Anthropology is the study of humankind and is divided into four major fields: cultural anthropology, concerned with the cultural diversity of contemporary human societies; biological anthropology, concerned with the evolution and physical aspects of humans; archeology, concerned with the materiality of human experiences; and linguistic anthropology, concerned with the context of human languages. Cultural anthropology is an interdisciplinary field of study that embraces both the humanities and social sciences. Cultural anthropologists develop cultural sensitivity and communication skills so that they can comprehend and theorize the diversity and universality of human cultures. Usually a cultural anthropologist resides in his/her site of research for at least one year to conduct fieldwork from a native person's point of view
Traditional cultural anthropologists tended to conduct research on small tribes, rural areas, and Third World societies. Seemingly unique lifestyles in such isolated areas attracted anthropologists' attention. However, as globalization rapidly spreads, cultural anthropology covers a wider range of cultural diversity. Complex cultural phenomena and people's transnational lives that traverse the borders of nation-states, prompted by new technology and globalization, have become main areas of research.
Against this backdrop, the Department of Cultural Anthropology was established at the College of Social Sciences, Yonsei University in March of 2008 to engage in deep research of globalized cultural phenomena through the practical approach of applied anthropology. In its sequence of courses, the Department of Cultural Anthropology first emphasizes teaching cultural relativism, the central perspective of cultural anthropology. Then it stresses the education of research methodology so that students can develop their own ability to conduct fieldwork in various types of fields. Lastly, the Department of Cultural Anthropology promotes practical skills for students to engage in current sociocultural issues including health, poverty, development, urban regeneration, migration, and refugees. The Department of Cultural Anthropology nurtures students' creativity by providing various fieldwork and internship opportunities so that they can get training to become professionals in culture-related areas. Through its courses, the Department of Cultural Anthropology produces experts in various fields of culture: culture as a means of representing and practicing identities; culture as a project of creating alternative lifestyles; culture as an image conveyed via movies and the mass media; and culture as a way of life in transnational social spaces.
Many graduates from the Department of Cultural Anthropology develop their careers in companies, the media, and academia, while some of them design and produce cultural content as movie directors and writers. Many others enter international organizations and NGOs to engage in sociocultural issues such as poverty, human rights, and development. In the face of today's age of culture, our graduates apply their training in cultural sensitivity and various fieldwork methods as skilled area specialists, cultural designers, and cultural producers in a wide range of fields that require "cultural perspectives". The demand for our graduates is on the constant rise as culture has become an important source of high-value products today.