The Department of Anthropology at the University of Washington was launched in the 1920s by Leslie Spier and Melville Jacobs. Both were students of Franz Boas, as was Erna Gunther (famed ethnobotanist) who took the reins in 1929 and under whose lively leadership the department grew for a quarter of a century.
Our departmental logo was created in the early 1990's for our first departmental graduation ceremony. The design was created by Marvin Oliver, one of the Northwest Coast’s foremost contemporary sculptors and printmakers, who made great strides in the art world for the development and recognition of Native American Contemporary Fine Art. Vi Hilbert, Lushootseed linguist and folklorist, composed our slogan which has several meanings: "helping hands", "lifting up other", and/or "to give gratitude".
Today, we are a large, and still lively, department that includes 35 faculty members and houses three academic sub-disciplines into which our undergraduate and graduate programs are apportioned: archaeology, biological anthropology, and sociocultural anthropology. While pursuing a wide range of theoretical and methodological approaches, we all work toward a common goal, namely to document and understand our many interconnected ways of being human in a world now inhabited by seven billion people speaking five thousand languages. For a brief summary of our program view the Department of Anthropology Fact Sheet (PDF).
At the heart of anthropology research, theory and practice lies a shared appreciation of and commitment to understanding all aspects of human difference. View the Department of Anthropology Diversity Mission Statement.