We have one of the fastest growing departments with nearly 150 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. The Department has 11 full time tenure-track faculty (3 tenured full professors, 2 tenured associate professors, 6 untenured assistant professors) and 2 lecturers. Despite the small number of faculty, the Department ranks #4 in the College of Arts & Sciences for the amount of degrees produced and #4 for amount of majors relative to the number of tenure line faculty. 

We maintain rigorous standards in the classroom and many of our students continue on to graduate school, postgraduate internships, and land jobs upon graduation using ideas that were sparked at Appalachian State. Our teachers aspire to provide the highest quality of education that extends beyond the classroom into the field (both domestically and internationally) through our numerous research possibilities for students. Over the years, four of our faculty have been inducted into the College of Arts & Sciences Academy of Outstanding Teachers. 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. FAST FACTS ABOUT THE DEPARTMENT

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 Reck and colleague Dr. Dinesh Paudel (Sustainable Development) publish report on Nepal
Wednesday, September 28, 2016 - 3:06pm

Dr. Gregory Reck of the Department of Anthropology and his colleague Dr. Dinesh Paudel (Department of Sustainable Development) have published a report in Anthropology News on their research and experiences in post-earthquake Nepal.

Dr. Gregory Reck receives AAUP Chapter's Academic Freedom Award
Tuesday, September 20, 2016 - 5:02pm

The AAUP Chapter of Appalachian State University singled out Gregory Reck’s career-long defense of academic freedom and shared governance, his support for colleagues and his service. The award recognizes a member of the university community whose outstanding service has enriched the university by defending, supporting and working to advance academic freedom and faculty governance across the campus.

Dr. Cheryl P. Claassen publishes new book on landscape, gender, and colonial encounters
Saturday, July 23, 2016 - 3:26pm

Dr. Cheryl P. Claassen has published a new book, Native American Landscapes: An Engendered Perspective (University of Tennessee Press 2016). This collection of essays focuses on what she terms the “multi-vocal” landscape—the idea that different groups and genders look upon the same natural features but perceive different meanings and potential in what they are seeing.

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Alumni spotlights

Caroline Federal, Program Coordinator at the Clinton Global Initiative

As a student entering Appalachian State University, Caroline Federal did not expect that she would one day be working for a former president of the United States.

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Faculty spotlights

Dr. Thomas R. Whyte, Professor of Anthropology

Tom Whyte’s recent research includes southern Appalachian prehistoric archaeology (click here for his article discussing Cherokee origins), zooarchaeology, and experimental archaeology. He is currently editing a volume on southern Appalachian archaeology that is an outgrowth of a conference held at ASU in October 2009. He and colleague Larry Kimball have been presenting papers and publishing on their collaborative research at the Middle Woodland period Biltmore Mound site in Asheville, North Carolina.

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Goto the Department of Anthropology Facebook site.

Physical Location

The Department of Anthropology is located in Anne Belk Hall. The administrative office is located in Room 342 and all of the faculty offices, classrooms, and labs are located on the 3rd floor.

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