10 Sachem Street, 203.432.3670
M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D.

Anne Underhill

Director of Graduate Studies
David Watts

Acting Director of Graduate Studies [F]
Erik Harms

Professors Richard Bribiescas, Richard Burger, Michael Dove (Forestry & Environmental Studies), Kathryn Dudley (American Studies), J. Joseph Errington, Eduardo Fernandez-Duque, Inderpal Grewal (Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies), Marcia Inhorn (Middle East Studies), William Kelly, Paul Kockelman, Roderick McIntosh, Catherine Panter-Brick, Eric Sargis, James Scott (Political Science), Helen Siu, Kalyanakrishnan Sivaramakrishnan, Anne Underhill, Claudia Valeggia, David Watts

Associate Professors Erik Harms, William Honeychurch, Douglas Rogers

Assistant Professors Oswaldo Chinchilla, Narges Erami (Middle East Studies), Louisa Lombard, Brian Wood

Fields of Study

The department covers three subfields: archaeology; sociocultural and linguistic anthropology; and physical anthropology. Archaeology focuses on ritual complexes and writing, ceramic analysis, warfare, ancient civilizations, origins of agriculture, and museum studies. Sociocultural anthropology provides a range of courses: classics in ethnography and social theory, religion, myth and ritual, kinship and descent, historical anthropology, culture and political economy, agrarian studies, ecology, environment and social change, medical anthropology, emotions, public health, sexual meanings and gender, postcolonial development, ethnicity, identity politics and diaspora, urban anthropology, global mass culture, and alternate modernity. Linguistic anthropology includes language, nationalism and ideology, structuralism and semiotics, and feminist discourse. Physical anthropology focuses on paleoanthropology, evolutionary theory, human functional anatomy, race and human biological diversity, and primate ecology. There is strong geographical coverage in Africa, the Caribbean, East Asia (China and Japan), Latin America and South America, Southeast Asia (Indonesia), South Asia and the Indian Ocean, the Near East, Europe, and the United States.

Special Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree

There are no required courses or seminars for archaeology and biological anthropology graduate students. However, graduate students in these subfields are expected to confer closely with their primary adviser and faculty to develop the most enriching and cogent program of courses. In sociocultural anthropology, more than three-fourths of a student’s program consists of electives, including course work in other departments. Sociocultural students must take six required courses, with the remainder being electives among Anthropology courses and other departments’ courses. Admission to Ph.D. candidacy requires (1) completion of two years of course work (sixteen term courses); (2) independent study and research; (3) satisfactory performance on qualifying examinations; and (4) a dissertation research proposal submitted and approved before the end of the third year. For sociocultural anthropology students, the research proposal requirement takes the form of a field paper of approximately eighty pages in length. Qualifying examinations are normally taken at the end of the second year. For archaeology and biological anthropology subfields, they consist of eight hours written (four hours on one of the subfields, four hours on the student’s special interest), and two hours oral. The sociocultural anthropology exam consists of five hours written and approximately one hour oral and is based on the six required courses.

Because of the diversity of our students’ training program, the department does not have a general foreign language requirement, either for admission or for admission to Ph.D. candidacy. Rather, each student’s advisory committee must determine the necessary level and nature of foreign language proficiency (including scholarly languages and languages to be used in field research) to be met by the student, as well as any required competencies in statistics and other quantitative or qualitative methods. Advisory committees will stipulate such requirements in writing to the director of graduate studies (DGS) at the earliest possible stage of the student’s program of study for approval by the DGS and the department faculty. Such committee stipulations should specify exactly when and how it will be determined that the student has or has not met the requirements.

Combined Ph.D. Programs

The Anthropology department also offers a combined Ph.D. in Anthropology and Forestry & Environmental Studies in conjunction with the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and a combined Ph.D. in Anthropology and African American Studies in conjunction with the Department of African American Studies. These combined programs are ideal for students who intend to concentrate in, and to write dissertations on, thematic and theoretical issues centrally concerned with anthropology and one of these other areas of study. Students in the combined degree programs will be subject to the combined supervision of faculty members in the Anthropology department and in the respective department or school.

