ASU In the News

Transdisciplinary anthropology thrives at ASU

<p>Seven years ago, Arizona State University’s Department of Anthropology began its transformation into the ASU School of Human Evolution and Social Change. The move towards transdisciplinarity stirred up controversy and was deemed the deathblow of anthropology by some.</p><p>Now, five years after the school’s official launch, an article in the May issue of Anthropology News reports on the reality – and success – of the paradigm shift.</p><p>In the article, a team of school faculty and doctoral students details how the school, part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has prospered in many areas. Faculty size has nearly doubled, with 75 percent being anthropologists and others representing a diversity of fields, such as economics, science and technology studies and epidemiology. Overall enrollments have risen significantly, as have graduate student and external support. Diversity of faculty and students has increased. And while anthropology undergraduate and doctoral programs remain the largest degree programs, new transdisciplinary offerings in global health and environmental social science have been well received.</p><p>Also outlined are the results of a social network analysis conducted in 2010. Findings show that the school’s faculty are highly integrated and organizationally mature and that non-anthropologists often serve as intellectual bridges between the anthropology sub-disciplines, especially between archaeology and sociocultural anthropology.It seems that instead of fragmenting the connection among school anthropologists and diminishing their research, the transdisciplinary approach has strengthened them.</p>

Article Source: Anthropology News
Rebecca Howe

Communications Specialist, School of Human Evolution and Social Change