The discipline of anthropology studies humans in all the cultures of the world, both past and present. This includes humanity’s evolution, physical development, and the wide diversity of lifestyles people have created.
Anthropology has three main goals: first, providing a deep understanding of humans, both past and present; second, analyzing and organizing the knowledge gained and making it accessible; and third, engaging in the practical application of anthropology to various areas of contemporary human behavior.
Anthropology is a distinct discipline that sits at the intersection of social sciences and life sciences. It shares techniques and methods with other behavioral sciences and also draws upon biological sciences.
Anthropology is unique among the social and behavioral sciences. Anthropologists obtain data primarily from field research and comparative cross-cultural studies in time and space. Thus, anthropology provides theoretical and empirical bases for development of hypotheses about human behavior, and for testing the breadth and application of such hypotheses.
The anthropology department provides training in each of the main subdisciplines of anthropology.
Cultural anthropology seeks to understand and describe each culture in its own perspective. Cultural anthropologists gather data through first-hand field study in other cultures and do cross-cultural comparative studies which provide crucial insights and understanding of the modes and patterns of human life.
Archaeology uses scientific field work and laboratory techniques to investigate past human societies and the processes and effects of cultural evolution through the study of material remains.
Biological anthropology is a subdiscipline of anthropology that draws from the more traditional binaries of biology as a life science and anthropology as a social science. It aims to orient human biology within a larger framework of the human experience. Biological anthropology focuses on anatomical, physiological and genetic differences in past and contemporary human and non-human primate populations, and is a critical area of study for any student interested in biology, and particularly the health sciences.
Linguistic Anthropology explores human language with a particular focus on language ideologies (attitudes and values about language), language as a human practice (“languaging”), language as a key aspect of being human (including the role of language in human evolution as well as language contact and change over time), and the ways that language as practice intersects with other aspects of human being-in-the-world such as culture, identity, and community. Linguistic anthropology explores both the potentially universal human aspects of human language and the importance of ethnographic context for understanding how humans communicate with one another.
Medical and Genetic Anthropology is a subfield of anthropology that draws upon social, cultural, biological, and linguistic anthropology to better understand those factors which influence health and wellbeing, the experience and distribution of illness, the prevention and treatment of sickness, healing processes, the social relations of therapy management, and the cultural importance and utilization of pluralistic medical systems.
Utilizing ethnographic, ethnological and ethnohistorical tools, as well as information supplied by these subdisciplines, the anthropologist comparatively studies cultures and the processes of human development. These findings have many practical uses.
JUDITH M.S. PINE Chair and Professor. BA Kansas State University, MA, PhD, University of Washington.
NATALIE BALOY Assistant Professor. BA, Eastern Michigan University; MA, University of British Columbia; PhD, University of British Columbia.
DANIEL L. BOXBERGER Professor Emeritus. BA, The Evergreen State College; MA, Western Washington University; PhD, University of British Columbia.
MARIANNE F. BRASIL Assistant Professor. BA, University of California, Berkeley; PhD, University of California, Berkeley.
SEAN BRUNA Associate Professor. BA, University of Chicago; MA, University of Chicago; MA, University of New Mexico; PhD, University of New Mexico.
SARAH K. CAMPBELL Professor Emerita. BA, Indiana University; MA, PhD, University of Washington.
JERALD D. EK Assistant Professor. BA, Western Washington University; MA, Institute of Archaeology, University College London; PhD, State University of New York, Albany.
JOSHUA FISHER Professor. BA, Bucknell University; MA, University of Oregon; PhD, University of Oregon.
JOYCE D. HAMMOND Professor Emerita. BA, MA, Brown University; PhD, University of Illinois.
TODD A. KOETJE Associate Professor. BA, University of Washington; MA, State University of New York, Binghamton; PhD, University of Tennessee.
JAMES LOUCKY Professor Emeritus. BA, Haverford College; MA, PhD, University of California, Los Angeles.
ROBERT C. MARSHALL Professor Emeritus. BA, Youngstown State University; PhD, University of Pittsburgh.
TESLA MONSON Associate Professor. BA, Princeton University; MA, San Francisco State University; PhD, University of California, Berkeley.
MARIANGELA MIHAI Assistant Professor. BA, Emory University; MA, Cornell University, Ithaca; PhD, Cornell University, Ithaca.
M.J. MOSHER Professor Emerita. BS, Metropolitan State University; MA, University of Colorado at Denver; PhD, University of Kansas.
KATHLEEN YOUNG Associate Professor. BA, MA, Western Washington University; PhD, Simon Fraser University.
YEON JUNG YU Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor. BA, Olivet College; MA, University of Southern California; PhD, Stanford University.
The department’s faculty and staff invite questions about the program and its career potential. Persons seeking more information should visit the department in Arntzen Hall or call 360-650-3620. Written inquiries should be directed to the Department of Anthropology, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9083. The department website is https://chss.wwu.edu/anthropology.
Students are eligible to declare the anthropology major if they have successfully completed the following core courses: ANTH 201 and ANTH 301 and either ANTH 210 or ANTH 215 or ANTH 247.
Students are advised to declare their major early in their academic career. Transfer students should declare after completion of one of the core courses listed above. Upper-division courses are restricted to declared majors during the first three days of registration and some courses may be available to majors only. Transfers and freshmen who are interested in the anthropology/biology major should seek advisement as soon as possible. Anthropology/biology BA or BS majors need to begin the chemistry/biology sequences required prior to declaring the major. This will assist them in shortening considerably the many quarters necessary for the anthropology/biology major.
Other Departmental Information
Opportunities for field work and library research in each of the subfields of anthropology are available. Archaeological field school surveys are conducted alternate summers. The department engages in a series of funded projects, providing a wide diversity of research opportunities. Library holdings include resources for those pursuing cross-cultural and culture area research.
Degrees offered are the BA and the BA in Education. In addition, a combined anthropology/biology BA or BS major is offered.
Careers for graduates in anthropology lie in both the public and private sectors of the economy and are increasing. Opportunities may be found in teaching (public school, community college and college), federal and state agencies, social services, applied health settings, museums and international business.
Students seeking to complete a BA degree in anthropology within a four-year time span should have completed the following courses by the start of their junior year. Major omissions from this list will make it difficult or impossible to complete this degree within two additional years.
Students seeking to complete a BA degree in anthropology with an archaeology concentration within a four-year time span should have completed the following courses by the start of their junior year. Major omissions from this list will make it difficult or impossible to complete this degree within two additional years.
Students seeking to complete a BA or BS degree in biology/anthropology (human biology emphasis) within a four-year time span should have completed the following courses by the start of their junior year. Major omissions from this list will make it difficult or impossible to complete this degree within two additional years.
ProgramsUndergraduate MajorUndergraduate Combined MajorUndergraduate MinorGraduate
Courses numbered X37; X97; 300, 400, 500 are described in the University Academic Policies section of this catalog.