Anthropology

Degree: Bachellor in Anthropology

Duration: 4 years (8 semesters)

Mode: On-site

Academic Coordinator: Michael Hill

Description:

“The purpose of anthropology is to make the world safe for human differences.”

- Ruth Benedict (1948), US American anthropologist.

Anthropology explores the dynamics and diversities of humanity. It poses the most difficult and fundamental question that we have asked ourselves since ancient times: what is the meaning of being a human? Anthropology seeks to help answer this question through the study of subjects related to culture and social relations, biology and evolution, economics and politics, religion and diverse ideologies, kinship and family, social organization, languages and socio-linguistic studies, visual cultures and architecture, medicine and public health, heritage, and all that can be learned about past societies through the study of material culture and archaeological remains.

This wide range of topics maintains the notion of “culture” as its unifying thread, a unique concept that pertains to humans and their closest ancestors. Anthropology asks questions such as: why and how are people from distant parts of the world and from different cultures similar or not? How did the human species evolve over millions of years? How do people maintain order and give sense to their lives? By focusing on human diversity, anthropologists have the tools necessary to confront ethnocentrism, or the tendency to interpret apparently strange practices based on the prejudices of our own culture. This knowledge allows us to look at ourselves through fresh and self-critical eyes. By making the familiar unfamiliar, and the unfamiliar familiar, anthropology pushes us to question ourselves and others, as well as human nature in holistic terms.

The study of culture requires use of different methods for collecting information, such as: the contextualized study of material remains (in the case of past societies); ethnographic work that gathers information by means of participant observation and interviews; and, first-hand experience with the communities being studied. Thus, anthropology provides tools necessary for understanding the diversity of cultures, from the simplest one to those that integrate the use of satellite imagery with analysis of genetic sequences.

Competitive advantages:

  • It is the only integrated anthropology program in the country, with an emphasis on physical, archaeological, linguistic, cultural, and applied anthropology.
  • Dual approach and training encompassing academic and applied anthropology, which allows for continuation in either practical-professional or postgraduate-academic tracks.
  • Ability to undertake research projects directly with professors, as is being done currently through the community archaeology programs in Coaque, Julcuy, and Galapagos, or the Spiritualities in Quito project run jointly with Museos de la Ciudad.
  • A distinguished professorate with national and international academic production, as well as ties to anthropology programs in foreign universities and exchanges.
  • Unique and contemporary approaches, such as: community archaeology, ethno-racial and gender studies, tourism and heritage, mobility and transnationalism, development and ethnopolitics, historical ecology, and applied anthropology.
  • The only program with a Research Center where students and professors are jointly involved in practices and field work.

Professional profile:

Knowledge base

  1. Integrate multidisciplinary knowledge on humanities and social sciences, as well as intradisciplinary knowledge that covers the various fields of anthropology.
  2. Analyze and investigate subjects related to the human condition and diversity from an anthropological perspective.
  3. Design and evaluate community projects aimed at the resolution of social and cultural problems and affairs, as well as related to different fields in anthropology.
  4. Value the importance of maintaining interest in socio-cultural topics at the local, regional, national, and transnational scales.

Skills

  1. Use quantitative and qualitative archaeological and ethnographic research methods for the implementation of projects.
  2. Prepare to be able to participate in postgraduate programs and other academic settings, such as congresses, conferences, and workshops.
  3. Communicate ideas orally, in writing, and through other media (traditional or experimental)

Attitudes

  1. Demonstrate team-work capacity in projects related to the fields of anthropology that were studied.
  2. Assess local and global problems with a critical, engaged, and ethical attitude, balancing own ethnocentrism with attention to cultural relativism and human rights.
  3. Be self-motivated and disciplined, undertaking professional challenges in areas and settings of anthropological interest.

