Anthropology is the study of the cultures, institutions, social behaviours, economies and systems of meaning of all human societies. Anthropology is the study of humanity and human behavior. It is the only discipline that offers a conceptual scheme for the whole context of human experiences. It provides a broad framework into which many other subjects can be fitted. Moreover, Social Anthropology is the comparative study of the institutions, social behaviours, and systems of meaning of all human societies. It is concerned with describing how any given society organizes its relations to the environment, its economy, social interaction and groupings, structures of political authority, gender roles, religion, and all other aspects of its culture. As social scientists, Anthropologists formulate general theories about human social behavior and cultural understanding usually based on the intimate study of highly localized phenomena in contemporary and historical contexts, a field known broadly as ethnography.
Department of Anthropology aims at developing students to understand themselves as embedded within and products of social and cultural contexts. Our students are trained to have the relational and analytic tools to operate effectively within the social complexity of our dynamic world and engage people cross-culturally, both in Pakistan and abroad. Students will become critical thinkers, addressing social problems and positively engaging in cultural analysis through theory, data, and practical solutions.
The Department of Anthropology at Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad has the distinction of being the first and, as of now, the only and full fledge department in the country. It was established in 1974 under a program of collaboration with the Universities of Pennsylvania (USA) and Heidelberg (Germany). The Department was established with the efforts of Prof. Dr. Ahmad Hassan Dani (Late). In August 1976 Prof. Dr. Muhammad MA Rauf was appointed as the first Chairman of the Department. Presently, Prof. Dr. Hafeez ur Rehman Chaudhary is the chairman of the department.
The general goal of the department is to develop an analytical foundation for understanding social interaction both within Pakistani society and across cultures. The faculty duly communicates the gospel of its subject matter at several levels of social interaction. The micro level involves face-to-face communication, for example, in marriage or the family; the middle-range level reflects activities in organizations or social movements; and the macro level presents issues of culture and societal structures. At each level, social processes such as socialization, stratification, urbanization, and social disorganization are examined. The anthropology faculty emphasizes both the particularities of varying cultural systems, as well as the universal characteristics of humans made in the image of mankind. Recognizing culture as a set of only partial solutions to human problems, Anthropology faculty also examine the ways in which the gospel and culture can operate jointly to explain human adaptations in different societies.
2) M. Phil
The department aims to extend its capacities. It has already started Masters program in Sociology. Moreover, Masters program in Social Work shall be commenced soon. Anthropology, Sociology, Social Work and Linguistics departments will function under the newly established ‘School of Culture’.
Scope of Anthropology
The Pakistani society has become prone to diversified social problems for which social scientists are coming up with appropriate scientific skills to address the social pathologies and Anthropologists are at the forefront in such a pursuit. However the Academia and International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) during the last two decades have done ample work and brain storming for the alleviation of social problems and uplift in the socio-economic status of the masses. This effort encompasses both the theory and the practical and Anthropology as a discipline is well equipped in both.
There is dire need of such skilled social scientists / ethnologists to fill the vacuum in Pakistani society and come up with the social policies to address the contemporary problems. It is well established now that after completion of Anthropology degree the graduates participate in Nation building activities. The graduates are actively involved in Development activities such as, Social Mobilisation, Rural Development, Population Planning, Rural Health Schemes, Community Development etc. The training imparted in the Department enable the students to contribute effectively in the development of the country.
Expansion of Academic Programs
The Department was offering Master’s degree since its inception. From September 2002, Prof. Dr. Hafeez-ur-Rehman took special interest in the expansion of the department and initiated the classes of MSc Self-Finance, MPhil and PhD. Enrollment in the Department has increased manifold, as at present there are 230 MSc, 42 M. Phil and 25 PhD students. A large number of government and non-government organizations have signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the department in collaborative research and some are in the pipeline.
Strengthening of Field Research
Three semesters of course work and one semester compulsory fieldwork is the distinctive feature of the program, which sets it special from other Social Sciences. During fieldwork, students are required to stay at their respective research sites, generally in the rural areas of Pakistan at least for the period of four months.
On the basis of their extensive fieldwork, students are required to write their thesis based on their primary data. It provides them an opportunity to learn how to analyze the field data. It also helps them to develop deep insight into Pakistani Society and culture. The Department of Anthropology is thus a growing Department with emphasis on research, training and highly advanced educational perspectives in the teaching of the discipline.
By realizing the changing trends in social sciences world over, and keeping in view the developments that have taken place in country, more new issues have emerged. Emphasis has been shifted to problem oriented research studies so that the graduates of the department could effectively contribute in the development of the country by identifying the issues of masses and the changes in the society. The focus of department is now more on current issues such as social change and development, effects of globalization, Environment, family planning, social problems, child labor, women & child rights, mother & child health, education, gender issues, women and development etc
The seminar library of the Department houses a significant number of books on anthropological concepts and theories and empirical research concerning various social issues. Moreover, a significant number of research journals and thesis/ dissertations are available for the reference.