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It is a special pleasure for me to help applicants in Anthropology, Archeology, and all related areas because I particularly appreciate the broad and diverse intellectuality of this field, which allows us vast opportunity for creativity in your statement, aspiring to to new heights in eloquence, making each statement a work of art in its expression of the human spirit and its drive for increasingly cogent understandings of self in and through community.

Launching a career in Anthropology is most challenging and, at times, it can be intimidating. To be successful in Anthropology, it is important to identify your career goals early on and follow through on them. We look forward to helping applicants to articulate their personal and professional histories in light of their goals in Anthropology, special abilities, and career interests. We urge applicants to adopt broad perspectives and to imagine an evolving anthropology career as a lifetime endeavor.

Statements of Excellence in Anthropology

I see anthropology as the queen of the social sciences.

It is in the study of Anthropology where we look at ourselves mostly closely in the mirror as human beings, especially in light of from whence we have come. Anthropology is also of fundamental importance to public education, since it provides a scientific world view that promotes rational perspectives concerning our destiny in light of our history.

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With maximum creativity, research as indicated, priority attention, and as many drafts as needed!


Sample 1st Paragraph for the Master's Degree in Anthropology

I look forward to a complete immersion experience in graduate school in the areas of Biological Anthropology, Archeology, Osteology, and Genetics. A Sicilian American woman, now 35, I know what I want in life and my goals are both noble and focused. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, I have spent my life so far searching for my true identity, where I came from, and how to best explore my roots, my people, and my history. For me this is Sicily and the surrounding area, especially Italy, to which I have returned nearly a dozen times already for weeks at a time. My intellectual attention, however, is more broadly based, focused not only on the early history of the entire Mediterranean Basin, but also the prehistory of this entire area. I want to specialize in the big picture, go all the way back as far as we can and learn about human community in this part of the world from its very earliest stages, nomadic peoples, cave dwellers, etc. 

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The Humanitarian Side of Anthropology

Anthropology is the study of humankind and its behavior – literally, as anthropos is Greek for “human” and logia means “study”.

As an undergraduate student of anthropology, you could study subjects like human society and culture, global biocultures and anthropological perspectives on public health, family and kinship, the evolution of human behavior, anthropological perspectives on global cities, gender and sexuality, the anthropology of violence and law, and other fascinating subjects related to humans and human behavior – but these subjects don’t tackle humanitarianism in anthropology directly.

One of the main reasons for this is that anthropologists have historically taken a non-value based approach to cultures and the study of anthropology. However, the world is changing rapidly. The number of job openings for anthropologists at non-profits and the increased debate regarding how anthropologists can best benefit NGOs has given rise to a stronger academic connection between these two topics.

Brunel University, U.K., for example, offers students an MSc in Antropology of International Development and Humanitarian Assistance. This postgraduate course was designed to respond to the global aspirations to reduce how much the “bottom billion” is suffering and the increased attention on international development.

They claim that anthropology has played a key role in the emergence of humanitarian assistance perspectives, and this Masters program provides the necessary training you need to seek employment with NGOs like Oxfam, international agencies like the World Food Program and civil service agencies like the UK Department of International Development. Ethnographic fieldwork is a big part of the program, so you get the opportunity to travel oversees while doing your dissertation.

Berkeley also offers courses, such as “Critical Interventions: The Anthropology of Humanitarian Aid”, used to address the complicated relationship anthropology has with humanitarian aid relationships and its positionality in these dynamics. Anthropologists have already looked at where the instinct to human welfare originates from, often focusing on North-South engagements during times of national disaster, state failure and state withdrawal, but this course explores anthropological work on humanitarianism critically. But Berkley is where you’ll examine the theoretical foundations of anthropological thinking on aid and charity, biopolitics and questions how life is represented in humanitarian literature during this course. You will examine what subjects are produced in humanitarian settings and how power dynamics emerge. South-South humanitarianism will also be explored, with the aim to finally question whether or not anthropologists are complicit in some of the difficult dynamics of humanitarian aid when they write about their subjects, the politics of aid and how anthropology can approach the subject of humanitarianism effectively.

Universite de Geneve (University of Geneva) also holds a week-long seminar in partnership with the Doctors Without Borders (Switzerland office) on “Anthropology and Intercultural Aspects of Humanitarian Action”, with the objective to explain, analyze and assess the intercultural dynamics and power within the field of humanitarianism and humanitarian action. During this course, students explore the anthropological theory and methods related to humanitarian action; analyze the recipients of humanitarian action through an anthropological lens and humanitarian biases and assumptions.

Whereas many identify the difficulties anthropologists have when tackling humanitarianism, and the obvious clash between the two, others argue that studying humanitarianism is impossible unless you study people beforehand. McBride, 2013, wrote “The Essence Of Anthropology, 3rd Edition”, where she argues that it’s impossible to save people you know nothing about. She argues that anthropology goes hand in hand with humanitarian aid, as cultural anthropology provides a holistic perspective, which has a beneficial effect on the outcomes of humanitarian aid through a foundation of scientific knowledge specific to each situation’s population. She states that anthropology’s holistic perspective is essential because it allows for analysis of the various components of an issue in order to approach it in the broadest way possible. McBride highlights the “one size fits all” approach many organizations that carry out humanitarian aid work take, and the need for more effective processes based on anthropological perspectives in the execution of aid.

