Cultural Anthropology (also known as Sociocultural Anthropology) is the branch of the discipline concerned with documenting the wide range of institutions, beliefs, practices, and technologies of contemporary human populations around the world. It is equally concerned with developing generalizations based on comparative study. The main technique of this sub-discipline is ethnographic research, the first-hand documentation of a people and their situation by a trained investigator. Another technique is ethnohistory, which employs documentary sources of information.
Tulane University's Anthropology Department has five cultural anthropologists. Prof. William Balee is an historical ecologist, working in lowland South America. Professor Emerita Victoria Bricker has conducted ethnographic, ethnohistorical, and epigraphic research, all concerning the Maya people of Chiapas and the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Professor Du conducts research on ethnic minority peoples of China and is concerned with the comparative study of gender relationships. Professor Hill has conducted ethnographic, ethnohistorical, and archaeological investigations focusing on the highland Maya peoples of Guatemala. Professor Masquelier is a West African specialist, focusing on issues of religion and concepts of illness and healing. Among them, these professors offer a wide range of courses on specific world areas, topical subjects, and theoretical perspectives. For a listing of these courses, please refer to the Tulane Course Catalog. Prospective students should feel free to contact any of the faculty whose interests match their own.