Cultural Anthropology & Linguistics

Cultural anthropology investigates ways humans organize themselves, cultural practices, belief systems, what constitutes meaning and value, and how material and intellectual resources are allocated both within and across culture. Linguistic anthropology is the subfield of cultural anthropology that examines the history, evolution, and internal structure of human languages, and the dynamics of language use in sociocultural context.


Cultural Anthropology

Cultural anthropology is the study of human cultures all over the world. Cultural anthropologists study exotic cultures, such as those of hunter gatherers, as well as the cultures that exist in our own back yard. Like language, human cultures are dynamic, constantly changing in response to the environment, the people, and other cultures. Whether studying the culture of indigenous people in Australia or online gaming enthusiasts, cultural anthropology examines everything from a group’s rituals, rules and traditions to their eating habits and modes of communications. More importantly, cultural anthropology seeks to promote an understanding of cultural differences and similarities. This understanding is applicable in a wide variety of fields, from business to international diplomacy.


Linguistics is the dynamic study of language. Where did our modern languages come from? How and why do languages change over time? How does a person’s language or dialect relate to their culture? What happens when multiple languages meet? How can understanding language differences help one to operate more successfully in a very global society? How will online abbreviations or text-messaging influence our language and communication over time? These questions, and many others, all fall within the field of linguistics.

To learn more about careers in these other areas of anthropology, check out the careers page. Consult with faculty on elective and minor courses and experiences to help prepare.

Courses in Cultural Anthropology

  • ANTH 104: Cultural Anthropology
  • ANTH 302: Anthropology of Religion
  • ANTH 310/610: History of Anthropology
  • ANTH 315: Sex, Gender & Globalization
  • ANTH 316: Anthropology & Development
  • ANTH 317: Women & Development
  • ANTH 318: Ethnography
  • ANTH 329: Special Topics in Social Anthropology
  • ANTH 340: Language & Culture
  • ANTH 341: Anthropological Linguistics
  • ANTH 390: World Regions Cultural Seminar
  • ANTH 485: Language & Society
  • ANTH 618: Qualitative Methods & Analysis (MA)
  • Course Descriptions

Ethnographic Research

In the Anthropology Department at Humboldt, students critically engage ethnographic representations, design cultural studies, collect ethnographic data, delve into vital real-world cultural issues, and have the opportunity to make international experience an integral part of the degree through international exchange and independent study across the globe.

Learn about Archaeology at Humboldt