A lecture by Luis Vivanco

In Class with Prof. Vivanco

Why Anthropology?

We are especially committed to providing students with an understanding of different human populations and a sensitivity to cultural differences. We do this by offering a variety of courses in all four subfields: sociocultural anthropology, archaeology, physical/biological anthropology, and linguistic anthropology. Our advising program, including the Teacher Advisor Program (TAP) of first-year seminars, emphasizes individual attention and a developing a lasting mentoring relationship between faculty and students.

In addition to the major, we offer a minor in anthropology that helps you develop a deep understanding of at least two of the four subfields. We feel a strong obligation to provide students who aren't concentrating in anthropology with a sense of the discipline and appreciation for the diversity of human kind. Curious to hear advice and stories from graduated students?

Anti-Racism Resources

UVM Media Spotlight:  “How a Three-Word Phrase Sabotaged Black Voting Rights, and How They Can Be Reconstructed”

Black Lives Matter  - The Inter-Residence Assoc at UVM fully supports the Black Lives Matter taking place at our university. 

Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Chair Vanderbilt University, Poetry Editor of The Harvard Review,  Professor of English Major Jackson  - speaks at UVM's Amazing Grace: Finding Answers Together 

Finding Answers Together—Teach-In is a three-part series on systemic racism in the U.S. (YouTube)

Today, years of hard-fought civil liberty protections are under threat – and to influence lawmakers, we need to get involved.” ACLU -  https://www.aclu.org/action/   ACLU Vermont: https://www.acluvt.org/en/act

Indigenous Voices

Department of Anthropology Acknowledges Land Appropriation

The University of Vermont (a land grant institution) is located on N’dakinna, the traditional ancestral homeland of the Abenaki Peoples past and present. We acknowledge and honor with gratitude the land and waterways and the alnôbak (people) who have stewarded N’dakinna throughout the generations. Anthropologists at UVM recognize, study, and incorporate in their classes issues surrounding the loss and seizure of traditional lands which has and continues to threaten indigenous peoples around the world, many of whom also lack federal recognition.

"What it means to be Abenaki in Vermont Today, Produced with Vermont Folklife Center."


Missisquoi has always been maintained as a central gathering place, for families who have always lived here and those that became a part of the community.”


Image of a Vermont River

Nebi: Abenaki Ways of Knowing Water - Created to help preserve these stories for Abenaki and other people. While the core content of these stories belong to the Abenaki People, each story teller provides their own unique interpretation. With stories by Chief Don Stevens, Chief Roger Longtoe Sheehan, Chief Eugene Rich, Melody Brook, Lucy Cannon Neel, Cody Hemenway, Morgan Lamphere, Bea Nelson, Fred Wiseman, and Kerry Wood.  Short film by Vince Franke of Peregrine Productions, LLC2019, in support of the watershed education programs of Lake Champlain Sea Grant, UVM Extension, the Rubenstein School. Funding was provided by NOAA, Sea Grant, and an anonymous donor. https://abenaki-edu.org/nebi-abenaki-ways-of-knowing-water/  

A versatile degree

anthro cornfield

Our approach allows you to explore the discipline through multiple lenses—what comes into focus is a unique perspective leaving you with many avenues to craft your own interests and research. Anthropology opens doors to many career paths: courses provide you with analytical, reasoning and problem-solving skills critical to success in business, research, education and other professions.

Former Student profiles

The Fleming Museum: on-campus lab

The Fleming Museum on the UVM campus is home to a collection of over 24,000 objects from all over the world – a treasure house of artifacts, presenting opportunities for anthropological research, independent projects, internships and work study positions. The James B. Petersen Memorial Gallery of Native American Cultures at the Fleming is a permanent anthropological exhibit exploring the material cultures and artistic traditions of indigenous peoples of North America, including Vermont, through art and artifacts from the museum's collections.

Hands-on field experience

clark anthro

At UVM, you will gain practical field experience in courses such as Field Work in Archaeology, Methods of Ethnographic Field Work, Human Osteology and Archaeology and Laboratory Archaeology.

Read Ariadne Argyros' story!

An international focus

Faculty members and students conduct research in places all over the globe, and influence the international nature of course offerings. Classes focus on a variety of cultures ranging from Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, China, Eastern Europe, Africa and South Asia.

Specialty topics based on current research

Anthropology is a living discipline, and faculty in our department regularly teach topical classes related to their ongoing research. Contemporary topics include Food and Culture; Anthropology of Media; Culture, Health and Healing; Street Children; Bioarchaeology of Identities; Language, Gender and Sexuality; Archaeology of the American Southwest; Language and Mind; and Heritage Management.