Admission into the combined degree program in Anthropology and African American Studies is based on mutual agreement between these two departments. Individual students will develop courses of study in consultation with their academic advisers and with the directors of graduate study for both departments. Students in the program must take core courses in Anthropology and in African American Studies, plus related courses in both departments approved by their advisory committees. In addition, they must successfully complete the African American Studies third-year Dissertation Prospectus Workshop (AFAM 895). Oral and written qualifying examinations must include two topics in the field of African American Studies and two topics in Anthropology. The examination committee must include at least one faculty member from each department. The dissertation prospectus must be submitted to the directors of graduate study of both departments and approved by the faculty of both. The thesis readers committee must also include at least one faculty member from each department, and the faculties of both departments must approve its composition.

Master’s Degrees

M.Phil. See Degree Requirements under Policies and Regulations.

M.A. Applications for a terminal master’s degree are not accepted. The M.A. degree is awarded only to students not continuing in the Ph.D. program. The student must complete eight graduate-level term courses approved for credit in the Anthropology department and maintain an average grade of High Pass. Students who are eligible for or who have already received the M.Phil. will not be awarded the M.A.

Contact information: Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Anthropology, Yale University, PO Box 208277, New Haven CT 06520-8277; 203.432.3670; e-mail,; website,


ANTH 500a, The Development of the Discipline: Contemporary ThemesErik Harms

The major theoretical orientations in social and cultural anthropology (especially in the United States and Europe), their historical development and importance, their relation to one another and to other disciplines. The seminar is reserved for first-year doctoral students in Anthropology.
T 9:25am-11:15am

ANTH 501a, Anthropology and Classical Social TheoryPaul Kockelman

Readings of primary texts in classical social theory, especially the writings of Marx, Weber, and Durkheim. Particular emphasis is placed on the role of these theorists in the early development of anthropology and social science more broadly. The course is reserved for first-year graduate students in Anthropology.
T 8:30am-11:30am

ANTH 502a, Research in Sociocultural Anthropology: Design and MethodsHelen Siu

The course offers critical evaluation of the nature of ethnographic research. Research design includes the rethinking of site, voice, and ethnographic authority.
W 9:25am-11:15am

ANTH 519a, Research Seminar in Medical Anthropology and Global HealthJessica Newman

This graduate seminar gives students the opportunity to explore important current global health topics from an anthropological perspective, with a special emphasis on the ways medical anthropologists study the cultural context of disease and health in societies around the world. The course will allow students to critically evaluate the medical anthropology-global health literature and develop their understanding of key theoretical and methodological issues through discourse with other students, written summaries of the literature, and a final research paper. Previous coursework in anthropology is highly recommended. Advanced undergraduate students and students without previous anthropological coursework may enroll in the course with permission from the instructor.
M 9:25am-11:15am

ANTH 531b / ARCG 531b / CLSS 815b / CPLT 547b / HIST 502b / JDST 653b / NELC 533b / RLST 803b, Slavery, Dependency, and Genocide in the Ancient and Premodern WorldNoel Lenski and Benedict Kiernan

Covers the subject of class and ethnic repression from the third millennium B.C.E. to the mid-second millennium C.E. Analyzes textual, epigraphic, and iconographic sources for slavery, dependency, and genocide in Assyrian, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Han, Germanic, Angkorian, Vietnamese, Burmese, Malay, Mayan, and Aztec cultures.
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

ANTH 533b, Bilingualism in Social ContextJ. Joseph Errington

The linguistic phenomenon of bilingualism is presented through broad issues in social description inseparably linked to it: growth and change in bilingual communities; bilingual usage, social identity, and allegiance; and interactional significances of bilingual speech repertoire use.
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

ANTH 539b, Urban Ethnographies of AsiaErik Harms

Introduction to the anthropological study of contemporary Asian cities. Focus on new ethnographies about cities in East, Southeast, and South Asia. Topics include rural-urban migration, redevelopment, evictions, social movements, land grabbing, master-planned developments, heritage preservation, utopian aspirations, social housing, slums and precariousness, and spatial cleansing.
T 9:25am-11:15am

