Welcome to the Department of Anthropology at Appalachian State University! We are one of the fastest growing departments at ASU with nearly 200 majors. Today, we are the largest undergraduate-only anthropology program in the state of 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 sub-fields of anthropology through tailored concentrations of study. We also have partnerships with other departments on campus (Global Studies, Sustainable Development [which started in the Department of Anthropology], Sociology, Geology, and Biology). 


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. [ Welcome from the Chair ] [ Why study anthropology? ]


Dr. Patricia Beaver presented new oral history book "Voices from the Headwaters" for Scholars Bookshop
Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 8:25am

The Scholars Bookshop in the University Bookstore at Appalachian State University hosted Patricia D. Beaver and Sandra L. Ballard Wednesday, April 9, at 3:30 p.m. for a discussion and signing of their book “Voices From the Headwaters: Stories From Meat Camp, Tamarack (Pottertown) & Sutherland, North Carolina.”

Student scholarship winners and Outstanding Senior for 2013-2014 announced
Sunday, April 6, 2014 - 4:00pm

Congratulations to this year's student awardees: Elaine Blevins, Dr. L. Jill Loucks Outstanding Senior; Kelsey Rothenberg, Dr. L. Jill Loucks Memorial Scholar; Savannah Carter, Stephen Richard Weller Memorial Scholar. 

Dr. Dana Powell helps to facilitate interdisciplinary conference at Duke University
Thursday, April 3, 2014 - 7:03am

Dr. Dana Powell helped facilitate "Infrastructural Worlds," an interdisciplinary conference of faculty and graduate students hosted by Duke University Department of Cultural Anthropology on March 28-29, 2014. 

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Alumni spotlights

Jamie Rhoads ('03) helps with development initiatives in Haiti

James Rhoads (2003) has been working in Haiti since he graduated from Appalachian.

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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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