Anthropology

The Department of Anthropology, Gauhati University has been established in 1948 with Madhab Chandra Goswami in-charge. The Department initially started with under graduate teaching at a cottage on the eastern side of Dighali Pukhuri in Guwahati. In 1956, with the setting up of the Gauhati University's permanent campus, the Department shifted to Jalukbari. In the same year, the department launched its post graduate programme. In the last 67 years of existence the Department of Anthropology, Gauhati University has been imparting quality education in its three major branches of Physical Anthropology, Social and Cultural Anthropology and Archaeological Anthropology.

The Department offers Post graduate and PhD courses in the branches of Physical Anthropology, Socio-cultural Anthropology, and Archaeological Anthropology. Twenty six students are admitted to the semester system PG programme every year. Ethnographic field works is a compulsory part of the PG course which is conducted every year. In addition, the students have to undertake dissertation field work in their chosen branch of specialization. The department has the facilities of Bio-chemical laboratory, Osteometri,c and Craniometric laboratory, Dermatoglyphics laboratory and museum specimen preservation laboratory. There is also a computer laboratory with internet facility to access e-journals. The PhD programme is for 5 years with one semester compulsory course work.

The Department is actively involved in Anthropological Research in the region. It has received the UGC, Special Assistance Programme in the current year (2015) for conducting research in the two thrust areas of Cultural Heritage: Tangible and Intangible and Population Ageing and Health. It has previously received and completed UGC DSA in the year 1992 on the topic -Community Contact cum Extension Education Research.- Besides faculty members of the Department have conducted a number of short term programmes, long term research projects sponsored by various financial organizations. National and regional seminars, workshops special lectures, etc. are organized from time to time to enhance the academic quality of the department.

The Department also has a library. It has books on all the areas of anthropology and other allied subjects and disciplines. Volumes of old journal of national and international repute are also preserved. The field reports and dissertations are kept in the library. The library has about 1300 books and it is updated at regular intervals.

The Bulletin of Department of Anthropology is published annually. It is a peer-reviewed research journal (ISSN 2230-9527).

The Department of Anthropology has a museum named as Madhab Chandra Goswami Anthropological Museum. The North Eastern part of India has a diverse geographical, etnological and cultural background. this unique situation makes the region anthropologically very significant. it is also referred to as a 'paradise for anthropologists'. The museum has been collecting, preserving and documenting the cultural materials from the different parts of the region since its establishment. it can be said to be a repository of the documents of the cultural history of the region.

The museum houses both ethnographic and archaeological specimens. in addition there are skeletons of chimpanzee, gorilla and other primates. the museum has a large collection of basketry items, ornaments belonging to different tribes of the North East, wooden figurines and other items of every day use made of wood, masks, iron objects and a rich collection of fiber and textiles of the region.

Masters Degree Course

he Department of Anthropology, Gauhati University offers two years Post Graduate Course in Anthropology. It is a semester based curriculum with four semesters. The students will receive Masters degree in Science and Arts after the completion of the course. The students have the option of specializing in Physical Anthropology, Social and Cultural Anthropology and Archaeological Anthropology from the third semester.

The first semester has three theory papers of 100 marks each and two practical papers of 150 marks. The theory papers cover aspects of process and principles human evolution, methods and principles of archaeological anthropology, society and culture. Ethnographic field work of 100 marks, including material culture, methods of preserving museum materials, is a compulsory practical work in this semester. The other practical paper of 50 marks covers serology, physiology, dermatoglyphics and sense perception.

The second semester has three theory papers of 100 marks each and two practical papers of 150 marks. The theory papers deal with human variation, prehistoric man and culture and other aspects of society and culture. Practical in physical anthropology includes craniometry, osteometry and bio-statistics. Archaeological anthropology practical deals with prehistoric technology covering stone tool and pottery technology.

In the third semester, the students have to choose their specialization from Physical Anthropology, Social and Cultural Anthropology or Archaeological Anthropology. There are three 100 marks compulsory theory papers for all students and two papers of 100 and 50 marks each from the chosen specialization. The compulsory papers covers applied, action and development anthropology, applied physical anthropology, rural and urban anthropology. Students have to submit a dissertation for 100 marks based on field work on the chosen specialization. Each of the optional papers from the three branches has a paper on research methodology for 50 marks.

In the fourth semester there are two general papers of 100 marks each. The first general paper is on society and culture in India and North-East India and the second is on the anthropology of North-East India. Each of the specialization have three 100 marks theory papers. The Physical Anthropology optional papers cover formal genetics, population genetics and anthropological demography. Social and Cultural Anthropology covers anthropological theories and thoughts, study of monographs and modern trends in social anthropology. Archaeological Anthropology includes environmental archaeology, prehistoric economic patterns and social archaeology, prehistory of South and South East Asia.

