Engaged Anthropology

Anthropology is by definition engaged. We work collaboratively with communities around the world to advance human understanding and to contribute constructively to local needs and concerns. The Department of Anthropology is contributing to Cornell’s wider program of Community Engagement (see the Einhorn Center for Community Engagement).  We offer innovative courses that train students in the skills vital to intercultural research and empirical, theoretical or policy intervention. 


Engaged Learning Courses 

The Department of Anthropology’s course offerings feature public service/community engagement components and provide skills, concepts, and knowledge critical to understanding public service, engagement, and social justice.:

Anthropology 1900:  Global Engagements: Living and Working in a Diverse World

Anthropology 2505: Cultures, Community, and Development: From Upstate New York to Quito, Ecuador

Anthropology 4200: Field Methods in Community-Engaged Archaeology

Anthropology 4183: Disturbing Settlement: Engaged

The Nilgiris Field Learning Center

The Nilgiris Field Learning Center (NFLC) is a unique partnership that aligns Cornell faculty and students with experts and community members in the Nilgiris, the “blue hills” of southern India. The NFLC learning community explores nutrition and health, land use, cultural practices, and livelihoods in a region recognized for both its biological and cultural diversity. Students develop ethnographic research skills in a collaborative, field-based environment.  Cornell brings strengths in the ecological and social sciences in collaboration with the applied fields of regional planning and policy analysis. Our partner, the Keystone Foundation, works with indigenous communities in the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve focusing on livelihoods, conservation, culture and identity, and market-based social enterprise. The vibrant Keystone campus is located in Kotagiri, a hill station in the Western Ghats. Cornell course credits for the NFLC can be used to satisfy requirements for the anthropology major and minor.

  • The NFLC learning community explores nutrition and health, land use, and livelihoods in a region recognized for its biodiversity.
  • Students develop research skills in an engaged, field-based environment.
  • Projects address community-identified issues:
  • Community wellness and changing approaches to healing
  • Dietary diversity, eating habits and sourcing patterns in local food systems
  • Contested forest lands as space for food, farming and trade
  • Infant feeding practices in the context of maternal health and social networks
  • Water and waste infrastructure in an urbanizing environment

You may learn more about NFLC at this website. Students interested in NFLC can contact Professor Andrew Willford at acw24@cornell.edu

The Global Health Program

The Cornell University Global Health Program offers a minor in global health.  This program is intended to compliment any academic major at the University and provide students with basic knowledge about global health, as well as the necessary skills and experience to build their own unique global health career.