With 14 full-time faculty members and nearly 200 majors, we are the largest undergraduate-only anthropology department in the United States. 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? ]

A Collective Commitment to Transformative Justice, Inclusion and Equality (.pdf) 

Department of Anthropology Statement of Solidarity 


The Department welcomes new faculty for 2020-2021 academic year

The Department is pleased to announce that three new faculty have joined us for the 2020-2021 academic year. To read more about their research and tea...

Dr. Thomas Whyte publishes new book on Boone's history before 1769

Dr. Thomas Whyte, Professor of Anthropology, has just published a new book on the history of Boone and Northwestern North Carolina, Boone Before Boone...

Dr. Gwendolyn Robbins Schug named Co-Editor-in-Chief of Bioarchaeology International

Dr. Gwendolyn Robbins Schug named Co-Editor-in-Chief of Bioarchaeology Internationalhttps://floridapress.blog/2020/07/09/bioarchaeology-international-...

Dr. Susan E. Keefe publishes new book on Black Appalachian oral histories

Dr. Susan E. Keefe, Professor Emerita of Anthropology, has published a new edited book on Black Appalachian oral histories, Junaluska: Oral Histories ...

Department of Anthropology Statement of Solidarity

We, the faculty of the Department of Anthropology at Appalachian State University stand with our Black students, colleagues, and community members in ...

Five anthropology majors successfully defend honors theses

Five anthropology majors successfully defended honors theses this academic year to earn Departmentental Honors and/or graduate from the Honors College...

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Featured Stories

Alumni spotlights

  • Kelsey Rothenberg ('15), Physician Assistant student

    I graduated from Appalachian State University with my anthropology degree in May 2015. As I entered my first undergraduate year, I knew my ultimate career goal would involve healthcare and medicine. I had always assumed that a career in health care would automatically enable me to achieve my aspiration to help better the lives of underserved members in my community. However, as I began interacting with more and more individuals of different backgrounds, it became clear that serving people in a meaningful way is far more complex than I had previously understood.

Faculty spotlights

  • Dr. Claassen in the field

    Dr. Cheryl Claassen, Anthropological Archaeologist

    "[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."

Student spotlights

  • Makenzie Cash, Biological Anthropology major

    Makenzie Cash is a third-year Biological Anthropology student and notably, a primatology enthusiast. However, she first came into interest with non-human primates by thinking about what it means to be a human. After encountering situations of interpersonal violence and sexual assault, Makenzie began to inquire about human experience and what defines it, primarily because of the dehumanizing effects that trauma can have. This lead to her first interest in anthropology to be forensic anthropology, so she began taking classes in Biological Anthropology.