 

PhD Course

The PhD programme of the Department is for 5 years duration with compulsory one semester course work.

The Department presently has around 14 research guides. The areas of research in Physical Anthropology are broadly growth, demography, population genetics, ageing, medical anthropology, etc. Research on Social and Cultural Anthropology include studies on socio-cultural change, rural and urban anthropology, health, etc. Archaeological Anthropological research is mostly in the areas of ethno-archaeology, geo-archaeology, environmental archaeology, prehistoric archaeology, etc.

The Department presently has 62 PhD students pursuing research under this programme. There are 2 Post Doctoral research scholars working in the Department. Between 2001 and 2013, 47 students have received PhD degree from the Department.

 

Departmental Research

The Department has received Special Assistance Programme, DRS I under University Grants Commission in 2015 to undertake research in the following two thrust areas:

  • (a) Cultural Heritage: Tangible and Intangible
  • (b) Population Ageing and Health

Courses Offered

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History

The Anthropological museum of the Gauhati University set up in the Department of the Anthropology in 1948. By 1950, it developed into a nucleus for a good teaching museum embracing all the branches of anthropology namely, Primate skeleton, bones models of fossil men, objects illustrative of the prehistoric cultures of our ancestors and ethnological specimens which illustrate the different aspects of material and spiritual cultures of the tribal and peasant folk. By 1960, this department is developed into a full fledged teaching in researching museum. It is an integrated museum where the all the sections of man’s cultural achievements are preserved.

In keeping innumerable contribution to build up the Museum today’s state the Gauhati University acknowledged the name of Prof. M.C. Goswami, the former head of the department, anthropology and named the museum as "Madhab Chandra Goswami Anthropological Museum".

At present the museum has more than 15000 collections which includes 3000 ethnographic, 12000 archaeological and 10 skeletons of anthropoid apes and primates. These collections are from different ethno-cultural zones of North East India.

 

The Curators of Museum

  • 1. Shri P. D. Saikia (1958-1959)
  • 2. Dr. P. C. Saikia (1959-1970)
  • 3. Dr. H. C. Sarma (1970-1973)
  • 4. Dr. B. Choudhury (1976-1981)
  • 5. Dr. S. K. Roy (1984-2009)
  • 6. Dr. B. K. Borah (2009 till date)

Department of Anthropology
Gauhati University, Guwahati 781014, Assam
Phone : +91-361-2570248
Email : anthopology@gauhati.ac.in
Web   : gauhati.ac.in/science/anthropology

Professor

Abdullah Ali Ashraf Head of the Department
MSc (Gauhati) PhD (Gauhati)
Archaeological Anthropology, Prehistoric Archaeology
abdullahaliashraf@gauhati.ac.in

Associate Professor

Arifur Zaman
MSc (Gauhati) PhD (Gauhati)
Advanced Social and Cultural Anthropology
arifurzaman@gauhati.ac.in

Associate Professor

Chandana Sarmah
MSc (Gauhati) PhD (Gauhati)
Physical Anthropology
chandanasarmah@gauhati.ac.in

Professor

Dwipen Bezbaruah
MSc (Gauhati) PhD (Gauhati)
Archaeological Anthropology
dwipen@gauhati.ac.in

Associate Professor

Gulrukh Begum
MSc (Gauhati) PhD (Gauhati)
Physical Anthropolgy
gulrukhbegum@gauhati.ac.in

Assistant Professor

Humi Thaosen
MSc (Gauhati)
Social and Cultural Anthropology
huthaosen@gauhati.ac.in

Professor

Mini Bhattacharyya Thakur
MSc (Delhi) PhD (Gauhati)
Social and Cultural Anthropology
mbthakuranth@gauhati.ac.in

Professor

Rekha Das
MSc (Gauhati) PhD (Gauhati)
Physical Anthropology
rekhadas@gauhati.ac.in

Assistant Professor

Robinson Senar
MSc (Gauhati)
Archaeological Anthropology
robinson.senar@gauhati.ac.in

Assistant Professor

Smita Devi Bora
MA (Gauhati) PhD (Gauhati)
Archaeological Anthropology
smita.devi.bora@gauhati.ac.in

Associate Professor

Sushil Sinha
MSc (Gauhati) PhD (Gauhati)
Social and Cultural Anthropology
sushilsinha@gauhati.ac.in