Welcome to the website of Tulane's Anthropology Department! The history of anthropology at Tulane goes back to 1924, when the Department of Middle American Research (now the Middle American Research Institute) was founded. The first anthropology courses were offered in 1938-1939. By 1947, anthropologists were teaching courses in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. A separate Department of Anthropology was established in 1967. The Department has since grown to include 20 faculty, 100 to 150 undergraduate anthropology majors, and approximately 60 graduate students.
The Department has four-field programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The faculty includes eight cultural anthropologists, five archaeologists, three biological anthropologists, and three linguists. The teaching and research interests of the faculty have global reach: North America (the Gulf South and the southeastern United States), Mesoamerica and Central America (Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, and Costa Rica), the Caribbeans (Cuba), South America (Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru), Africa (Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, and South Africa), Europe (France and Portugal), and Asia (China and Vietnam).
As anthropologists, we respectfully acknowledge that Tulane and New Orleans sit on unceded Chitimacha lands. Known in Choctaw and Mobilian Jargon as Bulbancha “Place of Many Tongues”, this raised land between the Mississippi and Bayuk Chopik (Bayou Saint John) has long been a meeting place for over 40 Indigenous groups. Their cultures and knowledges, as well as those of other Indigenous peoples of the Americas, continue to inform and enrich our lives and our studies.
The mission of the Department of Anthropology is to provide undergraduate and graduate instruction in anthropology, and to produce innovative research and scholarship. Key to our research and teaching mission is maintaining integration and balance among anthropology's four fields: biological, cultural, and linguistic anthropology, and archaeology. Through research and publication, and the teaching and mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students, we strive to advance and disseminate knowledge of human and nonhuman primate origins and behavior, major developments in human prehistory, mechanisms of cultural change, human adaptation to diverse environments, and an understanding and appreciation of modern cultural, biological, and linguistic diversity.