The Department of Social Anthropology and History embraces a perspective which focuses on the study of the social, historical and cultural aspects of human action. In an era largely characterized by a turn to partial and fragmentary academic knowledge, this Department persists in its continuing support of a multi-faceted and interdisciplinary approach as the most appropriate means to a fuller understanding of social and cultural phenomena. And this is broadly the framework within which the Department organizes teaching, educational, and research activities for both the undergraduate and graduate level. Our teaching focuses on providing complete studies in the fields of Social Anthropology and History. The Department shows a consistent interest in the promotion of the evolving discourse between these two fields and in the approach of specific topics, such as family, gender, kinship, immigration, minority groups, ethnic identities, etc., correlating the anthropological and historical perspectives. The Department holds that a multifaceted and well-rounded exploration of contemporary social and cultural phenomena presupposes their understanding as historical phenomena, thereby recognizing their historical dimension. The investigation and comprehension of the interaction between the past and the present as well as the various uses of the past in the present has been the cornerstone of the Department’s research and academic profile since its founding, and it has proven particularly fruitful to date. This profile is generally reflected in the structure of our undergraduate and graduate study programs, in the subjects of the doctoral dissertations we supervise and in the conferences this Department has organized.
Our focus on the social, historical, and cultural facets of human activity, along with their global examination, entails close ties with other disciplines in the Social Sciences. Although our primary concern is with the systematic induction of the students into the fields of Social Anthropology and History, there is a wide choice of related courses from the Social Sciences on offer, such as Art History, Political Economy, Political Philosophy, and Linguistics. These courses enrich the purview of the fields in the Department and assist in consolidating knowledge in the core fields. The ties with these related fields of study have been strengthened even more with the opening of two new Departments, Geography and Sociology, within the School of Social Sciences of the University of the Aegean.
The Department offers three Graduate Programs. The Program on “Social and Historical Anthropology” started in 2001-2 and was soon followed by the Program on “Gender, Culture, and Society” which started in 2003-4. Moreover, since 2014-5, the Department has had a third Program on “Crisis and Historical Change”. All graduate programs lead to a Master’s degree and are specifically designed for students with various academic backgrounds.
There are four research labs operating within the Department and provide support for teaching and research activities: the Ethnography Lab, the History Lab, the Family and Kinship Studies Lab, and the Lab for the Ethnographic Study of Language (LESoL). A fully equipped computer center is designed to cover the needs of undergraduate and graduate students and provides electronic literacy seminars focusing on a variety of software programs. The computer center is connected with the University’s web-server (Aegean-NET) and free access is provided to all students.