Graduate Anthropology Program 

Sociocultural Anthropology 

For over 100 years, the Department of Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma has been engaged in research and teaching on Native North America. Additionally, sociocultural professors conduct and supervise research in Latin America and elsewhere. Faculty members have a wide range of experience and expertise, with the following theoretical and topical concentrations.

  • Identity: Misha Klein, Betty Harris, Sean O’Neill, Amanda Minks, Lucas Bessire, Kimberly Marshall
  • Expressive Culture: Daniel Swan, Sean O’Neill, Kimberly Marshall, Lucas Bessire
  • Political Economy: Betty Harris, Tassie Hirschfeld, Daniel Swan, Karl Rambo
  • Religion: Daniel Swan, Kimberly Marshall, Sean O’Neill, Misha Klein, Lucas Bessire
  • Gender: Betty Harris, Tassie Hirschfeld, Misha Klein
  • Language and Culture: Sean O’Neill, Amanda Minks, Lucas Bessire, Racquel-María Sapién
  • Applied Anthropology: Lori L. Jervis, Paul Spicer, Daniel Swan, Betty Harris, Sean O’Neill
  • Medical Anthropology: Paul Spicer, Lori L. Jervis, Tassie Hirschfeld, Betty Harris, Misha Klein, Lucas Bessire [Ph.D. students interested in pursuing medical anthropology research may want to apply to the Health and Human Biology track]
  • Human-animal interactions:  Courtney Hofman, Lori L. Jervis, Paul Spicer, Diane Warren

With thirty-nine federally recognized Native American tribes in the state (and numerous other resident Native communities), thirteen Historically Black towns, a surprising array of immigrant groups, and many local religious and cultural practices that are unique in the country, the state of Oklahoma provides students with rich opportunities for developing ethnographic and ethnohistorical skills, as well as their own research projects. Students are also encouraged to pursue research projects elsewhere in the country and abroad.

Research with Tribal Communities

The Department has a long history of collaborative relationships with tribal communities in Oklahoma. The resulting research has helped to support tribal goals of attaining or maintaining federal recognition, documenting tribal histories and languages, providing better health care, reviving and repatriating material culture and stories, and establishing tribal cultural studies and native language education programs. This collaboration contributes to student field research opportunities in the areas of historical anthropology, medicine, genealogy, politics, sociolinguistics, and oral history.

Research Resources and Opportunities 

The University campuses in Norman, Oklahoma City, and Tulsa, are each home to world-class institutions that offer research and internship opportunities for students. On the main campus in Norman, students may participate in research projects through the Center for Applied Social Research, the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, especially on their Native American collections, and the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art enlists students to work with Native American art exhibits. Additionally, students have access to the wealth of information stored in the Western History Collections. Beyond Norman, resources include the Oklahoma Historical Society in Oklahoma City, and federal and regional archives and depositories.  Ph.D. students interested in pursuing medical anthropology research may want to apply to the Health and Human Biology track.

Degrees and Program Requirements

Our department offers degrees in Sociocultural Anthropology at the B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. levels.  At the MA level, students can elect to take an MA in Anthropology with a Concentration in Socio-Cultural Anthropology. For more information on degrees and requirements at the undergraduate level, see our undergraduate program description.  For more information on degrees and requirements at the graduate level, see our graduate program description.

Faculty Research Interests

Dr. Lucas Bessire: Indigeneity, media an violence in Latin America
Dr. Betty Harris: Political economy, gender, race and ethnicity, and environmental issues (Southern Africa; US)
Dr. Tassie Hirschfeld: Political economy of health and health disparities in Latin America and Oklahoma
Dr. Lori L. Jervis
: Human-animal interaction, Native elder mistreatment, psychiatric disability, cognitive impairment
Dr. Misha Klein: The relationship between ethnic and national identity for minorities (i.e., Jews in Brazil)
Dr. Kimberly J. Marshall: Religious expressive culture; manifestations of global Pentecostalism among Native Americans (i.e., Navajo "believers")
Dr. Sean O’Neill: The role of language in human social life, including its place in identity politics, storytelling, and song
Dr. Karl Rambo: Economic anthropology, especially regarding market-based and non-market-based social relations
Dr. Racquel-Maria Sapien Anthropological linguistics, endangered languages
Dr. Paul Spicer:
 Human development and health in American Indian tribal communities
Dr. Daniel Swan
Materiality, space and performance in Native American religion