ANTH 541a / HIST 965a / PLSC 779a, Agrarian Societies: Culture, Society, History, and DevelopmentPeter Perdue, Kalyanakrishnan Sivaramakrishnan, and James Scott

An interdisciplinary examination of agrarian societies, contemporary and historical, Western and non-Western. Major analytical perspectives from anthropology, economics, history, political science, and environmental studies are used to develop a meaning-centered and historically grounded account of the transformations of rural society. Team-taught.
W 1:30pm-5:20pm

ANTH 568b, Ethnography of SpeechJ. Joseph Errington

Comparative, case-study work in particular types of socially significant language use. Problems and methods of description to be discussed, and students are encouraged to pursue topics of personal interest.
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

ANTH 575a / EAST 575a, Hubs, Mobilities, and Global CitiesHelen Siu and Sarah LeBaron von Baeyer

Analysis of urban life in historical and contemporary societies. Topics include capitalist and postmodern transformations, class, gender, ethnicity, migration, and global landscapes of power and citizenship.
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

ANTH 579b / ARCG 579b, Directing Archaeological ExcavationsRoderick McIntosh

Directing an archaeological excavation is one of the most complex and fraught tasks that an archaeologist will ever face. From estimating budgets, to labor relations, to massaging egos of specialists, to establishing good relations with local communities—is it any wonder that many directors long for the days when they themselves could just dig! Little wonder, then, that Sir Mortimer Wheeler’s description of his paramilitary excavations rings, if not true, then nostalgic. This course reviews the many pieces that must come together, from project conceptualization through laboratory analysis, tailored for graduate students who will soon be directing their own field research.
W 9:25am-11:15am

ANTH 600b, Contemporary Social TheoryLouisa Lombard

An overview of central themes and debates in contemporary social theory, with a focus on the integration of theory and research, rather than a hermeneutical analysis of particular theoretical texts. Concentrating on questions of power, inequality, the self, and community, assessment of the relevance of sociological theory to advancing an understanding of the complexities of late-twentieth-century Western society. Critical theory, feminist theories, postmodernism, and the contributions of individual theorists are reviewed and critiqued.
W 2:30pm-4:20pm

ANTH 615a, Anthropological Perspectives on Science and TechnologyLisa Messeri

The course focuses on ethnographic work on scientific and technical topics, ranging from laboratory studies to everyday technologies. Selected texts include canonical books as well as newer work from early scholars and the most recent work of established scholars. Divided into four units, this seminar explores the theme of “boundaries,” a perennial topic in anthropology of science that deals with the possibility and limits of demarcation. Each week, different kinds of boundaries are examined, and students learn to see their social constructedness as well as the power they carry. We begin by exploring where science is and isn’t, followed by the boundary between ourselves and technology, which is a specific example of the third boundary we examine: the one artificially drawn between nature and culture. We end with readings on geopolitics and the technologies of delineating nation from nation as well as thinking about postnational scientific states. Class discussion guides each session. One or two students each week are responsible for precirculating a book review on the week’s reading, and a third student begins class by reacting to both the texts and the review. The final assignment is a research paper or a review essay.
W 9:25am-11:15am

ANTH 616a, Invisible Economies: Anthropology of the IllicitNarges Erami

In this seminar we study theories and ethnographies of marginal, hidden, secret, and invisible economies. We look at the manner in which a globalized world has created "new" economies that may be considered criminal by nation-states, as well as "old" economies that have always remained outside of the legitimate framework.
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

ANTH 631b, Artisanal CapitalismNarges Erami

The art of making things, with a focus on the recent popularity of handmade goods from around the world. Theories on modernity and technology, movement and action, and aesthetics. The practice of making Persian carpets, including their history, color and design, and relation to Islamic art.
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

ANTH 632a, Politics of LanguageJ. Joseph Errington

The course centers on aspects of language difference and inequality as often neglected but crucial shapers of the political dynamics and social change in plural societies. The first part of the course involves broad comparative and theoretical approaches to the politics of sociolinguistic difference. The second part is devoted to case studies that foreground specific issues: "problems" of substandard languages, bilingual identities, globalization and language shift, language death, and others.

