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Department of Anthropology

Graduate Studies

The Program And Its Goals

Vanderbilt University has created a unique and focused program of education and research on the social organization, culture, archaeology, history, and linguistics of the peoples of Latin America. The graduate program in anthropology provides intensive training and research opportunities to a small, select group of Ph.D. candidates with the objective of producing scholars who will be successful in obtaining teaching and research positions. A high faculty-student ratio allows small seminars, close interaction, and collaboration with faculty in field research. While the regional focus of the department is Latin America, formal training stresses broad preparation in all of the four subfields of anthropology, with an emphasis on social theory. The goal of the department is to educate a prominent group of professionals experienced in field research, but possessing the theoretical breadth to teach and produce work that is of significance beyond specializations. This strategy has proven to be successful, as measured by graduates' publications, research, and placement in tenure-track positions.


The Department

The Department of Anthropology is a research and training center with modern computer facilities, artifact and osteological collections, GIS and cognitive anthropology laboratories, and research and travel funding. The department has one of the largest teams of Latin American scholars in the nation, with thirteen full-time positions  in addition to scholars from other departments and schools of the University and adjunct faculty. Graduate students benefit from the high level of research activity and are encouraged to participate in faculty-run fieldwork projects and collaborate on resulting publications. At present, faculty members are conducting major cultural, linguistic, historical, and archaeological projects in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Brazil, and the department has institutional affiliations with the universities and research facilities in each of these nations. The department publishes the Vanderbilt University Publications in Anthropology, a series presenting scientific research in all subdisciplines of anthropology, and the Vanderbilt Institute of Mesoamerican Archaeology Monograph Series, which publishes archaeological research by Vanderbilt faculty, Ph.D.s, and other scholars. The department is also the editorial seat of Ancient Mesoamerica, an international journal of Mesoamerican archaeology and ethnohistory, published by Cambridge University Press. We are currently expanding the ethnology wing of our faculty and graduate program and we encourage applicants who will pursue careers in cultural anthropology.

The University And Its Facilities

Vanderbilt University is a private institution enrolling 10,000 students in ten schools. The University has a traditional and growing strength in Latin American studies, as reflected in its faculty, library holdings, and campus activities. Students and faculty with interests in Latin America come together in the Center for Latin American and Iberian Studies, which maintains its own publication and lecture series and provides student funding. Collections in the anthropology of Latin America are one of the strengths of the Vanderbilt library.