UCR Anthropology is committed to a socially engaged, critical anthropology that recognizes the importance of the sometimes contradictory unity of approaches to understanding the human condition in all its dimensions. It has a finely tuned sense of historical temporality that views change as normal as reproduction. It takes account of the existence and potential significance of the variability and diversity of human beings, as both social and natural beings in space, place, and time. It provides culture, ensembles of social relations, and the human body itself with sociohistorial contingency. It does not separate the historical development of human societies or the human species from the events, contradictions, and forces that shaped their development in time and space. It knows that human activity can effect significant change as witnessed by the diverse array of societies that existed in the past and continue to form the present. It acknowledges the complex interrelations of consciousness, communication, and the subjectivity of individuals in particular sets of social relations. It engages rather than shies away from the critical social, moral, and political issues of the day. It knows that people occasionally do make their own history, and that some trajectories of change potentially have better outcomes than others.
The faculty and students are committed to an integrated and integrating concept of the discipline. They view the traditional subfields—applied, archaeological, sociocultural, biological, and linguistic anthropology--as cross cut by foci that bring faculty and students together in ways that reinforce the unity of the discipline rather than its divisions. The foci articulate contemporary or emerging concerns among anthropologists and the wider public.