Anthropology crosses boundaries between the humanities and the sciences to study people past and present.

Some anthropologists study human origins. Others study the changing societies, cultures, and movements of our contemporary world. All anthropologists seek a deeper understanding of what differentiates human beings and what also brings us together.

Saint Procession

Why Study Anthropology?

Do you want to be aware of our place in nature—who we are, where we come from, and how we understand the diversities as well as the similarities in being humans? Anthropology explores what it is to be human, in all its facets.

A saint procession in Nebaj, Guatemala, during the 1980s. Photo by David Stoll.

Our Courses

Anthropologists create a global picture of the human experience and use that picture to solve contemporary problems. To create that picture, we explore several subfields of anthropology, including archaeology, biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and medical anthropology.

Archaeologists explore history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artifacts and other material remains.

Biological anthropologists study evolution, using evidence from the fossil record, genetics, and primate behavior to explore human origins as well as human diversity.

Cultural anthropologists examine contemporary or recent societies, studying not only cultural diversity but also a host of social issues, from the dynamics of power and inequality to the ways in which culture shapes economic, political, and legal systems.

Linguistic anthropologists study the characteristics of human language and question how language shapes, and is shaped by, social interactions.

Medical anthropologists consider how people view disease and illness in different parts of the world and explore how global, historical, and political factors influence those views.

Our courses build bridges between anthropology and other disciplines—particularly African studies, Black studies, economics, education studies, environmental studies, food studies, global health, international and global studies, linguistics, and sociology.

Some courses consider the relationship between education, social policy, and urbanization. Others explore the causes, dynamics, and consequences of global migration. Our curriculum appeals to variety of students, particularly those pursuing careers in education, medicine, and the nonprofit sector, as well as students pursuing careers in business and politics.  

Together, our classes “make the strange familiar and the familiar strange.” They celebrate the unity and diversity of the human experience.

Meron Benti

Celebrating Difference

Anthropologists study societies, cultures, and language across time and space. We are concerned with questions of social, cultural, and biological diversity; to that end, we celebrate differences while exploring issues of power, identity, and inequality.

Meron Benti ’19, photo by Brett Simison

See related Middlebury Magazine article

Our Faculty

The department consists of faculty specializing in in different geographic areas and varying fields. All of our faculty have engaged in original field research, with years (if not decades) of experience working in places both strange and familiar. 

Faculty Expertise

Senior Projects

Although we do not require fieldwork for the major, many undergraduates seek those experiences. Through internships, research assistantships, study abroad, and senior projects, we encourage students to explore their disciplinary interests outside the classroom. 

Senior Work

Our Alumni

Anthropology majors have pursued a breadth of vocations, with a strong commonality being their abilities to think analytically about social and cultural forces and to experience a heightened sensitivity to cultural differences rooted in race, class, gender, and ethnicity. 

Alumni Highlights


  • Dan Krugman ‘21 doing research at the Mirieyi Refugee Settlement in Adjumani province.

    Before he graduated, Daniel Krugman ’21 researched refugees in Uganda. He is now a student at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

  • Welcome to The Body Online

    Visit the Body Online, a critical digital studies lab dedicated to student learning and engagement of ethnographic theory, method, and design online. 

  • World-Making Stories Book

    Our faculty publish across a range of topics and regions. Here is an example from one of our authors: a collection of Maidu creation stories edited by Professor Nevins.

Meet with Faculty

Office Hours

Explore the Major


Opportunities for Students

Senior Work