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Anthropology

You will do plenty of hands-on study, maybe even at one of the earliest archaeological sites in North America. Whether you focus on cultural anthropology or archaeology, you will emerge ready to take on a wide range of pursuits.

A student zeroes in, drawn by a new museum and a focus on the U.S.

Lillia McEnaney ’17 has pursued archeology since high school and discovered Hamilton College’s program as a high school junior. She was drawn to its focus on the U.S. and Canada. Once on the Hill, McEnaney discovered a related passion – religious studies.  Her particular archeological interest lies in the U.S. Southwest and examining designs on pueblo pottery from a religious studies perspective.

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She’s also interested in curating, so Hamilton’s Wellin Museum of Art was another draw. “Just the idea of going to a school with a new museum that has such a rich archeological collection was really nice,” says McEnaney, who became a curatorial intern at the Wellin. Her accomplishments include publishing an article in the international Journal Museum Anthropology.  McEnaney double-majors in archeology and religious studies.

McEnaney likes the religious studies program’s anthropological approach, and she works as a research assistant in the program. Its coursework builds on her experience, which includes internships at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque and the American Indian Studies Museum and Research Center in Washington, Conn. Her interest in religious studies, she says, is “ever-expanding.” “In addition to pueblo pottery studies, the area of pilgrimage studies has begun to captivate me; this a field that (Assistant Professor Seth) Schermerhorn introduced me to through his research on the O'odham and also through the Sacred Journeys course that he teaches,” she says.

“Last semester I took Native Rituals and Religious Freedoms, so I was like able to apply my knowledge of native communities to today and look at it in a completely different way, which is really interesting,” she says.


Ana Baldrige '12, who worked as a paralegal, in front of a New York City courthouse.

A graduate’s progress: a Fulbright, then law school

Ana Baldrige ’12 has embarked on a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Argentina, where she studied abroad as a Hamilton College anthropology major. Baldrige says many of the skills it takes to be a prosecutor – her career goal  – she learned from her major: researching, analyzing, writing and interviewing.

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Before the Fulbright, she worked as a trial preparation assistant and paralegal in the Rackets Bureau of the New York County district attorney’s office. “The ability to write and speak and conduct yourself professionally while meeting people and during interviews is so much more important than having chosen the ‘right’ major. Other paralegals that I (used to) work with in the Rackets Bureau majored in a range of subjects, including English, history, philosophy and religion,” says Baldrige.

At Hamilton, her study abroad program focused on human rights and social movements and anthropological fieldwork methods. For a four-week independent research project, Baldrige interviewed several Mapuche people about the revival of their indigenous language.

“I felt incredibly prepared for this seemingly daunting task because it really was just an extension of the concepts and research methods I had learned in anthropology classes at Hamilton,” she says.