Anthropology is the study of humankind in all its aspects. At Maynooth, our emphasis is on social-cultural anthropology, which is the comparative study of human societies and cultures. As a social science, anthropology seeks to discover and explain the patterns of behaviour that have produced the astounding cultural variety among humans; it is uniquely able to foster better understanding of differences, such as those of ethnicity, gender, generation, or across the lines of wealth or politics. Social-cultural anthropology is subdivided into specialities which examine particular realms of human experience—such as political anthropology, material culture, economic anthropology, language and culture, anthropology of development, medical anthropology, anthropology of religion, psychological anthropology, and so on. Even within these fields, however, there is always attention to connections that span the discipline, such as a focus on ethnography (descriptive/analytic accounts based on living with a subject group for an extended period of time) and cross-cultural comparison. These approaches distinguish anthropology from other social science disciplines, and are central to our department at Maynooth.
Each year several hundred undergraduate students study anthropology as a subject within their Joint Honours degree where anthropology is taken alongside two other Arts subjects in year one, and alongside one other subject in years two and three. In 2007 we introduced a Single Honours programme in anthropology, which allows students to take the maximum number of modules on offer. The department has approximately 50 postgraduate students studying within a range of programmes: the PhD programme in Anthropology; one-year MA programmes in Anthropology and in Anthropology & Development; the two-year MA in CREOLE (delivered with EU partner universities); and Postgraduate Certificates in Anthropology, and Anthropology & Development.
Our graduates go on to employment in a wide variety of careers. Anthropology has become increasingly important as a job skill in an information-based global economy, where an understanding of cultural difference is increasingly crucial - from local to international contexts. Anthropology provides good preparation for a career in community work, education, the health professions, product design, international aid and development projects, NGO work, and business and administration. The holder of a PhD is a professional anthropologist qualified to teach at university level, to carry out advanced research, or to apply anthropology in the public or private sector, at the national and international level.
Like all anthropology departments, there is a great diversity of themes and regional interests represented in ongoing research by people here in Maynooth University. Currently, anthropologists at Maynooth University are contributing to greater understandings of issues ranging from famine to drug use, from international migration to HIV, and from language policy to consumer cultures. Anthropologists in Maynooth University have carried out fieldwork in such places as the Sudan, disadvantaged areas of Dublin’s inner city, the Midwestern U.S., Papua New Guinea, Russia and Scandinavia, and among Irish speakers across Ireland, and we work with mobile populations, such as refugees and immigrants, who have moved through regions and across borders. This diversity of research interests is well represented in the books, scholarly articles and other publications by academic and research staff members.
Combat Diseases of Poverty Consortium (CDPC)
The Combat Diseases of Poverty Consortium represents a unique cluster of scientific, academic and NGO professional expertise, along with partners in the private sector, working together to build educational capacities for combating diseases of poverty, with the initial focus on east Africa. It is led by the Department of Anthropology and the Institute of Immunology of Maynooth University.
Anthropological Association of Ireland (AAI)
The Anthropological Association of Ireland exists to promote social and cultural anthropology within Ireland. Our activities involve the organisation of, usually, two conferences or workshops per year, and the publication of the Irish Journal of Anthropology. We also try to provide professional anthropological support in Ireland for those conducting anthropological work here, in the form of our ethical guidelines.
Annual Conference Anthropological Association of Ireland February 13th & 14th 2014. Please click here for more information
Irish Journal of Anthropology (IJA)
The Irish Journal of Anthropology is published by the Anthropological Association of Ireland and was for many years hosted in the Department of Anthropology at Maynooth University.