The department has expanded significantly and strategically in the past seven years. It has grown to 21 faculty, specializing exclusively in sociocultural and linguistic anthropology. The department also has a wide network of affiliates across the campus, from computer science to the humanities and the business school. A large cluster of faculty works in the emerging fields of the anthropology of science, medicine, and technology, leading the department to national prominence in these areas. Five faculty work in the anthropology of markets and finance. Several faculty have expertise in language and culture, particularly semiotics and pragmatics. Many focus on gender and sexuality, and the department boasts a wide range of expertise on the relationship between globalization and identity. Two faculty are exploring social lives in virtual worlds, while several others are investigating--and producing--new media, design, and film. The department has become a leading center for the anthropology of law and has strong ties to the new School of Law at UC Irvine. While the department maintains expertise in traditional anthropological topics, its faculty are also at the forefront of research in new areas of anthropological engagement like industrial design; global financial markets; diaspora; population and public policy; technological innovation; new forms of mass media; ethnographic film; and global governance.
In addition, the Department has a strong interdisciplinary vision, with research and teaching interests in economic anthropology, political and legal anthropology, social history and social change, the anthropology of science, technology and medicine, anthropology of finance, identity and ethnicity, gender and feminist studies, sexuality studies, urban anthropology, modernity and development, religion, visual anthropology, and the arts and expressive culture. The Department also has a strong emphasis on the study of contemporary issues, especially those concerned with emergent, fluid, and complex global phenomena such as international flows of goods, peoples, images, and ideas; the relationship between global processes and local practices; immigration, citizenship, and refugees; population politics; violence and political conflict; ethnicity and nationalism; gender and family; food, health, and technological innovation; law; development and economic transformation; urban studies; and environmental issues.
Using a range of methods to study everything from traditional Chinese medicine to cyberspace, faculty and graduate students strive to understand the wrenching changes of global connection and disconnection. Ten faculty have expertise in Asia or the Pacific, four in Africa, and half in Islamic societies. The department also has a strong area focus on U.S. borderzones, as well as immigration and diaspora worldwide. Faculty and graduate students are involved in interdisciplinary centers and programs on campus including the Center for Ethnography, the Center in Law, Society and Culture, and programs in critical theory, feminist studies, and visual studies.
Central to the department's work is the understanding that we must critically reflect on the constitution of the social sciences and the disciplines at large as we push the boundaries of anthropology and link up with interdisciplinary studies, both in our scholarship and in our pedagogy. The department welcomes applications to our graduate program from students interested in a highly selective and intensive program that emphasizes current developments in anthropological theory and innovative methodologies for the study of contemporary issues.