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

Working in the Heritage & Tourism Sector…

Cultural tourism is redefining cultural policies, economic strategies, heritage management models and identity formation processes at the local,national, and international level. A  degree in anthropology prepares you to help governments, international organisations and cultural agencies make tourism work for a sustainable world. Our courses will guide you to understand the theoretical and applied issues related to tourism, development, contemporary forms of mobility, cultures of modernity, festivity and identity construction, informal economies, image and representations, and the politics of everyday life.

Prof. Ken Little

(Assoc. Prof. Anthropology)

has conducted research on tourist safaris in Kenya as spectacle productions, analyzing the visual politics of tourist experience and I am now conducting research on the rise of the tourist state in Belize (below). The Belize research turns its attention to how tourism becomes a significant modality through which transnational, late-modern, everyday life is organised and how tourist encounters opened imaginative spaces that stimulate new identity productions, highlight new aspects of social relations and interactions with nature that actively ensure new "fantasies of becoming" even as new social pressures develop to try and control the flows of tourist desire. He is also an invited Research Professor, Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, UK



Jason Kucherawy

(BA York, Anthropology; Founder, Tour Guys)

When I began my studies in anthropology and fine arts cultural studies at York, I wasn't entirely sure what I wanted to do with my degree after graduating.  Throughout my time at York I actively sought out extra-curricular activities I enjoyed (intramural sports, Anthropology Student Association, residence council, Vanier College Productions) and chose courses that interested me in a variety of academic areas. Too many students think a degree is something to "use" after they graduate. In my case, I didn't "use" my degree to get a

job. Instead what I found myself doing as a fun summer job working as a tour guide with school groups melded perfectly with my education in culture, art, history, social studies and humanities. As I travelled with students and their teachers, I took them into markets, art galleries and museums, and led walking tours of the streets in Ottawa, Quebec City, Montreal, Toronto, New York, Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia. On these trips I found countless opportunities to talk about and teach what I loved. I was able to
engage the students in thoughtful dialogue on just about every topic they were studying and connect their classroom lessons to the real world. I enjoyed so much success as a tour guide working for other companies, the natural step to take was starting my own. I founded a walking tour company in Toronto in 2009 called Tour Guys, with a partner doing the same in Vancouver. Our tours aren't your usual dry history lessons. They are infused with our own interests in what's topical and cool, like food trends, street art, craft beer, music, and includes the most interesting stories and observations from the perspective of a local living here. When I introduce myself to my tour groups now and explain my academic background in anthropology and my continuing fascination with culture, everyone seems impressed and quite confident that they're touring with a knowledgeable tour guide.


Shelley Ruth Butler

(PhD, York, 2002)

is an anthropologist and research fellow at the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada. She has written numerous articles on the politics of museum exhibitions, including "CONTESTED REPRESENTATIONS: REVISITING INTO THE HEART OF AFRICA" (University of Toronto Press, 2007) on the controversial Royal Ontario Museum exhibit, called "the heart of one of the most divisive cultural firestorms to ever hit museums." She has also published work in Museum Anthropology and City and Society.


Karl Schmid

(PhD, York, 2007)

completed his PhD with a thesis on tourism development in the city of Luxor (Ancient Thebes). It reveals how extensive tourism development can marginalize and even criminalize local residents. Another dimension of this work was an exploration of the reshaping of this World Heritage site by multilateral institutions and governments, including the World Bank, UNESCO, UNDP, and the Egyptian government.  Prof. Schmid’s archival and corporate research in Cairo, London, and at the Thomas Cook Archives in Peterborough, England, added to an understanding of the transformation of Egypt and Luxor by the Cooks travel company, the dragomans (early tour guides), and travellers arriving in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.


Follow this link to the career development profile of Karl Hoerig, Director of Nohwike’ Bágowa (House of Our Footprints), the White Mountain Apache Cultural Center and Museum.

If this career path appeals to you, we suggest the following courses as part of either a honours double major (36 credits), or a minor (30 credits).

Elective Courses (see course listings for other degree requirements):

2120 3.0 Visualizing Ourselves, Visualizing Others: Media, Representation & Culture

3020 6.0 Race, Racism & Popular Culture

3120 6.0 The Anthropology of Tourism

3130 3.0 Archaeology and Society: Local Pasts in Global Present

3350 6.0 Culture as Performance: The Anthropology of the Arts

4350 3.0 Perspectives on Visual Anthropology



Check the American Anthropological Society's Careers in Anthropology website.




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?