Anthropology & Sociology

West Chester University

Old Library

The Department of Anthropology and Sociology believes that anthropology and sociology are closely related social sciences. Both are oriented toward the systematic study of beliefs and practices of diverse peoples and groups, though sociologists traditionally study people in contemporary America while anthropologists traditionally study people far away in space or time (from modern day Africa to pre-Columbian America). Both fields nevertheless share the desire to understand the meanings of social behaviors and cultural products, both material and non-material, that emerge from, and influence, these behaviors.

Members of the department study a wide range of topics, from the archaeology of pre-colonial and colonial Eastern Pennsylvania to the effects of globalization on people in such countries as India and Peru, from the experiences of Americans at work today to the experiences and effects of gender, race, ethnicity, and social class in a wide range of sites, from the cultural practices of African immigrants to America to the effects of computer age technologies on the social psychology of people in America today, from the study of the cultural meanings of hats worn by Bolivians of the Andes to the study of social movements (protest movements and the like).

The department teaches the foundations of anthropology and sociology in the classroom through its curriculum and it seeks to enhance the education of its students by utilizing a number of applied or "hands-on" experiences. Students are encouraged to become involved in specialized projects, such as local archaeological excavations and community organizing internships. The department also encourages students to develop an interest in international concerns. Toward that end, students are periodically offered the opportunity to participate in overseas trips under the guidance of department members.

Exhibit Case


This site is currently being managed by Dr. Julie B. Wiest from the Dept of Anthropology and Sociology. Please direct any questions you may have about it to her.