Welcome to the UCI Department of Anthropology website!


As you explore the different research interests, course offerings, faculty, student and staff biographies, I am confident you will discover why UCI Anthropology has a longstanding reputation for groundbreaking anthropological scholarship that sits at the forward edge of the discipline. Our community is composed of dynamic colleagues at all stages of their careers, whose sociocultural, linguistic anthropological and science and technology studies research match the broadest scopes of humanistic and social scientific endeavor and inquiry. Whether it is in unpacking the human dimensions of the farthest reaches of space science, or those implicit cultural norms and sociopolitical commitments undergirding the aesthetics of Southern California street signage, and everything in between, the research agendas of our award winning faculty and graduate students track many of the most compelling questions of our contemporary moment. If your own interests concern the precarity and violence facing Indigenous, minoritized, migrant and diasporic populations in and from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and the U.S., the impact that pharmaceutical, chemical or extractive industries have in Africa or South Asia, the enduring digital divides between the Global North and South and their economic and financial effects, and even the emergent socialities of virtual worlds and on-line platforms, you will find both fellow travelers and leading voices among our scholarly community.

But research is not all we do. As a department in one of the leading public universities in the world, we pride ourselves in being as committed to our pedagogical mission as we are to our scholarship. Graduate students in our department undertake a unique, rigorous, two year program of required courses that introduce them to the long (often controversial) history of anthropology, its enduring theoretical and methodological vitalities, and the skills and techniques of project design, proposal drafting, and data collection and analysis that make for successful and productive careers as anthropological investigators, whether within or outside the academy. The latter is evidenced by our distinguished alumni, many of whom have found success at top tier research and teaching universities, in government and non-government agencies and organizations, and in private industry.

Finally, I hope you will take a moment to explore the various ways in which our faculty and students make the most of UC Irvine’s longstanding commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration, a commitment that informed its very founding back in the 1960s. Many of our core faculty members hold affiliations with other centers, departments and schools on campus. Our networks of collaboration include members of the Departments of Comparative Literature, Criminology, Law & Society, English, Global & International Studies, the School of Information and Computer Science and the School of Law, to name just a few. Likewise we encourage our graduate students to explore the interdisciplinary dimensions of their scholarly interests, and encourage their participation in organizations like the Center for Critical Korean Studies, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the Center for Law, Society and Culture, and many others.

It is for these reasons, and many others, that I was honored to accept the position of Chair of the Department of Anthropology in 2022. I look forward to working with our dynamic administrative team – Melissa Valdez, Monica Rodriguez and Aubrey Bayoneta – to continue UCI Anthropology’s well-established tradition of producing groundbreaking scholarship in an environment of welcoming and supportive collegiality.

Justin Richland
Professor and Chair


connect with us


© UC Irvine School of Social Sciences - 3151 Social Sciences Plaza, Irvine, CA 92697-5100 - 949.824.2766