Interested in how cultural diversity shapes human experience, past and present? Curious about what connects our lives with those of others around the globe? Colby’s anthropology professors are eager to explore these topics with you.

Anthropology students explore the great diversity of human social and cultural experience, complex social identities, and patterns of globalization, all of which are fundamental to understanding the workings of the world. Whether your interest is in local communities or global connections, anthropology offers tools for understanding how people everywhere both shape and are shaped by the dynamism of cross-cultural intersections, history, and meaning.

At Colby, we focus on cultural anthropology. Course topics range from the study of geographic regions to the analysis of global issues that affect and connect people to their livelihoods. Graduates of the program have a sophisticated understanding of complex cultural differences and the processes at work in today’s global economy. They are holistic thinkers and skilled communicators who can analyze social transformations and facilitate conversations between societies and across lines of class and ethnic diversity.

Mission Statement

Anthropology pursues empirically-grounded, critical analysis in order to understand cultural systems, illuminate social worlds, and lovingly question how these shape and are shaped by lived experience. As such, anthropology is a critique for the purpose of building knowledge, enacting kindness, pursuing mutuality, stretching our imaginations, and creating a better future.

As scholars and teachers of anthropology, we are dedicated to exploring the scope of human diversity, examining the processes that shape contemporary human societies, and reflecting self-critically on taken-for-granted assumptions. We expose the foundations of structural inequality, and we document and analyze the dangers posed by inflammatory rhetoric in mobilizing violence. We stand with, and in some cases as, people of color, Muslims, Jews, immigrants, asylum-seekers, refugees, members of the LGBTQI communities and with women and girls across the spectrum and with all those in favor of equality and social justice. We are committed to bringing all our resources to analyze the current moment and its historicity, as well as working in solidarity with our colleagues and students who confront inequities in everyday life. Striving toward anti-racist and decolonizing pedagogies in the classroom and in our daily practice, we seek to promote an inclusive and just community.

Read the Anthropology Department handbook.