About the Major

At Hamilton, anthropology is a holistic discipline. Students and faculty consider and deconstruct inference from language, behavior, material culture, and biological adaptations of humans. They trace how our questions, pursuits, and dilemmas have emerged in ways shaped by power and inequality. Through their coursework and research opportunities, Hamilton students develop the theoretical and methodological toolkits to better understand human diversity.

Students Will Learn To:

  • Identify disciplinary fundamentals from multiple sub-disciplinary perspectives
  • Interpret anthropological themes from a critical perspective
  • Combine practice and methodology through research design
  • Apply disciplinary theoretical perspective(s) in an original research project
  • Create anthropological knowledge for and with multiple communities

A Sampling of Courses


Anthropology of Food

This course examines how culturally variant practices of food and eating are actively involved in (1) creating and maintaining sociality, (2) constructing and reinforcing identity, and (3) in shaping global relations of power and inequalities. Through reading ethnographies, watching films, and discussing materials in class, this course will introduce you to other ways of viewing, experiencing, and understanding food. It will also provide an opportunity to inquire how our role as consumers reinforces certain global food-ways, impacting many people who remain unseen in the process.

Explore these select courses:

Archaeology offers the opportunity to examine social-ecological systems over long time scales. This course explores different ways of conceptualizing these systems and considers major topics such as: decreasing biodiversity, traditional ecological knowledge, human-environment interactions related to food production, social responses to natural disasters and climate change, and resilience and collapse of past societies. We’ll engage with discussions on sustainability and our ecological impact on the environment.

Human beings are a species in motion, and migration has defined our interactions with each other and the natural world. This course explores the social, organizational, and environmental consequences of migration in the past. Highlights the roles that migration has played in transformative changes in social, economic, and political organization in the human past. Examines the material consequences of migration using artifactual and human molecular evidence. Also explores the interplay between humans and the environment as people moved into previously unoccupied landscapes.

This course introduces students to the anthropology of social media, drawing on empirical and ethnographic accounts to explore how social media use is embedded in and reflective of specific cultural contexts. We will also consider how social media research can be combined with more traditional ethnographic methods in order to understand how people live their lives both online and offline. Students will work together in small groups throughout the semester to design and produce a podcast that presents an ethnographic analysis of a social media topic of their choice.

When it comes to American schools and universities, race is everywhere. Schools are sites where many students learn what race is. This seminar examines how education is used to make the racial "other," and how educators and activists use education politically for equality and social justice. The course will also examine how contemporary educational practices continue to make and remake racial categories in the context of formal and non-formal education.

Explores the relationship between language variation and change, on the one hand, and the movement of sound and image in the wake of social and political economic processes variously identified as globalization, on the other hand. Of special concern are the ways in which processes of globalization are mediated by institutional and national forms.

Meet Our Faculty

Chaise LaDousa

Christian A. Johnson Excellence in Teaching Professor of Anthropology; Director of Education Studies


language and culture, particularly the ways in which institutions serve as loci for cultural production

Spencer Chen

Assistant Professor of Anthropology


Linguistic anthropology; cultural production, language ideologies, sociolinguistics, conversation analysis; audiovisual creativity, media, creative industries, voice acting/dubbing;Taiwan, Japan

Nathan Goodale

Professor of Anthropology, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs


complex hunter-gatherers in the interior Pacific Northwest; the forager/farmer transition in Southwest Asia; rural coastal adaptations in western Ireland

Ashley Hampton

Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology


Household archaeology, archaeology of hunter-gatherer-fishers, gender archaeology, inequality studies, agency and social identity, archaeogaming, spatial analysis

Hannah Lau

Assistant Professor of Anthropology


Environmental archaeology, archaeology of Southwest Asia, and anthropology of food

Julie Starr

Chair, Associate Professor of Anthropology


China, East Asia, cultural anthropology; bodies, gender, race; food, urban ethnography, consumer culture, comparative ethnography, and history of anthropology

Chenyu Wang

Assistant Professor of Anthropology


service-learning and volunteerism; international development and education; comparative education; critical pedagogy in global context; race and education in the American South; race theory

Careers After Hamilton

Hamilton graduates who concentrated in anthropology are pursuing careers in a variety of fields, including:

  • Project Geologist, GEI Consultants
  • Physician, Jefferson General Medical & Pediatric Group
  • Exhibition Coordinator, Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Vice President of Sales, Bayer Corp.
  • History Teacher, Hingham Public Schools
  • Attorney, Voices for Children
  • Staff Archaeologist, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
  • Trial Preparation Assistant, New York County District Attorney’s Office
  • Professor, Brandeis University

Explore Hamilton Stories

2024 Bristol Winners - Annie Kennedy and Luis Felipe López Cruz

2024 Bristol Fellows to Explore Orchid Culture, the Potential of Trash

Anthropology concentrator Luis Felipe López Cruz ’24 and Ann “Annie” Kennedy ’24 received Hamilton’s prestigious Bristol Fellowship. The program is designed to “encourage discovery of self and the world, a greater appreciation and understanding of people and culture, and to enable individuals to act on great ideas through independent study projects.”

Matt Fiore ’24, Kimmie Johnson ’24, and Angela Escalante Zarco ’25 traveled to Romania for archaeological research.

Students and Faculty Travel the World for Summer Research

Hamilton faculty and students traveled the globe this summer, collaborating on research projects from the UK to Romania. See what some had to say about their research and travels.

Research Round-Up / Kudos - illustration of a microscope, a student presenting a poster, books, and a student painting.

Kudos! Recent Student Accomplishments

The 2023-24 academic year wrapped up with the awarding of national fellowships and scholarships, conference presentations, and a Phi Beta Kappa election of 22 seniors.


Department Name

Anthropology Department

Contact Name

Julie Starr, Chair

Office Location
198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323

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