Engaged Anthropology

You are here

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 Engaged Learning in two ways.  First, we recently launched a series of innovative courses that will train students in the skills vital to intercultural research and empirical, theoretical or policy intervention.  Second, we are committed to nurturing courses and collaborations that can provide students with “Field Encounters,” which place the experience of being “in the field” at the heart of the major.

Engaged Learning courses 

The Department of Anthropology’s new sequence of engaged learning courses is designed to help students prepare for and make the most of engaged learning and study abroad opportunities at Cornell.  In these courses, students will engage with the diverse community on campus in Ithaca, hone the anthropological skills needed for intercultural communication and reflection, and develop an ePortfolio to share what they have learned.

These courses are designed as part of a sequence to enable students to build on their skills and revise their ePortfolios as they progress, but students are welcome to take just one or two courses. 

New courses 

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

Anthropology 3901:  Going Global: Preparing for Engaged Learning

Anthropology 3902:  Coming Home: Making the Most of Engaged Experiences

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.