How can humanity be described? There are currently 6.6 billion of us residing in 193 recognized independent states and over 50 dependencies. We partake in religion, communication and culture, interact with our environment and are living in the wake of thousands of years of human history. In academia, the study of humanity itself is called anthropology. At Georgetown, the subject is found in a department with another, at the department of sociology and anthropology. The initial pairing of the two subjects makes sense. The two subjects are closely related, and since anthropology became its own major at Georgetown only four years ago, it may have seemed a logical conclusion at the time to pair the study of the two sciences within a single department. Now, with 44 students currently majoring in anthropology and with a growing interest in the social sciences, the marriage of the study of society and the study of humans is becoming less convenient. Georgetown is not the only top-tier educational institution to have anthropology and sociology combined in one department, but the number of colleges and universities Georgetown compares itself to who have anthropology as its own department outweigh those who don’t. All eight Ivy League schools, Stanford, Duke, Vanderbilt, Emory, Amherst College and Vassar College are those among many who place anthropology into its own separate department. What these schools seem to recognize is the complexity and now-renewed significance of the field. Anthropology as studied in the United States is divided into four subfields, ranging from biological anthropology, the study of the physical human, to linguistic anthropology, the study of human communication. The range of the material is practically enough to split a stand-alone department of anthropology into different sub-departments, which is what a few universities such as Duke opt to do. Though that is perhaps more specialization than necessary for Hoyas, the Blue Devils and those at other universities show their acknowledgement of both the tradition of anthropology and its importance in a new world of globalization and changing identities and ways of communication. For Georgetown to allow the anthropology department to separate from the sociology department would be a noteworthy move on the part of the administration. Though such a change would not directly affect all Georgetown students, especially those who are not in the College, such a decision would be a symbolic change that everyone can appreciate. It would be a gesture by the Provost to accept change along with the times, show the university’s dedication to academics and pledge to continue being one of the most rigorous and excellent institutions of higher education. For a university which vows to uphold the well-being of humankind, it would sure do well to know about it first.

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