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Department of Anthropology College of Arts and Sciences
One Discipline, Four Fields

Department History: Anthropology Over Time

Thesis and Dissertation List Honors Theses
  • 1886 Department of Economics and Social Sciences established, consisting of political economy, commerce, and sociology. Anthropology studied as sophomore foundation course in sociology.
  • 1895 IU hires Ulysses Weatherly as a faculty member in anthropology. Weatherly teaches for 40 years, developing the first Museum of Anthropology and Social History at IU.
  • 1935 Weatherly leaves. Anthropology left adrift for several years until Eli Lilly, philanthropist and businessman, enters the picture. Lilly, a dedicated archaeologist, provides funds to help establish professorships in anthropology.
  • 1941 Charles “Carl” Voegelin appointed the first professor of anthropology. Additional faculty hired: Georg Neumann in 1942 (appointed as assistant professor of zoology) and Glenn Black in 1944, initially appointed a lecturer in zoology.
  • Neumann establishes anthropology museum with collection of pioneer and Indian artifacts purchased years earlier by IU President William Lowe Bryan.
  • 1945 Glenn Black and William Adams set up a laboratory to process faunal materials from excavations at Angel Mounds in southern Indiana. In 1955, it was formally established as the Zooarchaeology Laboratory and is now known as the William R. Adams Zooarcheology Laboratory.
  • July 1, 1947 Department of Anthropology officially established, offering AB and AM degrees in anthropology. The degrees embrace four specialized subfields: archaeology, social-cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and bioanthropology.
  • 1948 the Archives of Traditional Music formed by initial efforts of George Herzog, followed later by anthropologists Alan Merriam and Anthony Seeger; anthropology of arts develops from that time to become one of the oldest strengths of the department.
  • 1949 PhD in anthropology offered for the first time.
  • 1956 Paul Gebhard, who joined the Anthropology Department in 1946, becomes director of the Institute of Sex Research (the Kinsey Institute) and remains its director until 1982. His appointment begins a trend in which anthropology faculty serve as directors or codirectors for several area-study programs, including African Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Classical Studies, and the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Program.
  • 1958 Archives of Languages of the World and the Arizona Field Station in Anthropological Linguistics founded by Carl Voegelin, along with the Research Center for Anthropology, Folklore, and Linguistics set up by Thomas Sebeok.
  • 1963 Neumann’s Anthropology Museum merged with the IU Museum, now known as the Mathers Museum of World Cultures.
  • 1965 Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology established. Through the efforts of Eli Lilly and IU, the laboratory is dedicated as an independent research facility in 1971. It includes Eli Lilly’s archaeological collection, records and collections from Glenn Black’s excavations of Angel Mounds, and more than 10,000 collections of artifacts from sites in Indiana and the Midwest.
  • 1983 David Skomp Endowment established to provide support for graduate student development.
  • 1985 American Indian Studies Research Institute founded.
  • 1986 Annual Skomp Distinguished Lecture in Anthropology established.
  • 1987 an affiliation with the Center for Research into the Anthropological Foundations of Technology (CRAFT) is established.
  • 1989 Anthropology Graduate Student Association founded.
  • 1990 Undergraduate Anthropology Society founded.
  • August 1991 the department moves from Rawles Hall into its present location in the remodeled Student Building.
  • 1992 Center for the Documentation of Endangered Languages founded.
  • 1992 Anthropological Center for Training and Research on Global Environmental Change established, focusing on the human dimensions of global change.
  • 1996 Center of Institutions, Population, and Environmental Change, a National Science Foundation Center of Excellence, established.
  • 1997 Center for Archaeology in the Public Interest founded; it still offers the nation’s only doctoral concentration in “Archaeology in Social Context.”
  • 2001 Stone Age Institute established, the first center in the world devoted to early human culture.
  • 2001-06 the department experiences 50 percent faculty growth across subfields, consolidating areas of national excellence while expanding to new fields and regions of the world.
  • 2006 Anthropology grants office established.
  • 2007 PhD program in the anthropology of food established.
  • 2008 Symposium “Rethinking Race in the Americas” celebrates 20th Skomp Distinguished Lecture and department’s 60th anniversary.
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