Anthropology studies humankind from a comparative perspective that
emphasizes the diversity of human behavior and the importance of
culture in explaining that diversity.
While the discipline encompasses
the biological nature of our species and the material aspects of human
adaptation, it takes as fundamental the idea that we respond to nature
and natural forces in large part through culture. Anthropology, then,
is the study of human beings as cultural animals. Sociocultural
anthropology draws its data from the direct study of contemporary
peoples living in a wide variety of circumstances, from peasant
villagers and tropical forest hunters and gatherers to urban
populations in modern societies, as well as from the history and
prehistory of those peoples.
The Anthropology Program at MIT offers students a broad exposure to
the discipline as well as an anthropological perspective on problems
and issues relevant to other fields in the humanities, social sciences,
and engineering. It also provides more intensive introduction to areas
of faculty specialization, which include social and political
organization, economics and human ecology, religion and symbolism, and
the anthropology of medicine and scientific research. Geographical
specializations include cultures of Latin America, the Middle East, and
the United States.
The anthropology curriculum is divided into six groups that show the
breadth of the field, with particular emphases: introductory, social
anthropology, technology in cultural context, and areal and historical
studies. Special topics in anthropology and advanced graduate subjects
are also offered.
MIT Anthropology students learn about the concept of culture, the
nature of anthropological fieldwork, and the connections between
anthropology and the other social sciences. They study the various
theories that attempt to explain human behavior as well as the range of
methods anthropologists use to analyze data. Students can focus on
geographical areas, and on issues like neocolonialism, gender studies,
religion and symbolism, or comparative political organization.
Department of Anthropology links
Visit the MIT Department of Anthropology home page at:
Review the MIT Department of Anthropology curriculum at: