The Department of Anthropology at The University of Iowa was founded in 1969 under the leadership of June Helm (1924 - 2004). Since then, the Department has grown substantially and enhanced both its national and international reputation. There are currently 18 faculty members in Anthropology, of which 17 represent the four subfields, and 1 teaches in Museum Studies. Our faculty members have served as presidents of the American Anthropological Association, the Society of Economic Anthropology, the Society for Cultural Anthropology, the Association of Feminist Anthropology and, currently, Iowa Museum Association. They have also served as editors of Medical Anthropology Quarterly, American Ethnologist, American Anthropologist, and the Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory.
The Department offers training in the discipline's four major subfields—cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and archaeology—as well as in topical areas such as medical anthropology, feminist anthropology, palaeoanthropology, European archaeology, and environmental anthropology. We maintain close ties with the Office of the State Archaeologist, the Museum of Natural History, International Programs, and the College of Public Health.
Our research reflects the wide range of topics, theoretical approaches, and methodologies characteristic of anthropology at large. And yet, we all share a goal of documenting and understanding the various ways of being human on a planet now inhabited by seven billion people who are interconnected through ancient migration paths, settler colonialism, the digital revolution, and many other kinds of encounters. Our teaching, research and public engagement are animated by anthropology’s appreciation for and study of all aspects of human difference.
As researchers, teachers, and members of our varied communities, we have committed ourselves to ongoing discussion, reflection and action to engage issues of diversity, inclusion, economic and social justice, and decolonization in our intellectual and institutional lives. We recognize that this difficult work is ongoing and accept responsibility to engage anti-racist and decolonial goals as they relate to curriculum, pedagogy, hiring decisions, our institution’s student body, and civic engagement.