he gave lectures on the cultural constructions of human nature and the effects of global capital on climate change at Northeastern University in Shenyan, Shanghai University, Shanghai University of Science and Technology ,and Beijing International Studies University.

Dr. Cheryl P. Claassen interviewed on Revolution Radio about her latest book
Wednesday, August 19, 2015 - 12:41pm

In this two hour interview on Revolution Radio's Open Curtain broadcast, Dr. Cheryl P. Claassen talks about her lastest book.

Department of Anthropology is host to new General Education Theme, "Las Américas"
Friday, August 7, 2015 - 3:59pm

The Department of Anthropology is proud to be the host department of the new General Education Theme, "Las Américas," which brings together an interdisplinary group of teacher-scholars from across the University.

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Alumni spotlights

Dr. Melissa Shrift, Associate Professor of Anthropology, East Tennessee State University

After graduating from Appalachian with a B.A. in anthropology, she pursued graduate work in cultural anthropology at the University of Hawaii-Manoa. She returned to China to conduct her doctoral research on Chairman Mao icons and Chinese popular culture.

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Faculty spotlights

Dr. Cheryl Claassen, Professor of Anthropology

"[In the spring of 2010, I was] on leave [and had] several tasks to complete. One was to write a paper for publication on a ritual rock shelter in eastern Kentucky, a women's retreat/seclusion place for menstruation, birthing and initiation. I also [spent the semester studying] Aztec beliefs, and pilgrimages. Some of you who have had classes with me in the past 4 years may understand where all of this is coming from but others of you may be baffled."

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