Sociocultural anthropology is the study of human similarities and differences and their impact on a wide range of social phenomena. The salient features of our epoch—global communications, a world market, mass migrations, urban growth, and intra- as well as international conflict—underscore the importance of understanding societies in all their cultural complexity and variety. Anthropologists innovate methods uniquely suited to studying social phenomena at different scales within a historical and political context. Through a range of research methods anthropologists analyze what unites diverse peoples as well as what distinguishes them from one another.
The theoretical and methodological approaches used by anthropologists are interdisciplinary, comparative, and holistic. Students of anthropology learn critical approaches to the study of culture, how to use participant-observation fieldwork methods, how to conduct ethnographic research, how to gather and explain complex data, and how to use anthropological knowledge in making and debating policy.
George Mason University’s distinguished anthropology program faculty covers a broad spectrum of theoretical specializations, as well as world regions—Central America, the Caribbean, South America, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, and the United States.
SOCIOCULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY CORE FACULTY
Andrew Bickford (Ph.D., Rutgers University)— war and culture, militarization, security, biotechnology, bioethics, synthetic biology, medical anthropology (health issues in, and related to, the military, war, and conflict), masculinity, post-socialist societies, political anthropology, climate change and security, giant squid and oceans, Europe and the United States
Cortney Hughes Rinker (Ph.D., University of California, Irvine)—Islam, reproduction, aging and the end-of-life, clinical and religious ethics, medical anthropology, development, applied anthropology, Middle East and North Africa, United States
Rashmi Sadana (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley) – urban ethnography, mass transit and megacities, language politics, ethnography of literature, modernity and identity, nationalism, colonialism, postcolonialism, globalization, India
Anne Schiller (Ph.D., Cornell University)—cultural identity and heritage preservation, indigenous peoples, Italy, Indonesia
Linda J. Seligmann (Ph.D., University of Illinois, Urbana)—political economy, gender/class/ethnicity, transracial/transnational adoption, Latin America, Andes
Susan R. Trencher (Ph.D., Catholic University of America)—history of anthropology, anthropological theory and practice, anthropology of anthropology, American culture
Sociocultural Anthropologists in Other Departments/Schools at George Mason
Jennifer Ashley (Ph.D. Brown University; Asst. Prof. Global Affairs)—Latin America, social movements, political subjectivity, youth studies, media, journalism, information technology
Kevin Avruch (Ph.D., University of California, San Diego; Dean School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution), culture and ethnic conflict, peacekeeping
Lisa Breglia (Ph.D., Rice University; Assoc. Prof. Global Affairs)—Natural and cultural resources, intellectual property, World Heritage, and global environmentalism
Susan Crate (Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Prof. Environmental Science and Policy)—cultural ecology, circumpolar region
Leslie Dwyer (Ph.D., Princeton; Assoc. Prof. Conflict Analysis and Anthropology), violence, gender, post-conflict social life, transitional justice, and the politics of memory and identity, Indonesia
Susan Hirsch (Ph.D., Duke University: Prof. Conflict Resolution and Anthropology)—legal anthropology, sociolegal studies, discourse analysis, gender theory, East Africa, Islam
Niklas Hultin (Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania; Asst. Prof. Global Affairs) —West Africa, political and legal anthropology, human rights, law and law enforcement, small arms, information practices, banking
Roger Lancaster (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley; Prof. Cultural Studies and Anthropology)—social inequality, gender/sexuality, Mexico and Central America
Joseph Maxwell (Ph.D., University of Chicago; Prof. College of Education and Human Development)—culture and education
Jorge Osterling (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley; Assoc. Prof. Multicultural and Multilingual Education)—educational anthropology, education and immigrants
Lisa R. Pawloski (Ph.D., Indiana University, Prof. Nutrition and Food Studies)—nutritional anthropology, adolescent health, West Africa, Thailand
Janine Wedel (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley; Prof. Schar School of Policy and Government)—corruption, governance, foreign aid, Eastern Europe