Anthropologists study the way diverse groups of people understand and live in a variety of settings, ranging from urban environments to rural villages all over the world. They are interested in such questions as: What does it mean to be human? What activities define the social life of groups, and how are they related? How do the members of groups communicate? What is the material evidence for their social and biological history? What are the historical, social, political, economic, and environmental forces that have helped to shape the experiences of particular groups of people, both in the past and in the contemporary world? How do human societies change, and why? Anthropologists apply this knowledge for the benefit of the peoples whose communities they study. Anthropology includes four broad subfields, all of which are currently taught at UCR.
- Sociocultural Anthropology is the comparative study of communities in their local and global contexts;
- Archaeology investigates past societies through their material and written remains;
- Biological Anthropology focuses on the evolution of the human as a species and the interaction of human biological variability with culture;
- Linguistic Anthropology explores the interconnections of language, culture, thought, and social structure.
As an anthropology major, students take at least one introductory and one upper-division course in each of the four subfields.