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
Archaeology, California, Baja California, colonialism, Spanish missions
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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 Louis and Dorina Brutocao Award for Teaching Excellence, Santa Clara University's highest teaching honor. Bezanson is a biological anthropologist with a holistic approach to teaching. She is known for creating a safe and encouraging classroom environment, her dedication to student mentoring, and the opportunities she provides Santa Clara undergraduates to participate in the research process. Over the course of the past fifteen years at the university, she has made significant contributions to the education of countless Santa Clara students.
SCU’s Veronica Miranda is conducting research on improving postpartum care for Latinx individuals, inspired by her own experiences with childbirth.
Michelle Bezanson and Janice Edgerly-Rooks are being recognized for their scientifically and socially distinguished achievements.
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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.