Faculty and doctoral students in sociocultural anthropology at Washington University engage in cutting-edge scholarship across many conceptual themes. Some of our core research initiatives involve:
Politics, law, and religion
Medical anthropology and global health
Psychology and mental health
Gender and sexuality
Transnational migration and population studies
Science and technology studies
Political ecology and environmental studies
Cognition and culture
Collaborative Research and Training
We have been developing several broad, multi-disciplinary collaborations involving faculty and graduate students working together on research and training.
Social Studies of Institutions
One collaborative activity involves faculty and graduate students examining theories and cultural practices of institutions, from science labs and mosques to courtrooms, art studios and hospitals. We draw theoretical and comparative inspiration from pragmatism in philosophy and sociology, political theoretic debates about autonomy, traditions, and rights, and sociological studies of value, organizations, and institutions. We have developed an international research and training collaboration on anthropologies of institutions with the University of Amsterdam and the EHESS (Paris), which gives students the possibility of joining a three-country graduate student cohort, which travels across these three research sites. For the Anthropologies of Institutions webpage, click here.
Anthropology faculty and graduate students also collaborate around research projects and questions in medical anthropology, public health, and global health. These projects span collaborations with the Washington University Institute for Public Health, the Center for Global Health, the School of Medicine, and the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, and students may take relevant coursework in public health, social work, law, and medicine across these schools. Research focuses on a range of topics related to health and illness, including cultures of biomedicine and the life sciences, sexual and reproductive health, psychiatric and psychological anthropology, chronic illness, and healthcare policy, and contributes to a variety of theoretical and methodological orientations, from critical medical anthropology and political economy to person-centered ethnography and engaged practice. The University’s Medical Scientist Training Program also facilitates multi-disciplinary research for students who wish to pursue an MD alongside a PhD in anthropology. Complementing these research and training efforts is an undergraduate major track, “Global Health and Environment,” as well as a highly selective, four-year program in “Medicine and Society.”
Politics and Environment
Faculty and students also collaborate around issues of culture, the environment, development, and politics. Key themes of this focus area include how populations are governed and regulated; the dynamics of agriculture and food production and consumption; the substantial influence of corporations on science, the public health, and the environment; and the politics of natural resource management, extraction, and utilization. Research in this area draws on a range of theoretical approaches and conversations, including political ecology, political economy, the anthropology of development, science and technology studies, and anthropological demography. Faculty and students working on environmental issues and topics have been funded by I-CARES (International Center for Advanced Renewable Energy and Sustainability) at Washington University, among other sources.
For information on additional departmental workshops that bring faculty and graduate students together around conceptual, methodological, and area-specific issues, click here.