Anthropology is the study of what makes us human. Anthropologists take a broad, holistic approach to understanding the many different aspects of the human experience. Whether conducting research in hospitals, labs, or street markets; examining the meanings of war, urban life, or transnational identity; or analyzing the very research methods of anthropologists themselves, the anthropology faculty at George Mason takes on some of the most pressing social, behavioral, and political issues of our day.
Anthropologists consider the past, through archaeology, to see how human groups lived hundreds or thousands of years ago and what was important to them.They consider what makes up our biological bodies and genetics, as well as our bones, diet, and health. Anthropologists also compare humans with other animals (most often, other primates like monkeys and chimpanzees) to see what we have in common with them and what makes us unique. Anthropologists also try to understand how people interact in social relationships and use these comparisons to understand their own society. Many anthropologists work abroad as well as in their own societies looking at economics, health, education, law, and policy (to name just a few topics). When trying to understand these complex issues, they keep in mind what they know about biology, culture, types of communication, and how humans lived in the past.
For information about the research and teaching foci of the Anthropology program, see Sociocultural Anthropology and Archaeology, Bioarchaeology, and Biological Anthropology.