The cultural subfield maintains a focus on the material bases of inequality, analyzed in both local and global contexts, combining historical and ethnographic approaches. This includes attention to the role of cultural interpretations in the maintenance and reproduction of power, as well as the role of identity-based mobilizations, including nationalism, race/racism, diasporas, and associated "new social movements." In addition, the subfield boasts robust specializations in medical anthropology, globalization, social justice, human-nature/environment relations, postcolonial studies, postsocialism, and historical anthropology.
In the last several years it has added a strong focus on spacial aspects of power through the integration of critical geography with the anthropology of space and place. This aspect of the program articulates closely with the Center for Place, Culture and Politics at the GC.
Faculty members maintain research interests in both rural and urban contexts, and in the interaction between the two. Faculty interest in agrarian politics, culture and development have transformed the program’s foundational reputation in peasant studies, while faculty strength in urban research has combined with its New York City location to make the program a destination for students interested in critical urbanism in the United States.
The program maintains its foundational specializations in the anthropology of Latin America (including the Caribbean) and Europe (both East and West), while adding strength in the Middle East (currently six faculty members specialize in the area). In addition, faculty expertise covers other major world areas, including Africa, Asia (south and southeast) and Oceania.
Subfield Coordinator for Cultural Anthropology
Queens College, Hortense Powdermaker Hall