Two years after the anthropology program separated from the sociology department, plans to solidify the resulting anthropology department’s autonomy continue with a scheduled move from the Intercultural Center to the Car Barn this summer.
In addition to the new office location, the anthropology department now has its own budget and cost center as a result of the split in 2008, according to Susan Terrio, associate professor and chair of the anthropology department. The two programs had shared a budget since the recent change.
“I remember the day when the anthropology department found out about its becoming a separate department,” Bettina Bergöo (COL ’11), an anthropology major, said in an e-mail. “We were having an anthropology open house, and all of the professors who have been working on this initiative for years were overjoyed.”
The anthropology program first proposed independence from the sociology department in 2007, and after a vote by the university’s Board of Directors in 2008, it was granted autonomy.
“Institutionally and in our scholarship, [the anthropology and sociology departments] tend to have gone our separate ways for a century or so,” said Timothy Wickham-Crowley, an associate professor in the sociology department. “Given that, it’s appropriate for us to have different departments.”
Wickham-Crowley added, “I don’t see how this could be anything but good for the students.”
Georgetown College is in the process of implementing guidelines that will allow students to major in either anthropology or sociology and minor in the other.
“I am also happy to report that we continue to attract new, excellent majors and minors and that students from all over the campus – including the School of Foreign Service, [the School of Nursing and Health Studies and the McDonough School of Business] – enroll in the wide variety of electives we offer including courses in elites, gender, globalization, migration, medical anthropology, race in cross-cultural perspective, urban anthropology and work,” Terrio said in an e-mail.
Terrio acknowledged that the department of anthropology is currently small, consisting of 10 anthropologists who, according to the department’s Web site, regularly teach and/or advise undergraduate students pursuing anthropology as a major or a minor. These faculty members, however, work closely with members of other departments as well.
“The anthropology department does feel small to me, and in my opinion that is an advantage more than a negative,” Bergöo said in an e-mail.
While the two departments are formally separated, Bergöo also spoke of the presence of sociology themes in the study of anthropology.
“In the future I personally hope to see the divergence of the two departments foster an attention to applied [and] engaged anthropology whose sociology is embedded in a broader anthropological framework,” Bergöö said in an e-mail. “Fortunately, all of the professors I have had in the department are skilled at incorporating applicable elements of sociology into anthropological theory, which makes me as an anthropology major feel like I have the best of both worlds.”
– Thomas Clifford contributed to this article