Celebrate the field of anthropology today!

Anthropology Day logo

Today, Feb.18, is World Anthropology Day, as designated by the American Anthropological Association. It “is a day for anthropologists to celebrate our discipline while sharing it with the world around us,” the association says.

Anthropology is the study of what it means to be human in all aspects of the human experience, past and present. Anthropology takes a very broad “holistic” approach through its diverse subfields, from the study of culture in all its diversity and complexity (cultural anthropology), to the material culture of the past (archaeology), to human origins and adaptations to the environment (biological anthropology), to language and communication (linguistic anthropology) and the many applications of these approaches (Applied/Public Anthropology) to tackling the world’s most pressing problems.

At Ripon, a major in anthropology and minor in cultural anthropology are offered in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. The faculty are Ursula Dalinghaus, visiting professor of anthropology; Jacqueline Clark, professor of sociology; and Marc Eaton, associate professor of sociology. Anthropology courses at Ripon equip students with the tools for understanding culture as learned and shared; for recognizing how different domains of social life are interconnected; for practicing grounded, ethically informed, and collaborative research; and for translating these insights through intercultural communication and real world applications that address inequality and contribute to creating a more diverse and inclusive society

Anthropology at Ripon has contributed to student success in applying to graduate programs in fields such as rehabilitation counseling and gerontology, in interdisciplinary training in fields including sociology, history, art history and museum studies, business and finance, psychology, philosophy and religion, and preparation for law school.

Several current anthropology students emphasize how anthropology has exposed them to new ways to understand the world, valuable research and communication skills for the future, and cultivation of their interpersonal relationships on campus and in the wider community.

  • Alexis “Lexi” Riggs ’21 of Ripon, Wisconsin: “I chose to study anthropology at Ripon College as I knew it would give me a more holistic point of view on the world. It turned into so much more as I discovered more of my interests. I was able to apply a topic that means a lot to me, disability, into an independent study and a whole project centered around accessibility for individuals with physical disabilities. I feel anthropology and what I learned through the department has prepared me for future academic success as I am currently applying to graduate school to get my master’s in vocational rehabilitation counseling. In addition, anthropology has prepared me for employment success as I just received and accepted a job offer from a nonprofit organization within Wisconsin and Upper Michigan that serves individuals from all stages of life and backgrounds.”
  • Camrie Schmitz ’21 of Kiel, Wisconsin: “Anthropology has been a crucial piece in my time spent at Ripon College as it has led me to finding my love for qualitative research. Our field is so diverse, from learning about various cultures to discovering the many possibilities and ways of conducting our own research. The skills that I learned through anthropology are ones that I will take with me through life as it has given me a new perspective of the world, and the opportunities and experiences in anthropology at Ripon have inspired me to research what I truly am passionate about, which has led me to attending graduate school in the fall where I will continue to do qualitative research among the elderly population.”
  • Jillian Heidenreich ’22 of Monroe, Wisconsin: “My anthropology courses at Ripon College have been some of my favorites. These courses have helped me to consider the experiences of people with different lives from me without comparing their decisions to ones that I have been able to make because of the opportunities I have been afforded. I knew that I wanted to take anthropology courses when I was choosing colleges, so the fact that Ripon had an anthropology department was a big reason that I decided to attend Ripon College. I become happier with this decision every year and I have walked away with my anthropology courses with the knowledge that I am becoming a more well-rounded person with every course. Being open to the experiences of other people and learning about why people make the decisions and hold the beliefs that they do is going to be a trait that will help me to be understanding of the problems and situations that I learn about in the world and through my career as an attorney.”
  • Rebecca “Becky” Rossen ’22 of Elkhorn, Wisconsin: “Anthropology has truly been one of the biggest highlights of my college experience! I knew early on in high school that it was exactly what I wanted to study in college and as I became more interested in finance and investing, I was delighted to find out when registering for my very first semester of classes on campus that the only anthropology professor specialized in the anthropological study of currency and finance! The Ripon anthropology department has awarded me the perfect experience to study the intersection between my two majors (anthropology and business management) that I am confident I would not have been able to do in the same capacity at any other (school).”
  • Gemma Koester-Jess ’23 of Madison, Wisconsin: “My experience with anthropology here at Ripon has been amazing, I’ve learned so much about myself and the people around me. I’ve been able to research what I am interested in from a whole new lens. I am hoping to incorporate what I’ve learned from anthropology into my work as a future historian. I can incorporate what I’ve learned to better understand history.”
  • Sonja Brueggemann ’22 of Hawthorn Woods, Illinois: “My experience with anthropology at Ripon College has fueled my passion to learn about other cultures as well as immerse myself into different cultural experiences. I believe that the anthropology department at Ripon helps educate students on cultural diversity. By educating students on diversity, you are helping create a more well-rounded group of students which, in turn, helps students from different cultures and backgrounds feel more comfortable and understood by their peers. Being culturally aware can only benefit, not only the individual but the society in which they are a part of. I hold anthropology near and dear to my heart. I honestly believe that majoring in anthropology at Ripon was one of the best decisions I have ever made.”
  • Miles Kremsreiter ’22 of Coleman, Wisconsin: “I had no clue what anthropology was until my first class in the first semester of my freshman year. I realized that anthropology could be very important for my education and future success along with majoring in art history with museum studies. My post-Ripon profession is to be a coin grader or possibly working with money from all around the world, and I have learned so much information about money in Professor Ursula Dalinghaus’s classes about money and its role in anthropology. Anthropology has helped me out in so many different ways, both in my academic and personal life. A few ways that anthropology has changed my life was it made me become a better reader, write, and listener. As part of anthropology fieldwork, I also have become better at socializing and talking to people whom I have never met before for an interview.”
  • Alyssa Naber ’22 of Big Bend, Wisconsin: “At first I was nervous to delve into a field that was so unknown to me, as my interest began with a high school course in human geography. I loved learning about the different cultures and how people related to the culture around them, so I figured anthropology would be a good start. I decided to take the introductory course, and my interest only flourished and grew. Since continuing with the anthropology program, I have opened my mind to a wide range of subjects I never imagined I would study, like witchcraft and reading ethnographies. This program and anthropology in general have brought me into contact with so many like-minded people who have the same interests as me. It is always a pleasure to debate and converse with them. As for future aspirations, I plan to travel as much as I can, and I know my anthropological background will help me be conscious of the different people, societies, beliefs and cultures that I may come across.”
  • Sarah Weber ’22 of Racine, Wisconsin: “The anthropology department has given me an outlet to take my knowledge from other departments and apply it to how our society and culture has grown over the years. By majoring in anthropology, I am able to have a more diverse understanding of humanity and the way we are able to function. With my degree in anthropology, I know I’ll be able to better understand our society and do my job in a more comprehensive manner.”