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Q: Economic anthropology programs ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Economic anthropology programs
Category: Reference, Education and News > Education
Asked by: raga-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 20 Sep 2003 15:19 PDT
Expires: 20 Oct 2003 15:19 PDT
Question ID: 258649
What are the top 10 graduate programs in Economic Anthropology in the
U.S. and who are the top 10 researchers/professors in the field?
Subject: Re: Economic anthropology programs
Answered By: digsalot-ga on 20 Sep 2003 17:25 PDT
Hello there

The rankings you asked for are from the US National Research Council's
1994 study Research-Doctorate Programs in the United States:
Continuity and Change.

Copies of the full report may be obtained from the National Academy
Press bookstore by calling 1-888-624-8373. These are the most recent
NRC findings. The next rating by the NRC will not be untill after the
school year 2003-4.

Because of the specialty of your subject, economic anthropology, we
will involve the rankings of two departments; anthropology and
economics.  Actually you will wind up with two lists some of which
will overlap.  My own anthropology education was also the combining of
two departments, anthropology and history with a degree in
anthropology carrying specialties of Egyptian archaeology and Egyptian

If the "anthropology" in economic anthropology is more important, then
I suggest the first list.  If the "economic" aspect is the more
important in economic anthropology, then I suggest the second.

The top ten graduate anthropology departments are:

1 - Harvard University

2 - University of Chicago

3 - University of Michigan

4 - Pennsylvania State University

5 - State University of New York at Stonybrook

6 - University of California Berkeley

7 - Washington University

8 - University of  California Los Angeles

9 - University of Arizona

10 - Duke University

To determine the ranks of the programs, I used ten criteria.  

1 - Median Years to Degree:  The time required to earn a degree 
2 - Change in Quality:  Program quality has improved recently
3 - Educational Effectiveness:  Program is effective in educating
4 - Faculty Quality:  Scholarly quality of program faculty is high 
5 - % of Faculty Publishing:  A large percentage of the faculty has
published recently
6 - Publications/Faculty:  The average number of recent publications
per faculty member is high
7 - Citations/Faculty:  The average number of recent citations of
faculty's work is high
8 - Gini Coefficient for Publications:  The distribution of
publications per faculty member is uniform
9 - Gini Coefficient for Citations:  The distribution of citations per
faculty member is uniform
10 - % Full Professors:  A high percentage of faculty members are full

If you wish to add or delete criteria, you may do so and conduct your
own research here:

Here are the top ten graduate economic programs using the same ten

1 - Harvard University

2 - Massachusetts Inst of Technology

3 - Northwestern University

4 - Stanford University

5 - University of California-Berkeley

6 - University of Chicago

7 - Univ of California-San Diego

8 - University of Pennsylvania

9 - Princeton University

10 -  Yale University

If you wish to add or delete criteria, you may do so and conduct your
own research here:

The website used above is " Customized Graduate Program

As in any anthropological discipline, we do not publish or create any
listing of the top ten or anything else when it comes to personal
researchers.  Even within a specialty such as ecomonic anthropology,
the diversity of study is just too great to define such a list.   Some
researchers may be more well known that others.  But just as in any
other anthropological discipline, they may be more well known for
pandering to public desire and pop-culture more than for serious
research.  We who are archaeologists are very familiar with the
syndrome and all anthropologists are aware of it.  No ethical
anthropologist would publish or create such a list.  There may be some
with particular philosophical/religious agendas who would publish
these lists, but once again, just as in archaeology, those agendas may
or may not be beneficial to the discipline and many, if not most,
exist only for the purpose of promoting some pre-conceived idea or

However, if you will accept a list of those who are well known and
considered tops in the field by their peers - without any order of

Lillian Trager, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University
of Wisconsin-Parkside, Kenosha, WI
President, Society for Economic Anthropology

Richard Wilk, Department of Anthropology, Indiana University,
Bloomington, IN
Past President, society for Economic Anthropology  

Judith E. Marti, Department of Anthropology, California State
University - Northridge

Deborah Winslow, Department of Anthropology, University of New
Hampshire, Durham, NH

E. Paul Durrenberger, Department of Anthropology, Pennsylvania State

Timothy Earle, Department of Anthropology, Northwestern University

Robert C. Hunt, Department of Anthropology, Brandeis University

Kathleen A. Pickering, Department of Anthropology, Colorado State

Stuart Plattner, National Science Foundation

Jeffrey H. Cohen, Department of Anthropology, Pennsylvania State

All of the above have been given great recognition by their peers and
are officers of the Society of Economic Anthropology - Society of Economic Anthropology

Search - google
Terms - none really - I have used the "Customized Graduate Program
Rankings" several times and simply went there.

