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Welcome to Anthropology at UC Merced!

Welcome to Anthropology at UC Merced!

Anthropology is dedicated to understanding humankind’s diversity as well as what makes us uniquely human. Through the specific perspectives and methods of socio-cultural, archaeological, and biological anthropology, students learn how the human experience (past and present) is constituted through the interaction of social, cultural, political, material, historical, environmental, and biological factors. Anthropology strives for a holistic understanding of humankind and, depending on the questions asked and the means used to discover answers, anthropological knowledge can straddle the social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences.

The Anthropology program at UC Merced distinguishes itself by focusing research and teaching on a select group of common research themes relevant to our local, state, and global communities. The undergraduate program emphasizes methodological skill and intellectual rigor in addressing specific issues within these themes, and promotes undergraduate research opportunities—including working on faculty research, service-learning, and individual research—that deepen learning experiences and attract students to our program. Anthropology faculty currently contribute to two interdisciplinary graduate programs and maintain active research programs on diverse issues.

Building on our current strengths, while also considering long-term needs that fulfill our stated mission and initiatives within the UC Merced community at large, the anthropology faculty have identified four initial cross-field teaching and research areas for the program at UC Merced:

  • indigeneity, race, ethnicity, and the nation-state;
  • transnationalism, migration, and demography;
  • health, nutrition, and the environment; and
  • heritage, tourism, and public culture.