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What Can You Do With A Degree In Anthropology?                              [back]

Be an effective advocate for social change...

Our Department motto is "Making Knowledge Count" and our faculty and students have been doing just that!


Stephen Gaetz, Advocate for the Homeless

(PhD York Anthropology 1990)

Associate Professor, Faculty of Education

Prof. Gaetz was York Anthropology's first doctoral graduate.

Dr. Gaetz has played a leading international role in knowledge dissemination in the area of homelessness. York played host to 2005’s Canadian Conference on Homelessness – the first research conference of its kind in Canada. In addition, York University now hosts the Homeless Hub the first comprehensive and cross-disciplinary web-based clearinghouse of homelessness research in the world.


Stephen Gaetz has currently received multi-year funding from SSHRC to establish the Canadian Homelessness Research Network. The focus of this network is to work with researchers across Canada to mobilize research so that it has a greater impact on homelessness policy and planning.




 Wenona Giles, Borderless Education Advocate

Associate Professor, Anthropology

Deputy Director, Centre for Refugee Studies

Wenona Giles teaches and publishes in the areas of gender, migration, refugee issues, ethnicity, nationalism, work, globalization, and war.

She is now engaged in an international collaborative research endeavor to bring higher education degree programs to long term refugees in camps.


Penny van Esterik,

HIV and Breastfeeding

Professor, Anthropology

Penny van Esterik is a nutritional anthropologist who is exploring the role of breastfeeding and breastfeeding advocacy in the context of HIV/AIDS. Transmission through breastmilk is a relatively minor concern for AIDS researchers, considering the global demand for more effective prevention and better access to treatment worldwide. But it is of central importance to child feeding advocates who have seen programs to support breastfeeding mothers decimated over the past decade, with potential for devastating consequences.

Check her advocacy website.


If this career path appeals to you, we suggest the following courses as either a honours double major (36 credits), or a minor (30 credits) in combination with the Public Policy and Administration program.

Suggested (24 credits):

AN 1110 6.0 Introduction to Social Anthropology

AN 2100 6.0 One World Many Peoples

AN 2220 6.0 Public Anthropology

AN 4340 6.0 Advocacy and Social Movements


Further Electives (6 or 12 credits):

AN 3080 6.0 Modes of Enablement: A Cultural Perspective on Physical Disability

AN 3200 6.0 The Anthropology of International Health

AN 4030 6.0 Intercultural Training Skills

AN 4160 3.0 Anthropology and Indigenous People’s Health

AN 4410 3.0 The Anthropology of Human Rights







Why do humans have such different ways of living and thinking?

What makes you different from and similar to other individuals and groups both in Canada and around the world?

Why are we not becoming all the same in our global world due to new technologies, new media and more powerful multinational corporations?

Why do social inequality, poverty, racism, and violence continue to occur around the world, including here in Canada?