Areas of Specialization

Anthropological Archaeology

Archaeology is the study of material remains of past cultures. UBC archaeologists conduct research in British Columbia, subarctic Canada, Mesoamerica, eastern Asia and, most recently, east Africa. Our courses explore the fascinating archaeological past of these areas as well as the methods and theories of archaeological research. The program stresses hands-on experience, through the direct study of artifacts in classes and labs. Students also have a direct opportunity to participate in archaeological surveys and excavations in the summer field school.

Linguistic Anthropology

Linguistic Anthropology is concerned with the study of language and communication in cultural contexts. The Linguistic Anthropology program at UBC is distinguished by the large number of faculty who teach in the First Nations and Endangered Languages program and who work in collaborative partnership with speakers of the Indigenous languages of North America. Linguistic anthropologists at UBC conduct research relating to language revitalization, oral traditions, literacy, digital media, lexicography, and acoustic ecology, with areal interests in New Guinea and the Himalayas as well as in North America. In addition to the graduate seminar in Linguistic Anthropology, students who wish to pursue studies in this field can take advantage of a wide range of courses in socio-cultural anthropology, First Nations and endangered languages, linguistics, and many other fields. Click here to visit the First Nations and Endangered Languages Program website.

Medical Anthropology

Medical Anthropology is one of the field’s most rapidly expanding sub-disciplines. It employs anthropological theory and methods in the study of health, illness and healing in a cross-cultural perspective, and has practical applications to health care in Canada and abroad. Medical Anthropologists are interested in ethnomedicine, international health, comparative health systems, and may also work in clinical contexts. Medical anthropology courses taught by department faculty focus on such topics as cultural interpretations of illness, healing and disability, comparative medical systems, ethnomedical systems, globalization and the pharmaceuticalization of health, explanatory models, narrative representation of illness, the political economy of HIV/AIDS in Africa, the body and debates surrounding female genital mutilation/cutting, reproduction, structural violence and social suffering, maternal and child health, the cultural and social impact of the New Genetics, and other medical technologies on patients, their families and society. Our ethnographic focuses are Canada and the US, Northeastern and sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Melanesia.

Museum Studies

Museum Studies, based in the Anthropology program, explores the ever-evolving techniques of artifact documentation, conservation and display (including new multi-media applications). Students learn about the history of museum collecting, debate the public role of museums, address questions of ownership and repatriation of collections, and explore the complex relationship between museums and the individuals and communities that originally created the objects. Most courses are held in the Museum, allowing students direct experience of the issues and techniques they discuss in class.

The Museum of Anthropology forms a unique part of the anthropological experience at UBC. The collections, exhibitions and collaborative programs sponsored by the Museum provide archaeology and socio-cultural anthropology students with opportunities to participate in ongoing research and educational projects.

Click here to visit the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) website.

Socio-Cultural Anthropology

Socio-Cultural Anthropology is the study of contemporary human cultures. UBC anthropologists conduct a wide variety of research projects among urban populations in the Vancouver area, First Nations of North America and indigenous peoples in South America, Africa, Siberia, Japan, and the South Pacific Islands. We offer courses on the cultures of these regions and we explore general themes of culture and economy, politics, ethnohistory, religion, oral traditions, expressive culture (art), and linguistics. Students also receive training in anthropological research techniques in our ethnographic methods courses.