Department Goals and Philosophy

The Department of Anthropology at Florida Atlantic University strives to provide the very best undergraduate and graduate programs. The Department stresses an open, critical, and diverse intellectual forum for examining and coming to understand the processes, constraints, and possibilities for what it means to be human today and what being human has meant prehistorically and historically. In both its undergraduate and graduate programs, Department faculty members take mentorship seriously and students have ample opportunity for close interaction and collaboration with faculty.

The Undergraduate Program

The undergraduate B.A. program prepares students to understand and work in a global, culturally diverse world. The program’s goal is to offer a framework for understanding human development in terms of prehistory, the contemporary world, and biological adaptation over time. A major in Anthropology gives students the opportunity to develop a knowledge and understanding of cultural, national, and ethnic groups from both Western and non-Western countries. Students have the opportunity for close interaction with, and guidance from, a well-trained, well-traveled faculty. Students are able to gain significant laboratory and methodological experience through hands-on excavation, survey, and laboratory courses. The Department provides undergraduate training in archaeological and ethnographic methods in its Ecuador Field School programs. Graduates often qualify at the pre-professional level in the fields of public service, education, and business. In addition, Anthropology is a suitable major for both pre-law and pre-medical programs, as well as for entry into a variety of graduate fields.

The Graduate Program

The M.A. program in Anthropology at Florida Atlantic University focuses on preparing graduate students for the professional practice of Anthropology. The program provides a strong and comprehensive training in biological and cultural anthropology, and archaeology. M.A. students work closely with professors on local, national, and international projects as well as on developing their own thesis research projects. Graduate students focus their research in the areas of biological anthropology (e.g., human evolution, osteology, forensics, primate behavior), cultural anthropology (contemporary cultural practices), or archaeology (e.g., prehistoric and historic material culture, excavation, ceramics, lithics). Many of the Department’s graduated M.A. students move on to the doctoral level at universities around the U.S. The Department of Anthropology provides financial support to its most highly qualified graduate students in the form of assistantships, tuition waivers, fellowships, and other awards. Further, The Department maintains a close relation with FAU’s College of Biomedicine, in which some graduate students participate and serve as teaching assistants for the medical school’s Human Gross Anatomy course.

The Faculty

Faculty members of the Department of Anthropology at Florida Atlantic University are a diverse group of contemporary scholars and researchers:

  • Dr. Clifford Brown focuses on the Mayan archaeology of Mexico and Central America, and carries out fieldwork and survey of Mayan sites.
  • Dr. Susan Love Brown is a specialist in psychological anthropology, political anthropology, and intentional communities, whose research takes her from the Caribbean to Florida and the rest of the U.S.
  • Dr. Mary Cameron, a cultural and medical anthropologist who conducts research on Ayurvedic medicine, gender and caste, sustainable farming and medicinal plant cultivation, and development in Nepal and South Asia.
  • Dr. Kate Detwiler, a primatologist, whose research interests include primate hybridization and speciation, molecular primatology, primate behavioral ecology, conservation of African monkeys and their rainforest habitats.
  • Dr. Meredith Ellis, a historical archaeologist, whose research focuses on skeletal remains for research in social bioarchaeology, bioarchaeology of childhood, historical bioarchaeology, and the 19th century United States.
  • Dr. Arlene Fradkin is a zooarchaeologist interested in reconstructing the past diet and consumption patterns of peoples living in Florida, the southeast United States, Central and South America and the Middle East.
  • Dr. Michael Harris’ work focuses on cultural ecology, medical anthropology, and applied anthropology, with research sites in Bangladesh, Ecuador, and southern Florida.
  • Dr. Max Kirsch, UNESCO Chair for Human Rights, conducts research on queer theory, human rights, economic anthropology and the anthropology of work, and social and economic relations in the Everglades.
  • Dr. Nancy Stein is a visual anthropologist whose interests include visual cultural methods, human rights and public anthropology.
  • Ms. Valentina Martinez is an instructor and the director of the Ecuador Field School whose research interests include archaeology, lithics, Paleoindians of the New World, South America, Ecuador.

Research Facilities

The Department of Anthropology at Florida Atlantic University occupies one wing of the Social Science building and has an excellent research facility and work space for faculty and students. The Department maintains laboratories dedicated to the preparation and analysis of histological samples, archaeological materials, and computer-intensive imaging for archaeological and ethnographic analyses, in addition to a mapping room, a comparative faunal collection, and office space for faculty and students. Additionally, the Department maintains processing rooms for wet work associated with the preparation of skeletal material. Overall, the Department’s facilities provide students and faculty with plentiful opportunities for integrating research and laboratory approaches.

Florida Public Archaeology Network-Southeast at FAU

See the FPAN SE at FAU page for the Center's activities.