Cultural Anthropology

Environment, Infrastructure and Society @Penn

New laboratories support faculty research, including the Paleoecology Lab (under direction of Prof. Kathleen Morrison), The Penn EnviroLab (under direction of Profs. Nikhil Anand and Kristina Lyons) and the Biocultural Anthropology Methods Lab (under direction of Prof. Morgan Hoke). Teaching laboratories for environmental materials are housed at the Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials (CAAM) in the Penn Museum. Four Anthropology faculty serve on the Faculty Working Group of the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities (Profs. Anand, Lyons, Petryna and Schurr); Prof. Kristina Lyons is a Core member of the PPEH.

Decolonizing Museums @Penn

Upcoming conference

Settler Colonialism, Slavery, and the Problem of Decolonizing Museums is an international conference organized and hosted by the University of Penn Museum, 21-22 October 2021

Featuring three panels:

Panel 1What is the place of the U.S. in relation to global imperialism? In what ways have the dual histories of settler colonialism and slavery influenced collection and exhibition practices? What are the implications for the ways we think about and enact forms of decolonization and reparation?

Panel 2How has NAGPRA legislation impacted the development of legal processes for repatriation and other forms of reparation? In what ways might we think about moving beyond NAGPRA? In what ways must North American museum practitioners also grapple with questions of empire and slavery in thinking about meaningful processes of repair?

RoundtableIn what ways have processes of decolonization, indigenization, and anti-racism been successfully implemented, and how might we build on these?

Cultures of Health @Penn

Penn Anthropology is home to several professors and students working on Cultures of Health, including Dr. Adriana Petryna (biological citizenship and critical global health) and Dr. Morgan Hoke (biocultural approaches to the political ecology of health and health inequalities).

Globalization Studies @Penn

Globalization Studies at the University of Pennsylvania is an interdisciplinary effort that explores the processes and significance of accelerating expansion of human society in the modern world. This historic change in the human condition seems to result not only from population growth, but from the increase in the numbers of people with whom we routinely interact, and the way this changes the quality of our interaction and the relationships that make up our social lives. 

As the world continues to become more interconnected, and movement between different parts of the world increases, cultural anthropology has to develop a new approach. We have to move from our traditional focus on cultural difference between geographically separate communities to the study of cultural heterogeneity in a single global community, in which the biggest problems come from unevenness in the rates of social change, from rising inequality, and inadequate political and economic organization. In order to do this successfully, we must work with colleagues in other academic disciplines, because globalization is not only cultural: it is social, technological, economic, financial, ecological, and medical.

Our Work

Since 2000 our Department has taught Globalization in Historical Perspective (ANTH012) every Fall semester, by Brian Spooner with Professors Mauro Guillen (Dept. of Management, Wharton) and Lee Cassanelli (History). In 2007 we opened a website, met monthly in a Faculty Forum (sponsored by the Penn Institute for Urban Research), and started work with a student research group. In 2009 we held a conference of scholars working on globalization in different parts of the  University, which we developed into a publication in 2015: Globalization, The Crucial Phase. In 2013 we introduced a second course: Global Food Security (ANTH561), which Brian Spooner teaches every spring semester with colleagues in the Center for Animal Health and Productivity of the School of Veterinary Medicine. 

To learn more about Globalization Studies, visit our website!

Primary Supervising Faculty from Anthropology

Dr. Nikhil

Dr. Margaret Bruchac:

Dr. John L. Jackson, Jr.:

Dr. Kristina Lyons:

Dr. Adriana Petryna:

Dr. Brian Spooner:

Dr. Deborah A. Thomas:

Dr. Greg Urban:

Dr. Andrew