Department Office and Administration
Bryan Hanks, Department Chair
Lynn Lantz, Assistant to the Chair and Office Coordinator
Phyllis Deasy, Graduate Secretary
The Department of Anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh covers a wide range of geographical and topical specialties in all four subfields of anthropology (social and cultural anthropology, archaeology, physical anthropology, and anthropological linguistics). Three special programs focus academic activities on particular faculty strengths—the Archaeology of Prehistoric Complex Societies; Medical Anthropology; and Ethnicity, Nationalism and the State—and are joined by a newly enhanced program in Physical Anthropology. All three are embedded in a context of anthropological training of broad theoretical and geographical scope.
The broad Archaeology offerings, with both New World and Old World coverages, stress the use of empirical archaeological data to evaluate theoretical approaches to the dynamics of change in human societies. Particular emphasis is placed on developing a comparative perspective on the evolution of social and political complexity in prehistory, based on field research currently underway in several Latin American countries, China, Mongolia, and Russia. To further these goals, the Center for Comparative Archaeology at the University of Pittsburgh fosters broad comparative study on the dynamics of long-term human social change through an open access archaeological database and a visiting scholar program.Faculty specialties include household archaeology, settlement patterns, origins of agriculture, development of tribes, chiefdoms and states, the rise of cities, human ecology, maritime adaptations, contact period studies, historical archaeology, cultural resource management, statistical analysis and computer applications (including Geographic Information Systems), and geoarchaeology. Affiliated faculty provide training in analysis of human skeletal remains, faunal remains, and ceramics.
The Department occasionally offers a summer field school in archaeology that investigates prehistoric/protohistoric (Iroquois) sites. Archaeology laboratories include computing facilities for spatial analysis and statistical research, wet-labs for radiometric and bulk isotope sample preparation, and x-ray fluorescence. Computers with extensive software are available in all of the subdisciplinary research quarters. Physical Anthropology facilities include a paleontology and osteology lab, environmental studies labs, and primate research labs in addition to a complete histology laboratory and computer facility.
The Department of Anthropology supports a broad-based program in Physical Anthropology which provides students with the background to study morphology, systematics, bio-archaeology, paleopathology, anatomy, and evolution. The students then define more specific foci for their own research. The faculty share joint appointments with the School of Medicine, the School of Dental Medicine, and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Several extensive collections of casts of fossil primates and skeletal material are located within the department. A wide variety of facilites for the study of functional, comparative, and developmental anatomy are available. These include a laboratory for experimental studies of functional morphology, a complete surgery suite, animal facilities, and image analysis equipment for structural analysis. Students are encouraged to use the resources and courses available in the School of Medicine, the School of Dental Medicine, the Graduate School of Public Health, and other health and biology-related schools and departments within the University. Close ties are also maintained with University-affiliated hospitals.
Social and Cultural Anthropology
The Social and Cultural Anthropology faculty conduct research and offer courses on a wide variety of methodological, theoretical, and ethnographic topics. The societies covered range from tribal and peasant societies to pluralistic nation states. Topical specializations include urban and development studies, medical anthropology, demography, economics, ecology, kinship and social organization, law and conflict management, folklore, ethnicity, nationalism and the state, language and culture, political economy, historical anthropology, and colonialism. Students are trained in methods of collecting and analyzing data, research design, and proposal writing. In geographical terms there is particular emphasis on South and East Asia and the Pacific and on Latin America. Cultural anthropologists collaborate with cognitive and medical scientists, linguists, historians, sociologists, political scientists, and scholars in urban, legal, and women's studies (among others) in other departments and schools in the University.