• Why Anthropology

    • Anthropology is a social sciences major that explores human diversity in both the present and the past. The major emphasizes ethnographic fieldwork and description as a perspective and as a disposition towards understanding ways of life and human action taking place in our increasingly interconnected world.

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    • Our Students

    • Anthropology attracts a diverse set of students with a wide range of interests. Get to know them today!

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    • Our Faculty

    • Anthropology features a diverse faculty with expertise in a wide range of topics and regions. Get to know them today!

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    • Our Alumni

    • Anthropology students have gone on to do a diverse number of things and hold a wide number of positions. Get to know them today!

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  • 31 December 2019

    Prof. Cecilia Van Hollen is the co-editor (with Carlo Caduff) of a Special Issue on “Cancer and the Global South” for the journal Biosocieties (Volume 14, Issue 4, December 2019). She has also co-authored an article with the same title in this issue. Congrats to Prof. Van Hollen!

  • 14 October 2019

    The event hosted for Anthropology Majors and Minors designed to help students get a sense of internship or career path options for them was a success! It was hosted in collaboration with CIPE and the Anthropology Department, and featured alumni and speakers from Dyson UK and Ashoka.
    Many thanks to all who came and were involved!


  • 26 September 2019

    Professors Jean and John Comaroff are Visiting J Y Pillay Professors from Harvard to the Yale-NUS Anthropology Department this semester. They met and married at the University of Cape Town, where they both studied Anthropology. They were drawn to the discipline because it was the only discipline offered that acknowledged the African context in which it was taught. They appreciated that it studied culture through a lens of respect, and with a critical eye to the colonial effects and dynamics of inequality.

    They perceive Anthropology to have shifted from the study of other cultures by the West in the colonial era, to being about anything and everything in the post-colonial era. The discipline has become more critical, less ethnocentric, and more involved with historical context of study. When asked about their experience in Singapore, they said they find Singapore a fascinating place to study Anthropology based on the complex structure of the society and the state. Their advice to budding anthropologists at Yale-NUS is to follow your passions. As Prof. Jean Comaroff said, anthropology will never be mainstream, so one must have a reason to do it. They urged students to never believe what they see, and to accept that they will be discomforted in the world because the world is a discomforting place, which is part of what makes the discipline of Anthropology important. They said anthropologists must use their passions and the things they learn as a call to action. Prof. John Comaroff added, the work should always be interesting, because the world will never cease to be interesting.

    This semester, Prof. Jean Comaroff is teaching a class called Ethnography as Theory and Practice: Classical and Contemporary Readings, and a class called Medicine, Culture, and Modernity. Prof. John Comaroff is teaching a class called Theory from the South: A Critical Perspective, and a class titled Anthropology of Politics and Law: An Introduction.

    Yale-NUS Anthropology Department enthusiastically welcomes Professors Jean and John Comaroff. We’re so happy to have the opportunity to study with you this semester!

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Latest Events

4 November 2019 (Mon) , 4:30pm-6:00pm
After Labor
This talk is given by Profs. John and Jean Comaroff, visiting professors from Harvard University. Concern has been st...
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18 October 2019 (Fri) , 9:00am-5:00pm
Changing (In)fertilities in Asia and Beyond
Exciting upcoming conference on Changing (In)Fertilities in Asia and Beyond, organized by Dr. Marcia Inhorn (Yale Uni...
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30 August 2019 (Fri) , 4:00pm-5:30pm
Buddhist Territoriality and Pneumatic Encroachment...
Dr. Neena Mahadev is giving a talk on Buddhist-Pentecostal Rivalries over sovereignty, sanctity and soil at NUS AS8 #...
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17 October 2019 (Thu) , 12-1pm
Revolution at the Limits of Law: Ideology, Juristo...
This talk will examine the confluence of law, ideology, and social change based on a long-term ethnographic study of ...
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    • Assistant Professor
    • Zachary Howlett
    What are the best reasons to study Anthropology at Yale-NUS?

    Anthropology has been described as the most humanistic of the sciences and the most scientific of the humanities. Combining scientific rigor with humanistic imagination, anthropology embodies the best of what a liberal arts education has to offer. In the Anthropology major, you’ll learn valuable methods of analysis that will enable you to appreciate the full complexity of cultural phenomena. But you’ll also keep your eyes on the big picture, maintaining a truly expansive view of what it means to be human. In these ways, Anthropology provides great preparation for the professional and social challenges that you’ll face as leaders in the 21st century.

    • Assistant Professor
    • Neena Mahadev
    What is the disciplinary perspective of Anthropology?

    Anthropology is commonly introduced to students as a way of understanding cultural difference that involves “making the familiar strange, and the making the strange familiar.” To understand other ways of being, knowing, and doing, anthropologists work to challenge the assumptions of the social worlds we ordinarily inhabit, and become familiar with forms of social life that might otherwise appear as “irrational” or strange. This perspectivalism powerfully gives credence to other ways of being, knowing, doing, and aspiring.