The interdisciplinary and integrative spirit of the department is evidenced in its various and vibrant weekly interdepartmental interest groups. Each group brings together faculty, graduate students, and in some cases undergraduates, to engage problems and topics from distinctive thematic and analytic perspectives. The Department’s interest groups include:
BEC unites scholars exploring the connections among evolution, culture, the mind, and society and provides a framework to facilitate research and training on the interaction among natural selection, cultural transmission, social relations, and psychology.
Culture, Power, and Social Change
CPSC is concerned with a broad range of issues in sociocultural anthropology. As the name of the group suggests, we are particularly interested in how the workings of culture, and of different forms of power and inequality, play out in the contemporary world. And behind these two issues are questions of social change, that is, of the ways in which the rapidly changing world of today impacts people’s lives, and in turn, how people in different circumstances seek to bring about change in the world. CPSC I hosts talks by both in-house faculty members and visiting post-doctoral and faculty level scholars; CPSC II hosts talks by advanced graduate students. All CPSC events are open only to UCLA faculty, students, and invited guests.
Discourse lab provides participants the opportunity to present original work-in-progress, such as conference papers, thesis or dissertation work, and get commentary. The range of topics, issues, methods, and theories varies, with a preference given to analyses based on spontaneously occurring interaction across everyday settings (e.g. homes, workplaces, classrooms, playgrounds, political campaigns, artistic performances, medical facilities, support organizations).
Mind, Medicine, and Culture
MMAC provides a forum for exploring recent research and classical and contemporary theoretical perspectives that inform psychocultural studies and medical anthropology. Regular MMAC participants include faculty in Anthropology, Psychology and related departments, post-doctoral scholars, and interested graduate and undergraduate students.
Topics explored in recent years include: critical perspectives on health, mental health and illness, healing, memory, emotion, subjectivity & self-processes, religion & spirituality, psychopathology, cultural phenomenology, public health & health disparities, therapeutic applications, research methods & ethics, and psychoanalysis.