ANTH 633b, The Anthropology of TimeJessica Newman

Cross-cultural variability in conceptions of time and space. Nearly one hundred years ago, Durkheim (1912) insisted that the category of time was neither a universal a priori category nor an individualized processing of experience. The category of time, like space, number, and cause, is itself a cultural product, issuing forth from words and actions in society. In turn, the culturally specific understanding of time is foundational to individuals' attempts to exercise agency in the societies in which they live.
Th 9:25am-11:15am

ANTH 636a / ARCG 636a / G&G 636a, Geoarchaeology: Earth and Environmental Sciences in Archaeological InvestigationsEllery Frahm

A survey of the numerous ways in which theories, approaches, techniques, and data from the earth and environmental sciences are used to address archaeological research questions. A range of interfaces between archaeology and the geological sciences are considered. Topics include stratigraphy, geomorphology, site formation processes, climate reconstruction, site location, and dating techniques.
MW 2:30pm-3:45pm

ANTH 638b, Culture, Power, OilDouglas Rogers

The course analyzes the production, circulation, and consumption of petroleum in order to explore key topics in recent social and cultural theory, including globalization, empire, cultural performance, natural resource extraction, and the nature of the state. Case studies from the United States, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Venezuela, and the former Soviet Union, among others.
W 9:25am-11:15am

ANTH 646a / HSAR 749a, Three Thousand Years of Mexican Feasting: 1500 B.C.E. to 1519 C.E.Mary Miller and Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos

This course sits at the cusp of anthropology and art history, considered through the lens of the most central of human activities, the consumption of food. Feasting was integral to the prehispanic peoples of Mesoamerica, who domesticated and cultivated maize, beans, chocolate, vanilla, tomatoes, chilies, and squashes, and served dogs, ducks, and turkeys on the most festive of occasions. They developed special ceramics, from elaborate tamale plates to tall chocolate pots, for ritual service, some of which then became assemblages with which to honor the dead, and sometimes preserving a performance otherwise not visible in the present. In this course, the role of food both as object of ritual and performance and as subject is examined. Seasonal celebrations, as documented in the sixteenth-century Florentine Codex, are examined alongside painted and sculpted representations of food and its rituals. Cross-cultural consideration of the feast as a conceptual category that ranges from the potlatch of the Northwest Coast peoples to modern Day of the Dead practice helps shape class discussion of Mesoamerican feasting before European contact, as does study of gender and the spatial settings of consumption. The problem of sampling and identification is considered through scientific study and practice, and vessels in New Haven and New York are explored for potential residues.
M 3:30pm-5:20pm

ANTH 652a / AMST 751a, American PrecarityKathryn Dudley

The 2016 election cast a spotlight on the political discontent of millions of Americans, a broad segment of whom are white, working-class, and residing in regions of the country marked by unprecedented precarity, an ongoing condition of economic dislocation and social insecurity. This course traces the histories of the present that have produced cross-cutting zones of abandonment and social trauma not easily pigeonholed by concepts of race, class, gender, and citizenship.
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

ANTH 702b / ARCG 702b, Archaeological Approaches to Art and IconographyOswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos

An examination of archaeological approaches to the study of artistic representations in archaeology, focusing on the analysis of style and iconographic interpretations. Case studies are drawn from Precolumbian art, particularly Moche art of Peru and Maya art of Mesoamerica.
T 9:25am-11:15am

ANTH 707a / ARCG 707a, Origins of Complex Society in West AfricaRoderick McIntosh

Using original readings of site reports and primary source articles, we explore the great diversity of expressions of emerging complexity in prehistoric West Africa.
T 2:30pm-4:20pm

ANTH 716Lb, Introduction to Archaeological Laboratory SciencesRoderick McIntosh and Eckart Frahm

Introduction to techniques of archaeological laboratory analysis, with quantitative data styles and statistics appropriate to each. Topics include dating of artifacts, sourcing of ancient materials, remote sensing, and microscopic and biochemical analysis. Specific techniques covered vary from year to year.
W 2:30pm-5:30pm

