With 13 tenure-track 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. Cameron Gokee awarded NSF grant to conduct research in Bandafassi

Dr. Cameron Gokee awarded NSF grant to conduct archaeological research in Bandafassi — a West African ‘shatter zone’Edited by Jessica Stump...

Dr. Susan Lappan featured in UNC System release on Fulbright awards

Dr. Susan Lappan spent much of last year in Malaysia. In the mornings, the gibbons—small Asian apes hidden in the treetops—would serenade her with...

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 Fellow...

Dr. Timothy J. Smith receives UNC Board of Governors Campus Excellence in Teaching Award

Dr. Timothy J. Smith has received one of the 2019-2020 UNC Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Awards. This is the second of these awards for th...

Anthropology major, Callie Gunzenhauser, writes from Bulgaria

Anthropology major, Callie Gunzenhauser, recently reported back on her experience studying abroad at American University in Bulgaria. Working with the...

Dr. Dana E. Powell awarded Cornell University SOH Fellowship

Dr. Dana E. Powell has been selected for a Cornell University Society for the Humanities (SOH) Fellowship for the 2019–20 academic year [r...

Upcoming Events

Featured Stories

Alumni spotlights

Faculty spotlights

  • Dr. Gregory Reck leaves a legacy of inspired teaching

    After forty-six years, Dr. Gregory Reck is retiring from his job as a professor for Appalachian State’s Department of Anthropology.  He started his career at Appalachian in 1972. Dr. Reck came to Appalachian after teaching at the District of Columbia Teachers College and the University of Maryland. He helped form the Department of Anthropology and served as the first chair of the Department.

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.”