The University of California at Riverside


One of the nine University of California Campuses, UCR lies on 1,200 park like acres at the base of the Box Springs Mountains on the eastern edge of Riverside. Located 50 miles east of Los Angeles and ninety miles north of San Diego, the campus is within an hour's drive of Southern California beaches, lakes, mountains, deserts, and ski resorts. Now the fastest growing member of the University of California system, it is expected that the campus' current enrollment of around 9,000 will rise to 15,000 by the year 2005.


To be considered for financial aid, applications to the graduate program should be submitted by December 1 for admission the following Fall. Applicants are required to submit transcripts of undergraduate and graduate work, examples of written work, 3 letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and the results of the Graduate Record Examination.

For an application packet and information concerning other requirements contact

      Graduate Assistant
      Dawn Whelchel

      Dept. of Anthropology
      University of California, Riverside
      Riverside, CA. 92521-0418
      Phone: (909) 787-5394


The Department offers Teaching Assistantships, Readerships, and Research Assistantships. Some block grants from the Graduate Division and other campus fellowships are also available, as are some employment opportunities in the Archaeological Research Unit. The Faculty also encourages students to seek grants and fellowships within and outside the University.


Members of the Sociocultural Anthropology faculty, working in diverse areas of the world with a wide range of theoretical concerns, have a strong interest in Latin America and in the social worlds of the many diasporas here in Southern California. Because we take a global and transnational perspective on the communities we study, we emphasize that graduate students must be able to carry out multi-site field research. Such work requires high language competency as well as pre-dissertation fieldwork training, essential to solid graduate preparation for doctoral caliber research and work. We also stress that students must be well-versed in both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, and we encourage students to participate in team research with other students and with faculty.

As anthropologists situated on the frontiers of late twentieth century Southern California, we are compelled not only to explore the diverse cultural worlds of which we are a part, but to address the politics in which our neighboring communities survive and re-invent the conditions of their daily lives. Given that we are located at the crossroads of two great world regions -- the Americas and Asia -- our focus on the cultures, histories, and politics of "borders" is timely and relevant.

Many of the Sociocultural faculty incorporate historical analyses in their intellectual projects; our analyses of socio-cultural change emphasize the emergent aspects of all cultural life, viewing "history" as not only the study of the past, but as continuously enacted within the present. As such, we are committed to pushing the borders of our participation, and that of the students, within the cultural worlds that become fields of theoretical investigation. By re-situating experiences of fieldwork within the rubric of practical action, we explore ways in which we, as professional anthropologists, can participate in the aspirations and projects of the communities we choose to study. This means that, on the one hand, we proceed on the assumption that theory must be grounded in long-term empirical research. On the other hand, we are committed to an action-oriented or practical anthropology, one that asserts the importance of sensitive analysis of and practical service to the communities we study and live within. Epistemologically we seek to base our work in empiricallygrounded fieldwork.


The graduate program is designed to provide students with an in-depth and broad understanding of social theory, as well as with the theoretical and methodological tools to successfully complete original doctoral level research. Students are expected to select faculty advisers early in their graduate careers and to work closely with them in planning their programs of study.

In the first two years of course work, students take the year long seminar in the History of Social Theory, as well as methodology courses. In this period it is expected that students will begin formulating their research proposals, complete appropriate language training, and take specialized courses related to their specific research interests. During this period students are also expected to fulfill their breadth requirements by taking two upper division or graduate courses in two of the other three subdisciplines (Archaeology, Biological Anthropology, and Linguistic Anthropology). All students are expected to have reading and writing fluency in one or more languages other than English for their fieldwork and scholarship.

In their second or third year students take the Master's Level Exam in Sociocultural Anthropology, which is based primarily on the History of Theory Seminar and a grasp of comparative ethnography.


Stratification and Power: Class, Ethnicity, and Nationalism A major research focus of the sociocultural faculty concerns the problems and prospects facing plural societies today. The way in which dominant cultures and ethnic groups influence nation building and marginalize other ethnic groups, and the rise of cultural nationalisms and resistance movements in response to them is of great interest to several faculty, while others are interested in the ways that class, ethnicity, gender, and other forms of difference are joined to the control of labor and resources, and in the power relations and status ascriptions that mediate this control.

Transcending the temporal and spatial constructs of modern nation-states and their official boundaries and disciplines, transnational communities demand new theories and methodologies. Studies of transnationalism are refiguring the discipline and the ways in which anthropologists and other social scientists conceptualize not only communities, but ethnicity, gender, nations, and the "self." Several of the faculty have ongoing research in transnational communities. Lying within the greater border area of Mexico and the United States and with over 100 language communities -- many of which are transnational -- Southern California is a convenient site for entry into transnational research.

Historical Anthropology
We are concerned both with the blurring of the disciplinary boundaries between history and anthropology and with the changing history of anthropology's relationship with colonialism and neo-colonialism. Working with the assumption that an understanding of the present demands an understanding of the past, many of the faculty are engaged in archival research, in collecting oral histories, and in understanding the diachronic sensibilities of the peoples we study.

Anthropology of Women and Gender
Here the emphasis is on the ways in which women's positions and gender relations constitute politico-cultural processes, and on the place of women in post- and neo-colonial settings, feminist ethnographic writing, gender and colonialism, and women's experiences within contexts of "development." Faculty working in this area examine the relationship between feminisms and anthropologies, and the current debates concerning gender issues in cross-cultural contexts.

Cognitive Anthropology
"Culture" is seen as a system of distributed knowledge -- the systemic device for integrating diverse individual knowledge and emotion into a working whole. Concerns include the ways in which cognitive and affective diversity relate to economic and political power, to gender, class, "race," ethnicity, and nationality, and to markers of cultural participation. We focus on the description of such cognitive systems, on the correlation of cognitive differences with social attributes, and on the processes by which the system is created, transmitted, and reconstructed. Concerns also include the biological bases and payoffs that produced such a system and the role of language in coding, remembering, and transmitting much cultural knowledge.

Political Ecology and Applied Anthropologies of Social Change
Our faculty explore the social processes that join cultural, political, and human ecological systems, and strive to understand the impact of the individual, community, region, and national, and international policies in mediating the use and management of the environment. This research and theoretical area of interest also combines the concerns of political economy, and resource management to study the way in which political and cultural forces mediate the relationship between human populations and their natural resources. It studies, among other things, the politics of resource control, ethnobiology, land degradation, common property resource management, and "development" in national, regional, and community contexts.


The, graduate program is designed to provide each student with a basic knowledge of the subdisciplines of anthropology and specialized knowledge within the subdiscipline of Sociocultural Anthropology. Students are expected to select one or more faculty advisers early in their first year and to work closely with them in planing their programs.

Because many important theoretical concepts of Anthropology depend on findings in more than one of the subdisciplines, students are expected to acquire a basic understanding of three of the four subdisciplines, one of which is Sociocultural Anthropology.

As soon as possible after entrance, students are encouraged to become acquainted with members of the faculty with whom they share common interests and then select one or more temporary faculty advisers with whom they can review their previous training and general plans for graduate work, including choice of a permanent adviser. Specific course work and other means of preparation for the Master's Level Examination will be assigned in consultation between the student and the adviser(s).


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