ANTH 726a / ARCG 726a, Ancient Civilizations of the Eurasian SteppesWilliam Honeychurch

Peoples of the steppe zone, stretching from Eastern Europe to Mongolia, have played a pivotal role in Old World prehistory, though much about their societies and lifeways is still shrouded in mystery. The archaeology of this macro-region has developed rapidly since the 1990s, and this course presents an overview of major topics and debates in the region based on what archaeologists currently know about Eurasian steppe societies of the past.
W 9:25am-11:15am

ANTH 736b / ARCG 736b, Advanced Topics in Asian ArchaeologyWilliam Honeychurch

This seminar reviews the archaeology of Asia of the Pleistocene and Holocene epochs with emphasis on East, Southeast, and South Asia. Asian archaeology remains little known to most Western researchers, although some of the earliest hominid remains and some of the most powerful states are found in that part of the world. The course emphasizes the particularities of Asian cultural sequences, while illustrating how processes in these sequences compare to those found elsewhere in the world. The diverse Asian record provides a basis for refining key concepts in anthropological archaeology, including domestication, inequality and hierarchy, heterarchy, and complexity. Topics to be covered include history and theory in Asian archaeology; the Pleistocene and paleolithic record of Asia; origins of plant and animal domestication; early farming communities; models of complexity; and early states and empires.
F 9:25am-11:15am

ANTH 748a / ARCG 748a, Contemporary Archaeological TheoryRichard Burger

This seminar explores contemporary theory in all of its diversity. The course examines multiple critiques of New Archaeology and its remaining legacy; the diversity of competing approaches, sometimes called postprocessualist, currently employed in the United States and the United Kingdom, including critical archaeology, the archaeology of gender, structuralist approaches, various Marxist and neo-Marxist formulations of archaeological theory, and applications of evolutionary theory; as well as the differing trajectory of approaches outside the English-speaking world.
MW 1pm-2:15pm

ANTH 750a / ARCG 750a, Analysis of Lithic TechnologyOswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos

This course provides an introduction to the analysis of the chipped and ground stone tools found on archaeological sites. As a laboratory course, it includes hands-on instruction: we learn how to manufacture chipped stone tools out of obsidian. We begin by reviewing the development of chipped and ground stone tool technology from the earliest simple pebble tools to historical period tools. We discuss the relevance of lithics research to issues of subsistence, craft specialization, and trade. We also discuss how these artifacts are recorded, analyzed, and drawn, and we review related studies such as sourcing and use-wear analysis.
Th 9:25am-11:15am

ANTH 756b / ARCG 756b, Regional Exchange SystemsRichard Burger

The course considers archaeological examination of exchange systems from a broad perspective. The first part involves examination of ethnographic and historic information about variation in types of exchange, as well as theoretical approaches that have been used to understand early exchange systems. Then the class discusses archaeological methods to determine evidence for exchange of goods at the local and regional levels on the basis of settlement data and information from compositional analysis. Archaeological case studies from more than one world area are examined. Open to advanced undergraduates.
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

ANTH 759a / ARCG 759a, Social Complexity in Ancient ChinaAnne Underhill

This seminar explores the variety of archaeological methods and theoretical approaches that have been employed to investigate the development and nature of social complexity in ancient China. The session meetings focus on the later prehistoric and early historic periods, and several geographic regions are included. They also consider how developments in ancient China compare to other areas of the world. Most of the readings emphasize archaeological remains, although relevant information from early historical texts is considered.
T 9:25am-11:15am

ANTH 773b / ARCG 773b / NELC 588b, Abrupt Climate Change and Societal CollapseHarvey Weiss

Collapse documented in the archaeological and early historical records of the Old and New Worlds, including Mesopotamia, Mesoamerica, the Andes, and Europe. Analysis of politicoeconomic vulnerabilities, resiliencies, and adaptations in the face of abrupt climate change, anthropogenic environmental degradation, resource depletion, "barbarian" incursions, or class conflict.
Th 3:30pm-5:20pm

