The School is renowned for its contributions to anthropological theory, its commitment to long-term ethnographic fieldwork, and its association with the Pitt Rivers Museum and the anthropology of visual and material culture. In recent years the School has also become known as a centre for medical and ecological anthropology, migration studies, evolutionary anthropology, and the study of cognition and culture. Home to over forty academic staff, over a hundred doctoral students, twelve Master’s programmes, and two undergraduate degrees (human sciences; archaeology and anthropology), Oxford anthropology is one of the world’s largest and most vibrant centres for teaching and research in the discipline.
It came top of the Power (research excellence + volume) rankings for anthropology in the UK in RAE 2008.
Anthropology has been taught at Oxford since E.B. Tylor began lecturing on the subject in 1883, and the first Professor of Social Anthropology, A.R. Radcliffe-Brown, was appointed in 1937. His successors have been Sir Edward Evans-Pritchard (1946-70), Maurice Freedman (1970-75), Rodney Needham (1976-90), John Davis (1990-95), and David Parkin (1996-2008). In 2006 a second Chair in Social Anthropology was established, to which Harvey Whitehouse was appointed from October 2006 (taking over from Professor Parkin as Head of School). David Gellner was elected to the first Chair in Social Anthropology with effect from October 2008, following David Parkin’s retirement.
The School brings together the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology (ISCA), the Institute of Human Sciences (IHS), the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology (ICEA), the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) and the Pitt Rivers Museum (which is governed through the University’s Academic Services and University Collections Group). Apart from the Museum, the School’s buildings are clustered together on both sides of Banbury Road (see map). In addition to staff offices, these buildings contain teaching spaces, library facilities (including the Tylor Library which houses 21,000 books, some 70 current periodicals, and about 14,000 pamphlets), meeting rooms, video-conferencing equipment, computing facilities, common rooms, and kitchens.