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  • An illustration depicting the concept of growing tensions between (homo)sexuality and citizenship.
  • David Vine Base Nation
  • Keenan Holmes on location.
  • Homo naledi fossils.
  • AU PhD student Joeva Rock in Ghana
  • peace-corps

Welcome! In the Department of Anthropology at American University, our collective mission centers on doing public anthropology in the service of social justice. Whether the social issue is racism, sexism, environmental degradation, social discriminations, class struggle, community displacements, human and animal rights, or anything else, we marshal the professional rigor, the tools and methods, and the theoretical perspectives of anthropology to contribute to real progressive change in the world. Ours is a department with a deep and pioneering history of doing engaged and socially-impactful anthropological research.

Each member of our faculty is essential to our undergraduate, master’s in public anthropology (MAPA), and doctoral (PhD) programs. In our department, students are trained to be public intellectuals. Our graduates are very successful and can be found in university, private-sector, and government positions around the globe.

Through this web site, you can find out about our two main social justice conferences, Lavender Languages and the Public Anthropology Conference. You can peruse the requirements for our various degree programs, including our new MAPA International Peace Corps track and our accelerated 5-year BA/MA track. If you look at the individual faculty and graduate student pages, you will see the many ways that we put our social justice mission into practice in our research, in our department community, and, in our teaching and classroom practices.

It is a dynamic and exciting time for our department as we continue to enhance our social justice mission and work to train the next generation of public anthropologists. If you are interested in learning more about our department we would love to hear from you. Thanks for visiting and do enjoy our site.


Daniel O. Sayers

Department Chair


2016 Archaeology Field School
Apply now to join the Undocumented Labor Project

Social Justice Colloquia
Mondays at noon in Kreeger 100

Lavendar Languages Conference
Recap of Lav Langs 23

Journal of Lang & Sexuality
New journal presents research on the discursive formations of sexuality: Journal of Language and Sexuality