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Maxwell School
Maxwell / Department of Anthropology

Political Anthropology

The field of political anthropology encompasses the analysis of power, leadership, and influence in all their social, cultural, symbolic, ritual, and policy dimensions.  It includes the examination-in both state and stateless societies-of forms of authority and domination, the dynamics of political identity, social and political violence, nationalism,  ethnicity, colonialism, war and peace, and modes of political reconciliation and peace-building. 

The study of political anthropology provides a rich empirical and theoretical grounding for students planning careers in academia; international development; humanitarian work; international, state and local governance; international diplomacy; and transnational advocacy, among others.

We offer undergraduate courses and doctoral training in political anthropology.  Students and faculty collaborate with numerous centers and departments, including The Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration (PARCC),  The Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs The Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (INSCT) and The Aging Studies Institute (ASI).

Our faculty and students are engaged in political anthropology around the world including Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, North America and South Asia. Many of our faculty have worked with the United Nations and numerous non-governmental organizations around the globe.