With 17 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? ]


Dr. Alice P. Wright's new book reviewed in The Columbus Dispatch

Dr. Alice P. Wright's new book reviewed in The Columbus Dispatch...

Anthropology alumnus, Dr. Christopher Moore ('97), has published a new article in the journal Nature

Dr. Christopher Moore ('97) has published a new paper on the Younger Dryas climate event that took place 12,800 years ago. The paper can be found...

Dr. Dana E. Powell receives project development grant from the ACLS

Dr. Dana E. Powell has received a $5,000 Project Development Grant from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). Applicants from teachin...

Dr. Christina Verano Sornito named Fulbright Scholar for 2020

Dr. Christina Verano Sornito, assistant professor in Appalachian State University’s Department of Anthropology, has been awarded a 2019–20 re...

Dr. Dana E. Powell's Spring 2018 Honors College course featured on USC/Shoah Foundation website

Dr. Dana E. Powell's Spring 2018 Honors College course, "Native American/Indigenous Studies," has been featured on the USC/Shoah Foundation's website ...

Dr. Thomas R. Whyte featured in Appalachian Today for toad research

Dr. Tom Whyte likes to dig in the dirt — and solve old mysteries while he’s at it. As a professor in Appalachian’s Department of Anthropolo...

Upcoming Events

Alumni spotlights

  • Caroline Noel ('13) wins NSF Fellowship for study at the University of Virginia

    Appalachian State University alumnae, Caroline Noel ’13 has been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program to continue her doctorate studies of sociology-cultural anthropology at the University of Virginia (UVA), where she plans to research how the Ainu of Japan are using digital media spaces to assert identity and counter dominant narratives of Japanese history. Noel, from Eden, N.C., holds a B.A. in Anthropology and a B.A. in English with a concentration in film studies.

Faculty spotlights

Student spotlights

  • Patrick James, Sociocultural Anthropology major

    As a senior studying Sociocultural Anthropology, Patrick James has realized over the course of his undergraduate studies that he wants his life’s work to be “meaningful.” For Patrick, studying anthropology has been a medium of growth and possibility, specifically through the questions anthropology makes possible to ask.

    “I kind of attached to this question of ‘what is meaningful?’ It is kind of the view of a lot of the work that I am interested in, [as well as] the theoretical areas that [this] question pushes me towards.”