Graduate profile:

A graduate will be able to:

  • Analyze different theoretical currents in contemporary anthropology; grasp the main problems associated with understanding human diversity, as well as the principal techniques and methods for its analysis. The graduate will also have a clear idea of how to propose a research project aimed at furthering our understanding of that diversity.
  • Integrate multidisciplinary knowledge in the Humanities and Social Sciences, and intradisciplinary knowledge covering the various fields of anthropology.
  • Analyze and investigate topics related to the human condition and diversity from an anthropological perspective.
  • Use quantitative and qualitative archaeological and ethnographic research methods to undertake projects.
  • Prepare to be able to participate in postgraduate programs and other academic settings, such as congresses, conferences, and workshops.
  • Communicate ideas orally, in writing, and through other media (traditional or experimental)
  • Design and evaluate community projects aimed at the resolution of social and cultural problems and affairs, as well as related to different fields in anthropology.
  • Value the importance of maintaining interest in socio-cultural topics at the local, regional, national, and transnational scales.

Occupational field

A graduate of our program will be able to use his or her knowledge and perspective based on the study of humanity to work in diverse fields (public and private sectors, civil society) that are in contact with people in diverse cultural settings (government, health, law, journalism, business, education, human rights, NGOs), both locally and internationally.

A graduate will be able to carry on with postgraduate studies in anthropology, or in related careers, such as law, medicine, public health, public policy, international relations, social work, museology, education, and business.

  • A cultural anthropologist works in a company to improve efficiency and productivity of human resources through training for the management of cultural differences.
  • An archaeologist works with different levels of government and other international parties to carry out new educational programs focusing on material heritage.
  • A linguistic anthropologist works with an international NGO seeking the revitalization of indigenous languages in a radio broadcasting initiative for youths.

Testimonials from our graduates

“During my time at USFQ I had the opportunity to take various anthropology and archaeology courses. Upon graduating I discovered the Erasmus Mundus masters in Archaeological Material Sciences. I was accepted and was awarded a full scholarship to study in Portugal, Greece, and Italy. I consider that the personalized education and close contact with professors allowed me, not only to be accepted into this program, but also to be at the same level as students from various prestigious universities worldwide.”

-María Isabel Guevara Duque-

“Studying anthropology at the USFQ not only opened my academic opportunities, but also formed me as a human being. I have finished my postgraduate in Digital Cultire at King’s College, London. The foundations in critical thinking and contemporary ethnography with an interdisciplinary focus set the stage for my excellent academic performance in that program. Studying anthropology at USFQ was fundamental to broadening my field of work.”

-Álvaro Chiriboga-

“Anthropology is an open and flexible science that forges transformative and critical thinking. In my case it allowed the development of a multidisciplinary academic profile, thanks to which I was able to work for international organizations such as UNASUR and the OAS, as well as join civil society initiatives to transform the realities on elderly citizens in the country”

-Patricia Celi-

“The interdisciplinary and intersectoral character of Anthropology at USFQ has allowed me to connect problems related to territoriality, class, gender, among other variable towards understanding the rural reality of Quito. At present I am serving as advisor on political and territorial articulation for Councilman Luis Reina”

-Vladimir Obando-

“The training I received prepared me to work as a researcher in multiple projects related to gender, sexuality, human mobility, and spiritualities. The approach used by professors allows us to envision ethnography as an interdisciplinary field, critical, reflexive, collaborative, and committed to social change. I currently work as a teacher at USFQ, and serve as co-coordinator of a project on human trafficking carried out by USFQ and the Fundación Esperanza while applying for a masters in anthropology.”

-Cristina Yépez-

Comments from our professors

"Anthropology at USFQ integrates the four branches of this discipline with opportunities for field work and collaborative research between students, professors, diverse communities, and other social actors. Out of our program arise the new generations of sociocultural experts for the private and public sectors and civil society, whether locally, nationally, or internationally”

-Michael Hill, Professor and Coordinator of the Anthropology Area

“Cultural Anthropology allows us, in a suggestive manner, to map and analyze how contemporaneous life is organized in relation to historicity, through tools, theories, methods, and methodologies used by anthropologists to illustrate such complex social and cultural dynamics, as well as their influence on life itself”

-María Amelia Viteri, Professor of Cultural Anthropology