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Department ofAnthropology

Our goal is to instill in students an understanding of the diverse cultural perspectives in the world today, as well as the long term patterns of change in human evolution and human societies.

We teach three of the four subfields of anthropology: biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, and archaeology. Students actively engage in learning and scholarship in ongoing faculty projects, both in local and international communities.

Santa Clara's location, on the site of a Spanish Colonial period mission as well as within the San Francisco Bay area, offers unique options for students to learn and apply anthropology outside the classroom. Students also may choose to focus on specific areas within anthropology, including three special emphases: Applied Anthropology, Archaeology, and Biological Anthropology.

About Our Program

The Department of Anthropology offers a degree program leading to a bachelor of science in anthropology. A solid undergraduate foundation in anthropology secures the analytical skills needed to undertake professional degrees in anthropology, business, law, public health, social services, or provides a foundation for embarking on a number of other professional careers. The department also offers a minor, several emphases, and an honors thesis option.

Faculty & Staff

Department Chair
  • Professor

    Archaeology, California, Baja California, colonialism, Spanish missions

Academic Department Manager

Beyond the Classroom

Founded in 2018, the Community Heritage Lab is a research laboratory and teaching facility devoted to archaeology and heritage studies.

News & Events

Michelle Bezanson was recently awarded the University Award for Recent Achievement in Scholarship. This award recognizes scholarly or creative work over the previous five years by a faculty member that represents a major contribution to a field of knowledge or to the arts.


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Coming Events

Alert icon Statement on the Treatment of Ohlone Ancestral Remains We, the Department of Anthropology at Santa Clara University, unanimously support in the strongest possible terms the rights of Ohlone communities to exercise full control over their ancestral remains. Recent images on social media of San Jose State University professor Elizabeth Weiss posing with the remains of Ohlone ancestors are unacceptable, as are continued efforts to block the repatriation of Ohlone ancestors and cultural items.

As noted by Charlene Nijmeh, Chairwoman of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, these developments stem from the same processes of erasure and dispossession that have resulted in the lack of federal recognition for many Native Californian communities, including the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe. We are heartened that recent legislation, such as California Assembly Bill 275, offers a legal framework for the repatriation of ancestors and cultural items to California tribal communities who are not federally recognized. However, we support Chairwoman Nijmeh’s assertion that the restoration of federal acknowledgement for the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe is the best pathway to achieve full control over their ancestral remains and their rightful sovereignty as the original inhabitants of the San Francisco Bay region.


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