Areas of Specializations
Global development and sustainability are keywords that have defined--and continue to define-- important areas of scholarship and practice in anthropology. This research and teaching cluster brings together faculty members from different theoretical, topical, and regional specializations around common concerns of inequality, poverty, gender inequity, political marginalization, food insecurity, and/or environmental/climate variability and change. Current topics in this theme include sustainable food systems, governance and development, land rights, globalization, conflict and conflict resolution, and the effects of neoliberal policies, as well as the intersection among two or more of these. Faculty and students with interests in this cluster can draw on several resources on campus, including the Masters in Development Practice (MDP), Global Development Studies Program, African American Studies, Global Health Institute (GHI), Institute for Developing Nations (IDN), Halle Institute, and several area studies programs such as the Institute of African Studies (IAS) and the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program.Peggy Barlett
Humans are suspended in webs of meaning they themselves have spun; we call these webs “cultures”. Cultures are grounded in sets of ideas, beliefs, and commitments concerning the meaning, value, and purpose of existence and about the sort of cosmos we inhabit. Cultural anthropology tries to describe and understand these systems of meaning, represented in rituals, myths, religions,, arts, and other forms of expression that each culture produced. We study how religion both enables social cohesion while also being deeply involved in social conflict, and how ritual behavior is central to healing and coping with the inevitability of disease and death. We consider how religion is performed, whether in everyday life or in in more formal rituals and ceremonies, and how culture represents, reveals, and enacts those basic concepts and conflicts that make us who we are, both in our own culture and in the many other cultures around the world.
Faculty in this specialization investigate the evolution of human and non-human primate brains and behaviors, as well as the ultimate and proximate bases of human and non-human primate behavior. Faculty draw on modern neuroimaging, behavioral, and endocrinological methods to explore the proximate basis of language (Stout, Rilling), technology (Stout), cooperation (Jaeggi, Rilling), parental caregiving (Konner, Rilling) and behavioral sex/gender differences (Konner). Faculty also rely heavily on a comparative approach to identify conserved and derived aspects of human brain and behavior.
Faculty in this specialization use methods and theory from ecology and evolution to study the behavior and adaptations of primates and humans, past and present, in their environmental context. This includes field studies on primate and human behavioral ecology (Jaeggi, Konner), describing genetic and cultural adaptations, population history, and ecological context of past human populations through the use of ancient DNA and archeology (Lindo, Thompson, Stout), as well as using the comparative method to identify shared and unique traits of humans and our closest living relatives, as in the realm of neuroanatomy and brain function (Rilling, Stout) or social behavior (Jaeggi). Faculty also apply evolutionary theory and logic to better understand population health and wellbeing. By covering a wide range of study populations and methods, unified by evolutionary theory, faculty in this specialization provide a highly comprehensive approach to evolutionary anthropology.
Archaeology is the study of the human past through material culture - the physical objects that ancient people and their pre-human ancestors left behind. Archaeology at Emory Anthropology is distinguished by its close integration with biology and evolutionary theory. Faculty focus on the material culture record of human origins, the co-evolution of human biology and behavior, and the investigation of deep-time records of our past. Humans have used material culture to solve problems for more than two million years, starting most noticeably with the first stone tools. At Emory, the relationship between stone tool use and important aspects of our biology - such as brain organization and social learning - are examined using a battery of novel approaches that include experimental artifact production and brain imaging (Stout Paleolithic Technology Lab). The influence of past environments and human subsistence behavior form the basis of research at the Osteoarchaeology Lab (Thompson). The Ancient DNA lab (Lindo) examines the relationships of past people to one another and to modern groups as they themselves underwent a number of recent adaptive processes.
Faculty in this specialization explore a range of topics and approaches relating to media, communication, and performance. These include a focus on issues of power, epistemology, representation, resistance, social justice, social movements, lived experience, and engaged & public anthropology. Faculty do research and train students in a variety of media and modalities, including digital and deep mapping, experimental ethnography, ethnographic theater, ethnographic film, visual anthropology, sonic & sensuous ethnography, and installations. We also communicate in newspapers, magazines, on radio, and in podcasts, to inform a wider public about all aspects of anthropology and how our field can help us understand ourselves and each other, making better policy choices as a result.Anna Grimshaw
Faculty in this specialization explore Race, Difference, and Social Inequality from sociocultural and biological perspectives. Critical understandings of race and difference — from both cultural and biological perspectives — have been important to anthropology from virtually its origin as an academic and professional field. They continue to be vital today. Research foci address a wide range of issues in this regard, including issues of power, representation, population genetics, the political economy of racism, diaspora, racial justice, genomics, indigeneity, ally-ship, educational inequality, social movements, embodiment, and engaged & public anthropology. Faculty in our department do research and train students in a variety of approaches, including ethnography, digital and deep mapping, visual anthropology, ethnographic theater, and epidemiology.
Social, cultural, and politicoeconomic dimensions of gender and sexuality – and their intersection – have been central to Anthropology now for almost half a century, including in relation to inequalities of race, class, nationality, religion, and a host of other factors. Informed by the incisive contributions of critical and queer theories as well as by a range of received feminist approaches, the study of gender and sexuality is central to the concerns and scholarship of faculty in the Department of Anthropology at Emory. We bring these conceptual and empirical perspectives on gender and sexuality to bear on our fieldwork and ethnography as well as on our theorizations of domination and subordination, resilience and resistance, and formations of institutional and organizational control, including in the United States and across borders transnationally.