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Welcome to the Anthropology Department!

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About Us

Who are we? Where did we come from? Where are we going? Anthropology--the study of human diversity across geographic space and evolutionary time--takes on these far-reaching questions in four sub-fields: Archaeology investigates the behaviors and cultural patterns of past human societies through examination of material artifacts. Biological anthropology considers the biological diversity and evolution of humans and our closet primate relatives. Cultural anthropology considers social and cultural diversity among living populations. Linguistic anthropology studies social and cultural dimensions of language, as well as its origins and features. From these diverse perspectives, anthropologists study such wide-ranging topics as human evolution, culture change, health, nutrition and disease, personality, family and marriage, politics, gender, and sexuality. Training in the concepts and methods of anthropology prepares students to make sense of the multi-cultural, globalized world in which we live.

What can I do with my anthropology degree?

A background in anthropology is a valuable asset in today’s job market. The skills that you learn as a major are applicable to a wide range of academic and professional careers. Many of our majors have continued on to graduate studies at New York University, University of Chicago, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, University of Connecticut, and Boston University. Our students have also used their anthropological training to enter fields such as business, law, government, education, international relations, public health, and social and environmental activism.

How to Contact the Department:

Department of Anthropology
SUNY New Paltz
600 Hawk Drive SCB 107C
New Paltz, NY 12561-2443
Phone: (845) 257-2990
Fax: (845) 257-2984

Department Chair: Kenneth Nystrom,
Department Secretary: Susan Buckbee,

Anthropology News

Anthropology Alumni Update: Aaron Leo (Anthropology Major, 2009), currently working on his PhD at the University of Albany, wrote an article for a recent issue of Anthropology News (published by the American Anthropology Association) in which he discusses some of his experiences interning with Workers United. You can read the full article at this link:

FACULTY RESEARCH: Ben Junge recently publishing some of his research in a special issue of the Latin American Research Review. Professor Junge had several roles including (1) co-editor; (2) co-author of the introductory essay ("Lived Religion and Lived Citizenship in Latin America’s Zones of Crisis: Introduction”); and then finally (3) he was the author on original research article (““The Energy of Others”: Narratives of Envy and Purification among Former Grassroots Community Leaders in Porto Alegre, Brazil”).

Brenna and Carla

Brenna McCaffrey (class of 2014, double Anthropology/Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies major) gave an oral presentation based on original research in November at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association in Washington, D.C. In her talk, she presented ethnographic research conducted with activists affiliated with a reproductive health clinic in the mid-Hudson Valley, focusing on how suggestions for activism coming from feminist scholarship are integrated into activist practice and how activists working in abortion care and clinic defense struggle with representing the realities of their work while reflecting the acceptable discourses of mainstream feminist activism. Among her major findings was that as activists grapple with controversial topics such as fetal life, ethics, and repeat abortion patients, their thinking is influenced by norms of “acceptable discourse” within the public face of activism. While at the conference, Brenna also received the 2014 Sylvia Forman Prize for an undergraduate essay from the Association for Feminist Anthropology.