Indeed, it appears there is much need for humanitarianism to be addressed during anthropology training. Many have documented the issues that have come to light when navigating the area anthropologists find themselves in when working with migrant organizations, for example. A panel congregated at the British Museum in London in 2012 to discuss some of the issues surrounding the production, dissemination and use of anthropological knowledge in voluntary migrant organizations, and the practices and morality of ideologically informed anthropologists addressing the needs of migrants and the organizations that work with them. The panel reported a range of dilemmas when aiming to remain politically and ideologically neutral in these settings, working on the behalf of migrants while managing agents such as state institutions and the host society’s values.

During the panel they discussed the different tactics that can practically help anthropologists negotiate their theoretical background of ethnographic research when working with humanitarian organizations and the risks involved in the interpretation, dissemination and use of this knowledge within these humanitarian nonprofit organizations. The scope of the anthropological responsibility for the end results that come about after taken actions using this knowledge was also debated.

This area of work is both pertinent and important but the field is also developing rapidly. What does the future of humanitarian anthropology hold? This area of specialization could provide great opportunities for passionate students interested in taking part in the provision of humanitarian aid designed to target and benefit defined groups of people and their unique needs. If you’d like to apply to a postgraduate program and change the world, we can help with your graduate school admission. Let us know if you’d like help with your statement of purpose.

I have helped many applicants to graduate school over the years in the area of Anthropology. This has helped to enrich my own understanding of human culture in perspective, including evolution, and prehistory. By working together with you as a team, we are better able to demonstrate a superlative grasp on the basic principles and processes of anthropology. I have worked in both physical (biological) and cultural, including ethnology, linguistics, and prehistoric archaeology in an integrated, holistic manner. Personally, I am most interested in the challenge of human survival, the connections between biology and culture, and the impact of globalization on peoples and cultures around the world. I am particularly fond of what is sometimes referred to as "real world" anthropology.

Heroines of Anthropology

The list of African American women in anthropology is fairly short, especially if you’re looking for women that are still alive and kicking.

France Winddance Twine

France Winddance Twine (and what a wonderful name!) is an engaging and personable sociologist and ethnographer who has 70 publications (including 9 books) under her belt.

She advocates the use of film and visual arts in the communication of sociological theories, a has the film Just Black?: Multiracial Identity in the U.S. (1990) on her list of achievements.

France currently serves as a member of the international editorial boards of Sociology, the official journal of the British Sociological Association and Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power.

She has conducted field research in Brazil, the U.K. and the United States, and her many journal articles include one in Brazilian Portuguese. How does she manage to write so much, we ask?

This fascinating woman is just begging to be investigated.

Fuambai Ahmadu

Fuambai Ahmadu is a Sierra Leonean-American, and a doctor of social anthropology. She studied at the London School of Economics, and is known for her work on female genital mutilation (FGM).

We think she is one of the most terrifyingly stunning member of this field: she voluntarily had a clitoridectomy in Sierra Leon as part of an initial into the Bundu secret society.

She argues, in fact, that the health risks of FGM are exaggerated, and that its effect on women’s sexuality is misunderstood. She has worked hard to bring to light how the anti-FGM movement has marginalized and discredited the voices of dissenting African women.

In one BBC interview in 2014, she explained to a panel of anti-FGM activists that it is impossible to remove the entire clitoris from a girl or woman’s body without killing her. And on her website, she points to data that suggests that circumcised women can orgasm on a regular basis: 58 circumcised young women from a group of 137 women affected by different types of female circumcision reported an orgasm 91.43% of the time.

We salute Fuambai’s tenacious hard work in this field, and are proud to promote her.

Johnnetta B. Cole

Johnnetta B. Cole is an American anthropologist, educator, museum director and humanitarian. She was the first African-American female president of Spelman College. She later served as president of Bennett College.

Cole enrolled in Fisk University at age 15, received her B.A. in Anthropology in 1957 and after some field research in Liberia, earned her master’s and Ph.D in anthropology.

She has spent nearly her entire career working at universities, and has led several successful capital campaigns, building up one colleges endowment and raising it up in the liberal arts school rankings.

Cole was named Director of the National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC in 2009. She received honorary membership in Phi Beta Kappa from Yale in 1996, and has served as a Phi Beta Kappa Senator.

We are for difference: for respecting difference for allowing difference, for encouraging difference, until difference no longer makes a difference. — Johnnetta B. Cole.

Sada Mire

Dr. Sada Mire is a Swedish-Somali archeologist, art historian and presenter. Her work on the Horn of Africa bridges archeology and anthropology. She investigates the pre-Islamic and pre-Christian indigenous religions and traditions of the region.

She argues that cultural heritage-archeological knowledge included-is a basic human need, and that the misuse of archeology for politics and intentional destruction of heritage sites by ideological groups, such as the unreported looting and annihilation of Somali heritage after the start of the Somali civil war, destroy important knowledge, skill and memory.

Mire is the presenter and screenwriter of the MOOC titled “Heritage under Threat”, and she regularly engages in high profile debates on World Heritage, include those organized by UNESCO.

Beryl Esembe

Beryl Esembe is a Cameroonian author, sociologist and anthropologist that was trained in Cyprus by the Anti-Human Trafficking Coordinator for the European Commission.

She has worked in Cyprus and Ghana at all levels, including the grassroots level to educate young people so they can recognize potential human trafficking chains, as well as trace and rescue those involved in the chains.

As part of her work, Beryl has created The Global Women Lobby, which brings together NGOs and individuals globally to combat exploitation and human trafficking. She talks regularly on gender violence prevention and religious topics. We support her great work.