About Us

Anthropology is the study of cultural differences and connections in a globalised world. As a field of study anthropology is uniquely placed to interpret the widest range of contemporary social phenomena — from migration to religious fundamentalism, online communities and new social movements, contemporary indigenous cultural expression and identity politics, consumption and commodification, and the changing forms of social identity and relationships.

The Australian National University is Australia’s centre for research and training in the discipline of Anthropology. ANU’s Anthropology HDR Network represents one of the largest concentrations of expertise in anthropology anywhere, with over a hundred staff and PhD students who are engaged in exciting, long-term ethnographic research. ANU’s anthropology program is ranked 13th in the world and no. 1 in Australia according to the QS World University Rankings. The research and training activities program that operates across campus, bringing together anthropologists from several main and other locations on campus is called the Anthropology Higher Degree Research (HDR) Academic Network. This is its website and you can check here for general information, forthcoming events, announcements, research profiles and more.

Anthropological research is primarily conducted in the School of Culture, History and Language in the College of Asia and the Pacific (CAP) and the School of Archaeology and Anthropology in the the College of Arts and Social Sciences. There are also close links with other disciplines within ANU such as Linguistics, Human Geography, History and Politics. The breadth of undergraduate and postgraduate education and research is correspondingly large, with concentrations in cultural, biological, and forensic anthropology and interdisciplinary linkages and programs in gender studies, Asia-Pacific Modernities, Development studies, Indigenous Australian studies, Ethnographic Film and Visual Anthropology, Pacific studies and more.


Some of our wonderful PhD students have recently launched a dynamic blog and podcast ‘The Familiar Strange’, which seeks to take on contemporary issues from the lens of anthropology. Do check out the website and consider contributing yourself: https://thefamiliarstrange.com.

And if you’re wondering just #whyweanth, here are some contributions from our ANU colleagues on World Anthropology Day, 2018 collated by Jodie-Lee Trembath at The Familiar Strange:

“What I think is most interesting about anthropology includes taking account of things from new angles, its comparativism, its groundedness, and not only the challenge to received ideas, but the further challenge to acknowledge and grapple with the problems that those received ideas present” (Professor Francesca Merlan, Anthropologist at the Australian National University, Anthropology Day 2018).

“I find anthropology exciting because it shakes me up; it doesn’t let me get too comfortable in the world. I remember one of my teachers said at some point: “anthropology is dangerous”. He wasn’t referring to doing fieldwork in some faraway place, with malaria infested mosquitos, although that’s dangerous too I’m sure. I think he was thinking more about the anthropological imagination, which can change the way we see the world: now that, for some, can be really unsettling.”  (Dr Assa Doron, Associate Professor of Anthropology & South Asia at the Australian National University, Anthropology Day 2018).

“Anthropology is crucial in our attempts to come to terms with a globalised world and in building more tolerant societies. It shows us that almost unimaginably different lives from our own are meaningful and valuable too, that a different world is possible, and that even people who seem to be very different from you and I are, ultimately, like ourselves.” (Justine Chambers, PhD candidate in Anthropology at ANU, Anthropology Day 2018)

“Anthropology allows us to understand others on their own terms, by demanding that we pay attention to the ideas and values that they find most important to their lives.” (Benny Tong, PhD Candidate in East Asian Studies at ANU, Anthropology Day 2018).

For more reasons #whyweanth check out the rest of Jodie’s excellent blog:  https://thefamiliarstrange.com/2018/02/15/anthroday-2018/

*The photos on the banner of this page are a selection from the 2017 exhibition ‘The Art of Anthropology’. They are taken by the following PhD students (in order of display): Helen Abbott, Bruma Rios Mendoza, Justine Chambers, Maria Ibari Ortega Dominguez and Simon Theobald.