Research & Teaching

Advancing and Sharing Ideas

The best educational experiences for students occurs when faculty bring their own research topics and projects into the classroom where the readings in course texts and other materials come to life. From Ghana to the Mississippi River Valley, from Mongolia to Bolivia, from Kazakhstan to Tanzania, from Honduras to Vietnam, from French West Africa to northern Colorado, Anthropology and Geography faculty do firsthand research on five continents and bring that knowledge and experience back to campus.

Anthropology and Geography students learn about instructors' research interests and how these topics matter to the field. Students also work with faculty in labs and research centers and at field schools and study sites, and may pursue original research and independent study with guidance from professors.


Student Research Opportunities

We have a variety of opportunities for students to assist with research and to develop practical skills such as GIS, artifact curation, geoarchaeological analyses, aerial and terrestrial remote sensing methods, and report writing. Internships, Practicums, and Independent Studies are available to students with a solid academic record with a minimum 2.9 GPA and a demonstrated commitment to their education. Anthropology and Geography professors maintain 15 Labs and Research Centers that are available to our undergraduate students for various learning and research opportunities. Our department also offers several field schools that enable students to apply ideas and methods gained in classrooms in working environments.

Research Spotlight

Three research colleagues

Hausermann: How does gold mining in Ghana impact health, environment?

Associate Professor of Geography Heidi Hausermann and colleagues won a $1.537 million National Science Foundation grant in Summer 2023 to study the health, social and environmental effects of rapidly expanding, small-scale gold mining and mercury pollution in Ghana and beyond. Mercury pollution and exposure represent severe risks to people, food and water supplies, and the environment in countries with dispersed mining activities. The award, which will fund a five-year research project, marks the first NSF Dynamics of Integrated Socio-Environmental Systems grant led by a CSU researcher.

Three research colleagues
anthropology michael pante

Pante: Guess who's for dinner? Finding the oldest evidence of human ancestors' butchering

Research from Associate Professor Michael Pante and colleagues from the Smithsonian Institution and Purdue University has identified butchering marks on a 1.45-million-year-old hominin shin bone — the oldest evidence of humans’ close evolutionary relatives butchering and possibly eating one another. The research is the first application of the 3D quantitative method — developed and published by Pante — to a fossil specimen. Pante and coauthors spoke about their findings with National Geographic (paywall), Smithsonian Magazine, the Washington Post, and other media in Summer 2023.

anthropology michael pante

Van Buren: Examining Silver “Thieves," Tin Barons, and Conquistadors in Bolivia

In a forthcoming book, Professor Mary Van Buren examines and writes on the cultural, economic, and human consequences of artisanal and large-scale mining in Bolivia and the history of the country's independent mine workers, a generally overlooked and historically forced labor system of Indigenous people that began under colonial regimes. Van Buren, who has completed long-term research on Bolivian mining through her career, received a 2020 National Endowment for the Humanities grant to support her research and writing. Silver "Thieves," Tin Barons, and Conquistadors will publish in 2024 (University of Arizona Press).

Snodgrass: Exploring the roles of digital and spirtual avatars

In his 2023 book, The Avatar Faculty (University of California Press), Professor Jeffrey Snodgrass examines the parallels between spiritual and digital activities to explore the roles that symbolic second selves—avatars, whether spiritual or digital—can play in our lives. Snodgrass argues that avatars allow for the ecstatic projection of consciousness into alternate realities, potentially providing both the spiritually possessed and gamers access to superior secondary identities with elevated social standing. Snodgrass spoke with New Books podcast in Spring 2023 about the book and his research.

Department Research and Scholarship

Anthropology and Geography faculty publish findings in leading journals and present at national and international conferences across our disciplines. View the department's scholarship reports, which detail faculty peer-reviewed publications, grants and awards, presentations, and other accomplishments.

Faculty Research, Awards, and Presentations