About Anthropology

Anthropology is perhaps the only specialization in the galaxy of academic disciplines that studies human beings in relationship with the other organisms from a biological as well as a socio-cultural perspective, providing a viable and an appropriate intellectual forum for looking at a phenomenon – an ailment, a custom, or a slice of behaviour – from a bio-cultural (or bio-behavioural) approach. It is because of this integrated way of analyzing reality that the anthropological writings have palpably influenced the nature of research and reasoning in other subjects.

The Department of Anthropology at the University of Delhi was founded in 1947 with the sole aim of undertaking holistic research and teaching in different aspects of human living. The first batch of students, admitted a year later, produced some of the finest anthropologists of international repute, who also contributed significantly to the administrative and corporate life of the University of Delhi. Students trained in our department diffused to other universities, founding academic departments and centres, carrying forward the exemplary tradition of the University of Delhi therein. It was not only that the Delhi Department of Anthropology flourished, moving from one success to the other, but was also instrumental in the spread of anthropology to other parts of the country. In other words, our department has always been the leader, declaring the agenda of research and teaching for others to have a close and learning look; and with the efforts of the twenty-five scholars who constitute the teaching faculty, the glorious status of the department continues and will continue to be so in future.

Like any other discipline, anthropology has to keep pace with the changing society and polity. Changes of vast magnitude and repercussions are taking place in the world today. Today, the world is not conceptualized as ‘one’, the idea conveyed by the term ‘universe’, but rather as a congregation of ‘several worlds’; the world today is, so to say, ‘pluriverse’, with negotiations and contestations constantly going on between different peoples, communities, ideologies, and cultural styles. If disability has reduced, diseases have increased; if globalization is one part of reality, the other is the segmentalization of the world. These challenges force us to critically review our concepts, methodological apparatuses, conclusions, and the agendas of research and teaching. Anthropology is prepared to face these challenges and contribute meaningfully and realistically to a better, honourable, decent, and dignified living for all on this biosphere.

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