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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

Faculty Research: Some of the recent work by Ken Nystrom is featured in this blog post (

It highlights his research on structural violence: harm experienced by certain groups stemming from fundamental social inequalities. Nystrom discusses how the passage of anatomy laws during the 19th century that legalized the dissection of unclaimed bodies from poorhouses reflects an underlying social inequality. By examining skeletal remains of poeole buried in poorhouse cemeteries that exhibited evidence of dissection, Nystrom demonstrates how this inequality actually manifested.

Faculty Research: Joseph Diamond's field school project on Huguenot Street was recently featured on SUNY New Paltz News.

The field school has dug at this site for twenty years, shedding light on both the prehistoric and historic occupation of the area, and is an excellent example of the close connection our department and university has with the local community. You can read the article here ( … new-paltz/) and get more information on the fieldschool at this site (

Alumni Update: Hannah Rose Van Wely (double major in Anthropology and Art History, 2009)

Hannah Rose Van Wely has been accepted at and has received two fellowships to attend the University of Oxford as a DPhil student in the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography. The fellowships are the Rausing Studentship in association with Linacre College, and a bursary from the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography. Her area of interest is in material culture studies and in particular Pacific featherwork. Van Wely graduated summa cum laude, with honors in both majors)


Anthropology Alumni Update: Jeremy Borrelli (Class of 2012)

Jeremy Borrelli, a graduate student in Maritime Studies Program at East Caroline University, was recently featured in the College of Liberal Arts and Science Newsletter. You can read about Jeremy's background and current research at this site: ( … hropology/)

Anthropology Alumni Update: Jacqueline Masseo (Class of 2012)

"While attending New York University's Museum Studies program I was taught a combination of museum theory and applied practice. I concentrated on Museum Education where I chose specialized courses that focused on both anthropological museums and historic houses. The Museum Studies program at NYU has left me with a well-rounded education and first hand approach in which I learned about Museum Management, Exhibition Design, and Collections care. I completed my Master's Thesis on the use of authenticity within historic house museums entitled, Historic House Museums: Patriotism and Preservation in the Age of Industrialization. In the Spring of 2015 I began working in the Education Department at the National September 11th Memorial Museum" (

Tisa Loewen

Tisa Loewen

Anthropology Alumni Update: Tisa Loewen
Tisa Loewen (Class of 2015, pictured here excavating on Huguenot Street) has been accepted into the Master of Arts program in Anthropology in the Human Skeletal Biology track at New York University.

Anthropology Alumni Update: Emily Brackett
Emily Brackett (Class of 2014) was accepted into the forensic anthropology program at the University of Montana

Anthropology Alumni Update: Brenna McCaffrey
Brenna McCaffrey (Class of 2014) was accepted into the PhD Program in the Department of Anthropology at CUNY/Graduate Center. Her acceptance comes with five years of full funding, and she will be studying in one of the most prestigious, cosmopolitan graduate programs in the country. She begins her studies this fall.

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.