History of the Department

UNCG's first Anthropology faculty member was hired in 1961. Harriet "Kup" Kupferer worked at UNCG for over two decades, stepping up as first Department Chair when the department was formed in 1973. A memorial fellowship honoring her life, work, and legacy has supported many UNCG Anthropology students.

UNCG Research Magazine features of Anthropology researchers

Letters of support - Alum spotlight

A BA in Anthropology, followed by a Master's in Library and Information Science, equipped UNCG alum Derek Long for success in the position of Head of the Marr Sound Archives at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (see photos below).

Letter from Anthropology alum Derek Long 

Dear Chancellor Gilliam,

I'm writing to you as a UNCG alum (BA in Anthropology and History, 2011, MLIS, 2013) regarding the recent news I received about the entire Anthropology program at UNCG being cut after an Academic Review Process. I am currently Head of the Marr Sound Archives at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and am familiar with these processes and understand that UNCG is doing what it sees as the best move for the institution.

However, I feel compelled to write to you because of the profound impact this program had on my life and career. I archive, preserve, and make accessible historical audio and video recordings as a profession and my time with the UNCG Anthropology department greatly informed and shaped my understanding of human cultures, which is incredibly important for me in how I approach the preservation of our collective historical heritage. Not only that, but the program also shaped my ability to empathize, listen, and be open to people who are different than me. In our current polarized climate I believe these skills are vital for our society to work together to solve our issues.

I strongly advocate for the continuation of the Anthropology program at UNCG. It has produced successful alumni and members of our society. It would be highly disappointing to take something so vital away from your students.


Derek Long

The Marr Sound Archives, where UNCG alum Derek Long serves as Head

Vintage record players in the stacks are among the many historical artifacts in the Marr Sound Archives that show the evolution of sound recording technology.

The Marr Sound Archives are an impressive resource, holding more than 400,000 recordings. The collection focuses on the American experience.

Visitors to the Listening Room can hear jazz, classical, opera, and spoken word, as well as all genres of American music, from blues and soul to rock and folk.

A pioneer in digital audio preservation, the Marr Sound Archives provide preservation services for many institutions and individuals.

Letter of support from Chairs of 4 departments at Dartmouth: "these decisions are not only devastating to your own students and faculty—they also deal a terrible blow to the academic reputation of your university."


Here are just a few of many, many comments on Anthropology's petition; please click through, sign, and read what people had to say about the folly of eliminating this program!

Anthropology faculty at UNCG have active research programs in several areas highlighted below.

Cultural Anthropology

Agriculture and foods production systems in US and Peru, applied anthropology, social networks in relation to grief and recovery from disasters in Mexico, water, sanitation, and health in Africa, science and technology studies, environmental humanities, and politics of Indigeneity in the Global South.


Social inequality and material culture in Southeastern US, historical archaeology of farmsteads and plantation in NC, historical archaeology of Old Salem.

Paleoanthropology research focuses on paleolithic archaeology in E. Africa and Eurasia, zooarchaeology and taphonomy, human and primate evolution in Africa and the American West, and geospatial approaches in paleoanthropology.

Biological Anthropology

Human and primate growth and development  and race and human diversity.

Mission Statement

The UNCG Department of Anthropology strives for excellence in research, teaching, and service. We are firmly committed to the pursuit of anthropological knowledge while engaging our students in a productive, humanistic, and applicable exploration of human experience. We seek to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to accomplish their personal goals whether they seek advanced, graduate study or the practical application of anthropological knowledge in the workplace.

Through their teaching and research, the faculty is committed to:

¨ Fostering the critical learning skills necessary for students to integrate theory with practical application.

¨ Incorporating students into new and ongoing research efforts as a way of nurturing creative problem-solving skills through hands-on experience.

¨ Promoting active and responsible community engagement on both local and international levels through participation in ongoing research projects.

¨ Engendering a clearer understanding of foundational anthropological themes such as the value of human diversity, cultural tolerance, understanding and respect.

¨ Developing and implementing new and realistic solutions to health, economic and political problems, through direct interaction with local and international agencies and communities.

Pictures from departmental events!