Department of Anthropology and Development Studies

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​​​Department of Anthropology and Development Studies

​What is Anthropology?

Anthropology is a broad study of humans: past, present and future; biology, society, culture and language. Anthropologists ask questions such as: Did all humans originate in Africa? What is the purpose of pyramids? Is it human nature to be warlike? Why are there so many languages? Can praying heal illness? The discipline is divided into four fields that emphasise different aspects of being human: Biological Anthropology, Archaeology, Cultural Anthropology, and Linguistic Anthropology, and is rooted in both the natural and social sciences. When combined, these different fields offer a powerful tool for exploring human similarities and differences across time and space. We offer the general fields as well as special expertise in Ethnography, Linguistic Anthropology, Palaeoanthropology, Medical Anthropology, the Anthropology of Religion, and Urban Anthropology. The department is distinguished by its research focus on South African biological and social phenomena including fossil research into human origins in the Cradle of Humankind, research on urban youth identities and communication, and applied work in international health.

What is Development Studies?

Development Studies is an interdisciplinary social science investigating the fundamental changes in Africa, Asia and Latin America as their citizens confront the challenges of extreme inequality, violence, and value transformation in a new capitalist world order. We examine the cultural, economic, environmental, political and social realities in the increasingly differentiated ‘third world’ to gain the critical analytical tools to understand – and improve – its peoples’ lives. Development Studies is a relatively recent addition to the family of social sciences, combining more traditional disciplines to create a systemic synergy to tackle the explanation and elimination of global poverty, socio-economic crises, and environmental devastation. Our department teaches the basic theoretical and policy approaches to development studies in their historical context, combining them with special expertise in African political economy, development discourse, environmental justice, South African development policy, the theory and practice of human rights, and the culture and politics of youth.

General Contact Details

Department of Anthropology and Development Studies

University of Johannesburg
Auckland Park
South Africa

Mrs Joyce Ferreira

D-Ring 501

Telephone: (011) 559 2859

Fax: (011) 559 3329