Student looks at human skull


Anthropology is a holistic study of humankind that encompasses archaeology, socio-cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and biological anthropology. It is highly interdisciplinary, drawing on the sciences, humanities, and social studies. Students have opportunities to conduct fieldwork in any of the subfields. For majors, this can comprise a senior thesis. Grinnell’s anthropology major prepares students for graduate school as well as careers domestically and internationally in such fields as museology, regional planning, journalism, business, social services, and more.

Statement by the Faculty of the Department of Anthropology
In Solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement

The Faculty of the Department of Anthropology at Grinnell College share in the outrage over the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks and so many other Black and Brown people. We vehemently affirm that Black Lives Matter and support the Black Lives Matter movement.

We affirm that, in spite of the fact that race and racial hierarchies are a biological myth, as a social construct race categories have held – and continue to hold – enormous power in our society. White supremacist and other racist views are deeply embedded in our society and the institutions we have created, including but not limited to our criminal justice system. Our institutions have functioned to systematically disadvantage and oppress those identified as Black, Brown and Indigenous, decreasing access to education, health, and wealth while simultaneously increasing surveillance, arrests, incarceration and state sanctioned physical and structural violence.

We recognize that it is not enough to affirm that Black Lives Matter. We bear responsibility as individuals, as an institution, and as a discipline. We accept that our everyday choices and interactions, the policies and practices of Grinnell College, and the discipline of anthropology have been and continue to be implicated in systematic racism.

We call on our leaders in institutions across the country to implement anti-racist policies and dismantle these systems of oppression. We commit to working with the college administration, faculty, staff, and students to further this process at Grinnell.

We further commit to work harder to support and promote anti-racism and dismantle white supremacy in our own department through a close examination of our own syllabi and curriculum. This includes:

· Decolonizing our syllabi and providing greater representation of Black, Brown and Indigenous scholars.

· Ensuring that our curriculum teaches students to recognize and understand underlying aspects of systematic racism, as well as preparing them to engage in individual and collective action to help create a more just society. This includes teaching on:

  • The lack of a scientific basis for race.
  • How race evolved as a social construction.
  • Multiple ways in which power, hierarchy, and identity shape social interactions and its implications for human lives.
  • An appreciation for cultural diversity.
  • How social change comes about and how anthropology can contribute to exposing inequality and injustice and bringing about change.
Illustration of two students walking toward a college building that's inside a computer monitor

Grinnell Offers Summer Classes for the First Time Since 1947

The spirit of community and desire to care for students prompted the quick development of summer classes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tommy Hexter trimming crops in the Farm House garden

Growin' Green Since 2018

Across the street from campus at the corner of Park Street and 6th Avenue in Grinnell, Iowa, sits a 30–by-80-foot plot that’s been tilled and cared for. In the milder months, you’ll see it filled with crops like peppers and radishes, and you’ll see Grinnellians working there.
photo of Michael Puett

Gates Lecturer: Michael Puett, Harvard University

Gates Lecturer: Michael Puett, Harvard University Michael Puett will present two lectures (1) "Ritual, Sincerity, and Human Flourishing: What Chinese Philosophers can Teach Us About the Good Life" in JRC 101, at 7:30 p.m. on Wed, Jan. 29, 2020. (2) “Creating Worlds: Imagination and Interpretation in Classical China” in JRC 101, at 11:00 am – 12:00 p.m on Thu, Jan. 30, 2020.
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Department Information

(641) 269-9203

1226 Park Street
Humanities and Social Studies Center
Grinnell, IA 50112
United States

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