ANTH 780b / ARCG 780b, Archaeology of ReligionRichard Burger

The course explores archaeological approaches to the study of religion. While the term "religion" is hard to define, it is generally agreed that religious phenomena occur in almost all cultures and that this realm played a significant part in most prehistoric cultures. In order to provide a broad vision of this theme, the course begins by considering influential schools of thought on the definition, origins, and social significance of religious behavior. The course then reviews a variety of methods that scholars may use to reconstruct ancient beliefs and rituals. The course assesses the applicability and success of these methodologies across the broad spectrum of ancient cultures representing differing degrees of sociopolitical complexity. Finally, we explore case studies from a diverse range of ancient societies and consider the impact of religious behaviors within their broader cultural contexts.
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

ANTH 785a / ARCG 785a, Archaeological Ceramics IAnne Underhill

Ceramics are a rich source of information about a range of topics including ancient technology, cooking practices, craft specialization, regional trade, and religious beliefs. This course provides a foundation for investigating such topics and gaining practical experience in archaeological analysis of ceramics. Students have opportunities to focus on ceramics of particular interest to them, whether these are low-fired earthen wares, or porcelains. We discuss ancient pottery production and use made in diverse contexts ranging from households in villages to workshops in cities. In addition we refer to the abundant ethnoarchaeological data about traditional pottery production.
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

ANTH 791a / ARCG 791a, Paleoclimate and Human ResponseRoderick McIntosh

Explores the recursive interaction of climate change with human perception and manipulation of the landscape. Combines a primer on mechanisms and measures of climate change with three case studies of historical response to change at different scales.
M 9:25am-11:15am

ANTH 810a, MammalogyEric Sargis

The evolution and diversity of mammals, including primates. Origin, evolutionary history, systematics, morphology, biogeography, physiology, behavior, and ecology of major mammalian lineages. Accompanying laboratories focus on diagnostic morphological features of mammalian groups through examination of specimens from the Peabody Museum.
TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm

ANTH 835b / E&EB 842b, Primate Diversity and EvolutionEric Sargis

The diversity and evolutionary history of living and extinct primates. Focus on major controversies in primate systematics and evolution, including the origins and relationships of several groups. Consideration of both morphological and molecular studies. Morphological diversity and adaptations explored through museum specimens and fossil casts.
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

ANTH 857a, Topics and Issues in Evolutionary TheoryEric Sargis

Focus on classic and current literature in theoretical evolutionary biology, intended to give students intensive training in critical analysis of theoretical concepts and in scientific writing.
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

ANTH 864b / ARCG 864b, Human OsteologyEric Sargis

A lecture and laboratory course focusing on the characteristics of the human skeleton and its use in studies of functional morphology, paleodemography, and paleopathology. Laboratories familiarize students with skeletal parts; lectures focus on the nature of bone tissue, its biomechanical modification, sexing, aging, and interpretation of lesions.
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

ANTH 930a and ANTH 931b / AMST 935a and AMST 936b, Working Group on Ethnography and Oral History I and IIKathryn Dudley

A continuous workshop for advanced graduate students in Anthropology and American Studies. We discuss fieldwork experiences, analyze recordings of interviews, and share writing in progress to gather feedback and improve techniques. We attend to the methodological, representational, and ethical problems that arise in oral history and ethnography and examine critical theoretical frameworks for understanding our work as collaborative knowledge production. Since 2000, group members' research has shared several themes: a commitment to experimental representational methods; the importance of space, affect, and materiality to ethnographic and historical analysis; and field sites that explore post-industrial economies in the United States and other areas of the world. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. One-half credit per term; meets every other week.  ½ Course cr per term
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

ANTH 950a or b, Directed Research: Preparation for Qualifying ExamStaff

By arrangement with faculty.

ANTH 951a or b, Directed Research in Ethnology and Social AnthropologyStaff

By arrangement with faculty.

ANTH 952a or b, Directed Research in LinguisticsDavid Watts

By arrangement with faculty.

ANTH 953a or b, Directed Research in Archaeology and PrehistoryDavid Watts

By arrangement with faculty.

ANTH 954a or b, Directed Research in Biological AnthropologyStaff

By arrangement with faculty.