Globalization, Development, and Culture

The concentration in Globalization, Development, and Culture includes three focus areas:

Community Development

Students focusing on community development will be trained in the application of anthropological theories and methods to understand socio-economic inequalities, and strategies of community building through active engagement in community development projects in local and international settings that promote positive social, economic, cultural and environmental change. Areas of focus within our department include community asset-based neighborhood redevelopment, participatory action research and engaged scholarship, nonprofit and faith-based development, housing and land issues, and education and schools. Students interested in community development have completed practica or research projects with national and local government and nonprofits such as community development corporations, charter schools, neighborhood associations, and historical and preservation societies.

Environmental Justice and Sustainability

Applied environmental anthropologists use anthropological theories and methods to better understand local and global environmental problems, and build models for cultural and ecological sustainability, and environmental justice. Areas of specific focus within our department include political ecology; gender, power and access to natural resources; traditional ecological knowledge; ecotourism; conservation; consumption and globalization; water scarcity; human adaptation; environmental health and justice. Students interested in environmental issues have completed practica or research projects with Greater Memphis Greenline, the Sierra Club, Grow Memphis, the Shelby Farms Park Conservancy and other non-profit organizations, as well as local Community Development Corporations.

Cultural Heritage and Identity

Students focusing on cultural heritage and identity will be trained in the application of anthropological theories and methods from cultural anthropology, applied archaeology, and museum studies to better understand the role of cultural heritage as a source for community engagement, empowerment, development, and sustainability.  Areas of focus within our department include museums and communities, applied archaeology and museums, collections research, and culture, identity and power.

Core Courses:

The Globalization, Development, and Culture M.A. Program requires 36 hours of completed coursework. All students must take the following five courses to form the basis for competence as anthropologists, regardless of the student's chosen concentration and applied specialization.

  • History of Anthropology Theory (ANTH 7200-8200)
  • Methods in Anthropology (ANTH 7075-8075)
  • Techniques of Anthropological Data Analyses (ANTH 7076-8076)
  • Applied Anthropology and Development (ANTH 7255)
  • Anthropological Applications (ANTH 7985)

Application to all concentrations and focus areas is made during each course, and students are encouraged to focus their practical exercises within their own areas of interest in their chosen applied field. In addition to the common courses, Globalization, Development, and Culture students must also take these concentration-specific courses:

  • Globalization, Development, and Culture (ANTH 7400)
  • And one course from one of the three focus areas, determined in consultation with a faculty advisor:
    • Community Development: ANTH 6051, 6120, 6253, 6412, 6415, or 7411
    • Cultural Heritage and Identity: ANTH 6414, 6660, 6661,6662, 6680, 7661, or 7662
    • Environmental Justice and Sustainability: ANTH 6111, 6220, 6414, 6431, or 6510

Elective Courses (select examples):

  • 6051 Anthropology of Education
  • 6120 Africa's New World Communities 
  • 6253 Anthropology of Religion
  • 6412 Neighborhood Development and Social Entrepreneurship
  • 6413 Anthropology of Tourism
  • 6416 Culture, Identity and Power
  • 6415 Anthropology of Human Rights
  • 6510 Health, Culture, and Environmental Justice 
  • 7411 Urban Anthropology of the Midsouth
  • 6660 Museum Collections
  • 6661 Collections Research
  • 6680 Applied Archaeology and Museums
  • 7761 Museum Practices
  • 7662 Museums and Communities
  • 6111 Human Adaptation
  • 6220 Cultural Perspectives on the Environment
  • 6431 Culture and Consumerism

Students in all concentrations must complete a practicum. The practicum is designed to provide hands-on experience in the student's area of interest. This allows the student to gain practical experience and make contacts in a variety of organizations and agencies and can lead to gainful employment. For a complete description of information on requirements, admission, and courses offered, see Degree Program, Requirements, and Course Descriptions.


Faculty members who serve as supervisors for this concentration include, Dr. Keri Brondo, Dr. Robert Connolly, Dr. Stan Hyland, Dr. Katherine Lambert-Pennington, Dr. Micah Trapp, and Dr. Charles Williams, who research and perform fieldwork in globalization, development, and culture issues. Many other faculty members and UofM alumni and other local practicing anthropologists contribute to our program and as practicum supervisors.

Interdisciplinary Studies:

The School for Urban Affairs and Public Policy (SUAPP) offers a wide range of graduate and undergraduate degree programs for both full time and part time students. It consists of five academic units designed to engage in collaborative research and outreach efforts in the community: Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Division of City and Regional Planning, Department of Social Work, Division of Public Administration, and Division of Health Administration.

Through the units and corresponding research centers and institutes, research, outreach, and service activities are provided by faculty and students to the community through student internships, technical assistance, and consultation.