Anthropology is the study of human societies in all their diversity through time and around the world. It is a way to explore the richness and variety of humankind and the human condition, a means to look at what people and groups share in common and at what sets them apart.
The anthropology curriculum at Gettysburg encompasses the four major branches of the discipline, with particular emphasis on cultural anthropology (contemporary human culture and society), and archaeology (reconstruction of past human life through material remains). Study of the fourth branch, linguistic anthropology, is also an option. Classes are discussion-based, lively, and interactive, with strong emphasis on critical thinking and on the development of written and oral communication skills.
Anthropology majors have opportunities for study abroad and fieldwork on five continents. Students have studied saffron growers in Morocco and cultural tourism in Vietnam. Those interested in archaeology have attended archaeological field schools or volunteered with projects in the United States, Italy, Honduras, England, Macedonia, and South Africa. Many students choose to focus their study on a particular world area, such as Latin America, the Asia-Pacific region, Africa, or the Middle East. Many also choose to do anthropological research on a topic of interest to them. Recent honors research projects have been far ranging, exploring everything from the stigmatization of practitioners of the Caribbean Santeria religion to the subculture of ghost hunters searching for the spirits of Civil War-era Gettysburg.
Anthropology is an ideal field for those who are curious about the world and how people make their way in it. Students gain insight into how cultural frameworks shape our understanding of the world, which has implications for such current challenges as inequality, religious conflict, and globalization. The cultural awareness and sensitivity developed through the study of anthropology are assets in a wide range of workplace environments. Gettysburg graduates have gone on to work for service programs such as City Year, Teach for America, and the Peace Corps. They succeed in careers as professional anthropologists and in many other fields, including law, medicine, education, government, and the nonprofit sector.