The faculty and students in the Department of Anthropology are actively involved in innovative research. Below is an overview of the major subfields and the research led by our faculty. We encourage you to visit the faculty pages to see our current research areas.
Archaeology is the study of humanity's past through its material remains. Archaeologists at UAlbany work on projects spanning the globe. From Belize and Yucatan to the former Eastern Woodlands of New York State to the circumpolar region of Europe and North America to Bronze Age Cyprus, the following research projects illustrate the opportunities at UAlbany to delve into classical Old World scholarship, cutting edge postmodern deconstructionism, cognitive and behavioral inference based on material remains, and reconstruction of ceremonial and subsistence patterns of pre-Columbians.
Biological Anthropology (also called "physical anthropology") is the study of the mechanisms of biological evolution, genetic inheritance, human adaptability and variation, primatology, primate morphology, and the fossil record of human evolution. Physical anthropologists at UAlbany work around the globe on issues at the intersection of biology and culture. From New York State to the highlands of the Andes to sites of early human origins in Africa to the tropics of Samoa, issues of adaptation and evolution are the central focus. The projects below delve into how humans adapt to living in extreme physical environments, to living in culturally-constructed urban environments, to disparities created by culture and biology, and to long-term changing environments and subsistence patterns over hundreds of thousands of years.
Cultural Anthropology is the study of human culture and society through examination, analysis and interpretation of social and cultural similarities and differences. This is accomplished primarily through ethnographic and ethnological research. Cultural Anthropology at UAlbany is marked by its dedication to advancing diversity through the relative nature of identity and culture in a world system. Politics, economics, and society play integral roles in forming and providing interpretations for the themes explored by anthropologists in Meso- and North America and Circumpolar Europe. From historic anthropology to political economy to medical anthropology to ethnoarchaeology, the department's projects in ethnography offer an array of topics for students to get involved in as illustrated below.
Linguistic Anthropology is the study of humanness through the languages humans use. Linguistic anthropologists at UAlbany do this through field work around the world where they work with informants to document and analyze languages, as well as study how language acquisition occurs under transcultural cirumstances and the implications of multilingualism in social contexts. Informants for this are found in field sites as local as Albany County or further away, such as among American Indians of the Southwest, West Coast, and Mesoamerica, as well as in Africa, Europe, and the South Pacific. The projects below offer some insight as to the particulars of such research and the diversity involved.