University of Notre Dame
611 Flanner Hall
About the Anthropology Department
Anthropology as a field of inquiry is both basic and comprehensive. It is basic in addressing itself to fundamental questions of human distinctiveness, survival and change. It is comprehensive in its embrace of the full diversity of peoples and cultures, as well as attending to the constraints and aspirations that distinguish them: the social, ecological, political, religious, artistic, economic and technical dimensions of the vast human project which appears wherever Homo Sapiens is found, both in the past and in the present.
A key concern of anthropology is to understand the human species -- its origins, evolution, differentiation, and the structures that reflect forms of social life defining in their various ways persons, families, societies and nations. Explorations into the nature of the human experience also sheds light on such questions as what is common to all humans, what aspects of behavior derive from biological or environmental bases, and what features are acquired through socialization and the acquisition of cultural knowledge.