About the Department of Anthropology

Maynooth University is home to the only department of anthropology in the Republic of Ireland. Our department was established in 1983 and since then has gained an international reputation for the quality of its research and the teaching and learning experience it provides. Located in the Faculty of Social Sciences, the Department of Anthropology at Maynooth University has eight academic staff members and two half-time executive assistants, and each year hires several Teaching Assistants; we also host post-doctoral researchers and Visiting Professors.

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.

In 2017 we celebrated our 20th anniversary. Here is a short film about the history of our department.