Understanding Anthropology

Scenic view of Reno


Anthropology operates at the crossroads of the physical sciences, social sciences and humanities to examine the diversity of human experience across cultures and time. Anthropologists in our department study everything from human evolution to prehistory to life in a globalizing world. Read More about Anthropology


Archaeology studies the human past through the physical remains of past human activities. Everything from portable artifacts to plant remains illuminates human history. Read More about Archaeology


Cultural anthropologists study the diversity of human cultures and societies and the processes by which people construct local, regional and global forms of social relationships. Several of our faculty study the processes by which people construct particular social identities, worldviews, and forms of community in a changing, globalizing world. Read more about cultural anthropology


Linguistic anthropology is the study of language use in social life. Linguistic anthropologists study the diversity of the world's languages and the diversity of language use and other forms of communication in societies around the world. Also included in this is the study of cultural understandings of language and language varieties. Read more about linguistic anthropology


Physical anthropology, also known as biological anthropology, studies human evolution and variation. Specific emphasis is on mechanisms of biological evolution, genetic inheritance, human adaptability, worldwide genetic and physical variation, primate anatomy and behavior, and paleoanthropology. Read more about physical anthropology

Department Themes

Our department firmly believes that anthropology is a four-field approach to understanding humans. We pride ourselves on collaborative research that integrates two or more subfields. Four broad themes characterize our faculty's strengths and highlight our overlapping interests: (1) Law, Policy, and Engagement; (2) Place and Environment; (3) Migration and Mobility; and (4) Identity and Belonging. Click on each of the themes to learn more and find out how our faculty's research interests intersect within them.