Anthropology reimagined

In the nineteenth century, American anthropology was organized into the four subfields we know today—sociocultural anthropology, archaeology, physical/biological anthropology, and linguistic anthropology. American anthropology strives to be holistic, a legacy championed by Franz Boas who once described four-field anthropology as a “sacred bundle.” American anthropologists have fought to defend this four-field legacy, and as a result dozens of American universities have anthropology departments with each subfield represented, including UVM anthropology.

Anthropology at UVM

The mission of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Vermont is to produce influential research in anthropology integrated with an outstanding undergraduate liberal arts education. Drawing on the interdisciplinary four-field tradition, we emphasize strong training in contemporary anthropological theory, research methods, and ethical practices, with the goal of preparing students to think critically and act as engaged citizens for the common good. Together as students and faculty, our scholarly community mobilizes anthropological knowledge to address questions of culture and its role in a diverse and changing world.

  • Our program introduces students to the distinct areas of anthropological knowledge, which gives them an opportunity to follow a path that corresponds most closely to their interests.
  • Specialized research within the subfields benefits from a holistic grounding in the larger questions and concerns that interest the whole discipline.
  • In recent years, some cutting-edge areas of research have emerged that cross subdisciplinary boundaries, such as biocultural research and ethnoarchaeology.
  • Students benefit from conversations faculty from different subfields have with each other about common and divergent perspectives.

Our vision

The Anthropology Department at the University of Vermont strives to be a leading undergraduate four-field anthropology program excelling in research on the diversity of humans and their cultures, providing students with a high-quality comprehensive education in anthropology grounded in the liberal arts, and addressing pressing human problems shared over time and space.

Student learning outcomes

As part of the UVM Assessment Initiative, the following Student Learning Outcomes have been established by the Department of Anthropology.  Students graduating with a BA in Anthropology from UVM should be able to:

  • Provide an anthropological definition of culture and give examples of how culture shapes human life in diverse ways
  • Illustrate the ways in which anthropologists examine and analyze human diversity across time and space
  • Recognize how the four subfields of anthropology (cultural, linguistic, biological, archaeological) differ in focus, methodologies, and conceptual approaches
  • Demonstrate how an anthropological approach can be applied to a range of complex social issues in diverse settings
  • Identify ethical dilemmas in anthropology and ethical principles in research and other practice
  • Develop and communicate anthropological research questions, access and synthesize scholarly literature, and outline appropriate research methods and approaches

Anthropology Statement on Racism

The Department of Anthropology at the University of Vermont is firmly committed to active antiracist efforts.

Recognizing that the discipline of anthropology has a long legacy of racist theory and practice, we simultaneously remain optimistic that the discipline’s history of challenging scientific racism, celebrating diversity, and engaging in social justice work creates an opening for us to strengthen our anti-racist scholarship and teaching. Only through an intentional and careful decolonization of the discipline, and of the spaces of our work therein, is this possible.

As a department in a predominantly white institution in a predominantly white state, we emphasize that our shared commitment to antiracism must address the histories of eugenic science, settler colonialism, indigenous erasure, and white supremacy that are intertwined with our particular institution and those of our state. We strive to make our department, and by extension our university, one that is more than just inclusive, but also inclusively just -- a place where people of diverse backgrounds and identities can grow, learn, thrive, and celebrate those backgrounds and identities We recognize that not everybody who we teach and interact with is in the same place in relation to racism and antiracism: some are just starting the journey while others have known it their whole lives. Some know these things only incidentally, others intersectionally.

We also recognize that being antiracist doesn’t simply involve making a declaration, but also identifying and taking concrete action. As a department, as a community embedded in other communities, and as individuals, we commit ourselves to the following:

  • In the spirit of decolonizing our curriculum, ensuring that our courses provide a wide range of scholars, thinkers, and voices from various cultural, racial, gender, class, and ethnic backgrounds, and revising our curriculum where it does not.
  • Working to ensure that our curriculum and courses meet the needs, interests, and passions of the diverse students with whom we work.
  • Openly acknowledging and creating formal and informal spaces in our courses to address contemporary social movements that challenge ongoing racial injustice in our society, among them the Black Lives Matter movement.
  • Promoting and participating in rigorously-informed, critical self-reflection and engaging in willingness to dialogue, especially about individual and institutional complicity in oppressive orders that uphold white supremacy.
  • Exploring ways that white supremacy intersects and interacts with heteronormativity, patriarchy, androcentrism, and class bias.
  • Joining in interventions, in both our local communities and the communities in which we work as anthropologists, to counter systemic, institutional racism.
  • Recognizing the importance of the tool of calling in (as opposed to just calling out) in the contexts in which we speak and listen.
  • Engaging as active participants in identifying and replacing structures that reproduce inequality in our own institutional spaces with structures that combat inequality and are genuinely transformative.