Archaeological Anthropology is a research and training focus of the archaeology faculty and graduate students at the University of Tennessee. Historical archaeologists study the emergence of the modern world from an anthropological perspective, with a special emphasis on material culture. The focus cultivates important links with faculty and students in other departments and research units of the University, including Geography and History, the Archaeology Research Laboratory, and the McClung Museum.
Biological Anthropology studies the way people adapt to their environments, specifically in a biological way. It combines the study of human evolution with human biosocial variation. These elements get studied within the department in the Molecular Anthropology Labs, the Osteometric Variation Labs, and the Forensic Anthropology Center.
There are three areas that cultural anthropologists see as critical in how we define our subfield and the role it plays within the larger discipline of anthropology: theory, method, and ethics. Our research is often with marginalized people, whom we are obligated to protect. Recognizing that culture is a contested process, in order to “do no harm” and “weigh competing ethical obligations due collaborators and affected parties” we critically evaluate military, paramilitary, and other governmental and nongovernmental organizations that may be positioned to exploit, harm, make profit from, or violate the human rights of persons with whom we work. This may include decisions to not collaborate with these organizations or take funding from them.
Disasters, Displacement & Human Rights Program
The Disasters, Displacement, and Human Rights Program (DDHR) promotes holistic training, collaborative research, rigorous theoretical approaches, and creative and innovative scholarly work on historical and contemporary problems. DDHR faculty and students study global and local issues across historical and geographical scales, bringing a critical focus to disasters, migration, displacement, the substantive struggles facing refugees and asylum seekers, and the relationship between these and social inequality.
Forensic Anthropology Center
For over three decades the FAC has garnered an international reputation for research on human decomposition and modern human variation. At the program’s core is the dynamic body donation program that currently comprises almost two thousand individuals in the UTK Donated Skeletal Collection and more than 4,000 registered future donors (pre-donors). The Body Farm, or Anthropology Research Facility (ARF), and UTK Donated Skeletal Collection are utilized year-round for research and training by UT faculty and students as well as by students and professionals from around the world.