Department of Anthropology - Kendall College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Anthropology

Anthropology is the study of humanity. By investigating the diversity of cultures across the globe and studying human evolution and the ancient past, you entertain new perceptions on what makes life meaningful. Students delve into Homo sapiens’ context in communities to uncover a rich understanding of the human story.

The study of anthropology provides a solid foundation for careers in a wide range of areas such as international studies, global and community health, field archaeology, social work, museum work, education and business.

Look beyond the world as you have known it and explore the worlds that have been created in other times and places.

  • Anthropology Focus Areas

    North American anthropology prides itself on bridging four sub-fields: cultural anthropology, archeology, biological anthropology and linguistics.

    There are also additional interdisciplinary fields such as medical anthropology which spans: cultural and biological anthropology, bioarchaeology, archaeology and biological anthropology.

    Students who major in anthropology at TU take the introductory courses in all sub-fields but then can either choose to take advance courses from all four fields or focus their interest on one or two of the sub-fields.

  • Department Statements

    Anthropology is the study of humans – past and present. As anthropologists, we are both sensitive to cultural and religious variations among people, and we appreciate the long evolutionary history of our species. True understanding of human cultural and biological variability is predicated on the study and teaching of evolution as one of the cornerstones of the field. The faculty of anthropology at The University of Tulsa affirm and support the statement of the American Association of Anthropology (AAA) (2000) and the statement of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) on the teaching of evolution.

    History is plagued by misconceptions of the concept of race. As scientists in a field that is focused on the analyses of human variation through myriad of lens, we assert that modern and past can be understood as the expression of genetic diversity within human populations and that race does not exist in humans. The TU Department of Anthropology endorse the statement of the American Association of Physical Anthropology (AAPA) and the statement of the American Association of Anthropology (AAA) (1998) on the concept of race.

  • Lambda Alpha National Honor Society

    The department sponsors the Alpha of Oklahoma chapter of Lambda Alpha (known also as the TU Student Anthropology Society). Lambda Alpha is the national collegiate honor society and student group for Anthropology. The purpose of the society is to encourage scholarship and research in anthropology by recognizing and honoring superior achievement in the discipline among students engaged in the study of anthropology. Throughout the year Lambda Alpha organizes academic lectures, professionalization events and social activities for undergraduate and graduate anthropology students. For details of upcoming events please see the Anthropology Department Facebook page.

    All anthropology students, both undergraduate and graduate students, are encouraged to join the Alpha of Oklahoma chapter of Lambda Alpha and participate in events organized through the society. Membership to the national Lambda Alpha society can be purchased through the local chapter but is not a requirement to join the local society or participate in events.

    The national Lambda Alpha organization provides funding for student research in the form of two competitive awards. Graduating senior majors in anthropology can apply for the national scholarship of $5,000, recognizing outstanding achievement. The graduate research grant is awarded to graduate students for overseas dissertation research (from $2,000 to $6,000). Applicants must be members of the national Lambda Alpha society and from chartered departments qualify to compete for these awards. For further details see the Lambda Alpha national society webpage.

    Faculty advisers:

    Harwell Hall, second floor
    National website

  • Hands-on Anthropology

     Hands on experience is a vital part of your undergraduate education and a unique aspect of TU. In the Department of Anthropology, we offer many opportunities for you to begin research in any one of our labs as early as your first semester. The Department of Anthropology prides itself on wide-range laboratories, collections and facilities, and collaborations with other labs and facilities across campus. All faculty welcome inquiries from current and potential TU students.

    You can volunteer, participate in an independent study (ANTH 4993) or apply to be part of Arts and Sciences Tulsa Undergraduate Research Challenge (TURC) which provides funding for summer research and includes grantsmanship, presentation abilities and community service. Additional funding for research is available through the Odell Foundation.

    Opportunities for additional hands on experiences are available through Lambda Alpha (anthropology honors society) activities.

    Anthropology is a global discipline.  You can join a field school in any of the disciplines of Anthropology (Archaeology, Cultural Anthropology, Biological Anthropology and Linguistics), run by TU faculty or by other institutions. Students have joined our faculty in countries such as Armenia, Israel, Jordan, Guatemala and Mexico. If you wish to spend more time abroad, we recommend you consider a semester or years overseas which is coordinated by the Center for Global Education.

    For anthropology summer field school, please contact the undergraduate advisor Miriam Belmaker.

  • George H. Odell Seminar Series

    The George H. Odell Seminar Series was created in 2014 in honor of the late Professor of Anthropology George Odell. He is remembered as a dedicated teacher, conscientious scholar, and renowned authority in lithic analysis. Among his several professional affiliations, Odell was active in the Oklahoma Anthropological Survey and led numerous surveys and excavations throughout the state. His work on the site in Jenks, Oklahoma revealed evidence of early contact between the resident Plains Indians and Europeans. Odell’s honors included the Society of Professional Archaeologists’ Excellence in Research awards.

    The Odell Seminar Series is sponsored by the George H. Odell Foundation, and it was established to bring internationally-recognized scholars to present lectures that pertain to the study of stone tools of wide interest to The University of Tulsa community.

    Past Lecturers include:

    • 2014 – Bonnie Pitblado, the University of Oklahoma, Higher and Earlier than You Thought: Paleoindian Occupation of the Rocky Mountains
    • 2014 – Marcus J. Hamilton, Santa Fe Institute, The Evolutionary Energetics of Human Ecology *
    • 2015 – Michael J. O’Brien, University of Missouri, Cultural Phylogenetics: A New Way of Looking at the Anthropological Record
    • 2016 – Jayne Wilkins, University of Cape Town, Tipping Points: How Hunting Impacted Human Evolution *
    • 2017 – Detrich Stout, Emory University, The Evolutionary Neuroscience of Cumulative Culture

    *Joint with The University of Tulsa chapter of Lambda Alpha