If I may clarify anything, please ask.


Request for Answer Clarification by raga-ga on 20 Sep 2003 19:47 PDT
Thanks for the quick reply, Digsalot.  Economic anthropology is a
unique subdiscipline within anthropology.  Economics departments
almost never touch upon the issues addressed by economic
anthropologists (e.g. the effects of economic forces on culture). 
Most anthropology departments do not specialize in economic
anthropology.  Thus, a listing of top econ and top anthro departments
is not very useful.  I was hoping to receive a list of anthro
departments that specialize in economic anthropology and have achieved
some degree of notoriety.

I am familiar with the SEA.  Because the folks mentioned are board
members of the SEA does not mean they are well-respected in their
field.  Faculty notoriety is usually measured by how often their
papers are cited in other works.  Such a basis for evaluation would be
more useful.

If you could provide elaboration based on the above feedback, that
would be great.  I don't mean to be a nag.


Clarification of Answer by digsalot-ga on 20 Sep 2003 20:29 PDT
I'll do some more diggin'.  Tomorrow is pretty well taken up so I
should be back with you on Monday.


Clarification of Answer by digsalot-ga on 20 Sep 2003 21:30 PDT
Hello again

You will find that economic anthropology is a subdiscipline in most
schools of anthropology rather than a department in its own right. 
What I will do is provide you with those schools whose anthropology
departments have a strong economic anthropology focus.  In my field,
Egyptian archaeology, which is not quite as specialized a discipline
as economic anthropology, I had to utilize three schools to complete
my education.

Even economic anthropology is subdivided into many areas.  There is
the economic anthropology of the emerging global virtual cyber-village
(the economic anthropology of the Internet), there is the economic
anthropology of donations and the perceived poverty of much of the
Third World, the economic anthropology related to the cultures of the
ancient world, and the economic anthropology of emerging societies,
industrialized societies, agricultural societies, just to name a few.

If you could give me some sort of direction indicating your particular
interest, it will make the research much easier.  I might come up with
ten schools who have a strong economic anthropology focus and not one
of them will be in the area you are interested in.

For example, Harvard is establishing economic and social anthropology
programs to develop new methodologies for an anthropology that tracks
cultural developments in a global economy increasingly defined by the
internet and related technologies; one element of which will deal with
Foreign aid donors and perceptions of poverty.  Since these are new
programs on which the university will be focusing, there will be no
track record other than Harvard's past reputation as an anthropology
powerhouse.  Would this be something of interest or is your specialty
something completely different?

In other words, the more you can let me know of your area of interest
before I dig into this again Monday, the easier it will be to find
what you need.  Or is it that you are interested in the subject as a
'general topic' rather than a specialty?

cheers again 

Request for Answer Clarification by raga-ga on 20 Sep 2003 23:51 PDT
Thanks, Digs, for the thoughtful reply.  

To be more specific, I'm interested in how the presence of economic
forces (e.g. profit motives, economies of scale, etc.) affect the
quality and quantity of cultural output within a given society.

One way to study this would be to examine different types of economies
(e.g. island economies, historical or "stone age" economies) and look
at how culture (expressed, for example, via music, architecture,
stories, etc.) is affected by the economic forces within these various

A modern example would be studying how the public corporate entity
(with shareholders that are disassociated from the employees and
consumers) affects the output of culture industries that are dominated
by public corporations (e.g. television).

Another example would be investigating how local bartering systems
preserve (or don't preserve) a sense of intimacy that is reflected in
the local culture.

Another broad example is studying the effects of globalization on
local culture.

Hopefully that gives some sense of scope.  My interests are certainly
not limited to the above examples, but you get the idea.  My guess is
that many e/a programs will relate to the above in some manner (e.g.
the "foreign aid donors and perceptions of poverty" program at Harvard
is apt, as it would likely touch upon assessing wealth via
traditional, neoclassical economic indexes vs. examining an
"impoverished" society's cultural merits).

It seems clear that a specialist in Egyptian archaeology would be
well-suited indeed to excavate this info.  :)

Many thanks in advance,

Clarification of Answer by digsalot-ga on 21 Sep 2003 00:03 PDT
I'm just pulling down the clarification flag.  Will be digging into it
tomorrow night and Monday.


Clarification of Answer by digsalot-ga on 22 Sep 2003 13:25 PDT
Hello again

You said - "Faculty notoriety is usually measured by how often their
papers are cited in other works.  Such a basis for evaluation would be
more useful." 

