About Us

Western Campus


Anthropology @ Western

The Department of Anthropology's 16 full-time faculty members are drawn from across the four subfields of the discipline: Archaeology (3), Biological Anthropology (4), Linguistic Anthropology (2) and Sociocultural Anthropology (7).  Despite being a small department, we have 4 faculty members who currently lead national scholarly associations: Andrea Waters-Rist is the current President (Canadian Association for Biological Anthropology) with Ian Colquhoun as the Past President. Lisa Hodgetts (Canadian Archaeological Association) and Tania Granadillo (The Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas) are Past-Presidents of their respective assocations. Neal Ferris is the Lawson Chair of Canadian Archaeology.  Our faculty members have won numerous teaching and research awards, see HERE for the list

What is Anthropology?

Anthropology is the study of humans in all our social, cultural, linguistic and biological diversity and complexity.  The four subfields of Anthropology (Archaeology, Biological Anthropology, Linguistic Anthropology and Sociocultural Anthropology) are united by shared perspectives on how we study the full breadth of humanity.  


  • is Holistic - anthropology recognizes that human culture and society, in the past and in the present, need to be studied as consisting of more than individual traits, traditions, and beliefs
  • is Comparative - anthropologists examine experiences, cultural expressions, and the effects of historical trends comparatively and cross-culturally, to understand and value the full diversity of humanity around the world and through time.
  • Takes a deep temporal point of view- anthropologists recognize that our species has evolved from non-human primate relatives over millions of years, that our societies have deep temporal roots and that experiences of daily life are influenced over the long-term by the varying effects of global forces and trends. 
  • is interested in the lived experience- anthropologists situate the lived human experience, knowledge, communication and the material record as culturally relative; meaningful internally to the individuals and societies who make those manifestations understandable for themselves, their ancestors , and their descendants.

 Anthropology at Western

Anthropologists at Western apply these perspectives in many different ways, but here are four broad areas that characterize our Department's teaching and scholarship:

  • Anthropological perspectives on the Environment
    • We study the complex long and short-term interactions between the environment and society, how the environment shapes and is shaped by material culture, subsistence practices and impacts, social complexity, and language use
  • Anthropological perspectives on Bodies and Health
    • We explore the interconnections between culture and biology, considering both long-term and comparative perspectives on health, how it is experienced, described and embodied
  • Anthropological perspectives on Human Relations, Inequality and Power
    • We study the material and embodied expression of social structure and power relations, and how they are shaped by social complexity, language use, and the environment
  • Anthropological perspectives on Individual, Social and Cultural Identities
    • We study the many different ways in which identities are defined, constructed, embodied and experienced in ancient and modern times, in cultures around the world.

A key feature of Anthropology at Western is our emphasis on Community Engagement in both learning and research contexts.  Anthropologists recognize the need to engage with communities and the human record directly when exploring the breadth of humanity in the past and present.  Here at Western that means working with, and for, communities and collaborating with people to answer shared questions about their past and present experiences, and desired futures.

We have regional expertise in:

  • North America
  • Latin America and the Caribbean
  • North Africa and the Middle East
  • Madagascar
  • The Pacific
  • Europe