So, I based the new ranking on these criteria, per your instruction
dealing with citations.  The citation rankings are based on the
faculty of the whole anthropology department which of course usually
reflects upon the divisions within it.

You will also find that when trying to research for "economic
anthropology," it is not considered "mainstream" but considered one of
the "margins."  Of the ten schools listed, economic anthropology is
part of the overall package with such issues as "Anthropology of
Wealth and Poverty," "Anthropology of the Transitions to Capitalism,"
and other specialized programs including the ones already covered for

Since economic anthropology is a sub-specialty or "margin," each
reference to it in the various university webpages dealing with
postgrad studies is always associated with, and attention paid to,
connections that span the discipline such as other aspects of social
anthropology, language and culture.  You will also find this true with
other  anthropological sub-disciplines.  No branch of anthropology
really stands alone.

I found only a few US schools online where economic anthropology is a
graduate speciaty in an anthropology department of an accredited
school.  I did find a couple associated with un-accredited "Bible
Colleges" where a course program 'called' economic anthropology is
touted as the basis and validation for a type of fundamentalist
Christian "prosperity gospel."

I once again started at this point:
- used the citation criteria you wanted and expanded from there,
including many schools which are not on the list.

I also found schools, but not in the US, where economic anthropology
played a strong, even leading, role in the department.  Interestingly
enough, these schools were located in Africa and other Third World
regions where the economy (or a lack of it) is of more daily concern
related to basic survival than in the Industrialized World.

I could probably find out much more with a series of long distance
phone calls, letters, etc, but that goes far beyond the scope of the
question, as asked.  But below, are the top ten anthropology schools
based on the number of citations of anthropology faculty members.

For several of them, when you search for "economic anthropology" in
their own university web pages, the results are in the hundreds.  Penn
State alone has 599 pages dedicated to economic anthropology covering
everything from courses and programs to faculty.  Once again, doing a
detailed search through all of them to pick out the 'gems' is far
beyond the scope of this question. Upon looking through the graduate
specialties for each school, economic anthropology was not a
specialized field of study though economic anthropology is offered
within other programs.  That is not to say that you cannot design your
graduate course work and research to emphasize economic anthropology
while in one of these schools.

Beneath the top ten list, I will list schools which do have a graduate
economic anthropology program but they will of course be without any
order of ranking and none of them are part of the top ten list though
all are respectable schools.  You will also find that it would be very
difficult to put together a top ten list of schools with a grad
program in economic anthropology as there are only four of them in the
US according to the listing used, which is perhaps the most complete
list of graduate programs online .

1 - State U of New York-Stony Brook 

2 - Pennsylvania State University  

3 - University of Utah 

4 - Univ of California-Los Angeles 

5 - Harvard University  

6 - Duke University 

7 - University of Chicago 

8 - University of Pennsylvania 

9 - Washington University 

10 - Northwestern University 

Schools with graduate programs in economic anthropology:

Southern Methodist University
Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences
The Office of Research and Graduate Studies, P.O. Box 750240
Dallas, TX 75275-0240 U.S.A.

Texas A and M University
Anthropology Department
College Station, TX 77843-4352 U.S.A.

Brandeis University
P.O. Box 9110, Mailstop 031
Waltham, MA 02454 U.S.A.

Northeastern University
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
500 Holmes Hall
Boston, MA 02115 U.S.A. - - - - Please note:  The program here is
"Economic Sociology" which is not quite the same but related so I
listed it anyway.

Room 303, Ruth Adams Building
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1414 U.S.A.

The above information was obtained here: - Perhaps the most complete list of
graduate programs online covering schools in all parts of the US and
the world.  Of that list, only four have the program you are looking
for in the US, plus one which has economic sociology.  There may be
others which do but they do not have it listed with their programs.

As for the list of the top ten economic anthropologists, other than
lists of those who have been elected or appointed to office in the
organizations dedicated to economic anthropology by their peers, in
order to provide a list based on citations one would have to go and
count the citations of each.  There is no online resource which has
done that except for perhaps the personnel of a particular school or
organization.  There are almost 10,000 ( 9,970 ) CVs on line for
economic anthropologists.  And of course, they ALL put their best foot

I hope the above is of some help.  I will keep looking.  There may be
some 'different' search strategies which might work where a straight
frontal approach didn't.

After all, some of the most exciting finds in Egypt eluded dedicated
researchers but were later discovered by accident; usually when a
donky's foot broke through the ground someplace.

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