Anthropology of the city

Anthropology of the City brings an urban focus to anthropology at Wayne State and uses Detroit's rich history of grassroots democracy and community action to change the way we conduct anthropological research.

Our Anthropology of the City faculty and students are practicing a "city's anthropology", as well as an "anthropology of the city" (especially from the perspective of change over time). These research enterprises involve Detroiters and other regional stakeholders as collaborators in urban research projects that directly serve their interests. In doing this, we hope to draw from and improve upon a tradition of community-researcher partnerships at Wayne State University, such as Bill Bunge's now-legendary Detroit Geographic Expedition and former anthropology Professor Arnold Pilling's pioneering community-facing urban historical archaeological research.

Our Detroit focused research projects are bridges between residents and the university. We use classes, fieldwork, and service-based learning opportunities as a way to connect our talented students to community-based organizations. Anthropology of the City involves faculty and students in all four of the anthropological subfields at Wayne State University.

For more information about the Anthropology of the City initiative, please contact Andrew Newman or Krysta Ryzewski.

Urban themes

  • Immigrant communities, past and present
  • Landscapes
  • Partnerships with community organizations
  • Political ecology
  • Labor and industry
  • Local food movement and urban agriculture
  • Environmental justice

Current urban research projects, collaborations, and initiatives

Current Research and Associated Faculty
Project Faculty
Detroit: A People's Atlas Dr. Andrew Newman, Linda Campbell, Danielle Atkinson, Sara Safransky
Just Food in Detroit: Groceries, Ethics and Urban Governance Dr. Yuson Jung and Dr. Andrew Newman
Unearthing Detroit: Collections-Based and Community Archaeology of the City Dr. Krysta Ryzewski
Fort Wayne Archaeological Survey, Detroit Dr. Thomas Killion, City of Detroit and Fort Wayne Coalition
The Detroit River Urban Angler Project Dr. Mark Luborsky; Dr. Andrea Sankar
Ethnic Layers of Detroit: Experiencing Place through Digital Humanities and Digital Storytelling Dr. Krysta Ryzewski
Math Corps Dr. Stephen Chrisomalis

Related Anthropology Courses

Please consult the WSU Undergraduate Bulletin for ANT course numbers and schedule information.
  • Urban Anthropology (Professor Newman)
  • Urban Archaeology (Professor Ryzewski)
  • Seminar: Social Movements (Professor Newman)
  • Historical Archaeology (Professor Ryzewski)
  • Seminar: Globalization (Professor Jung)
  • Archaeological Field Methods: Roosevelt Park Excavations (Professor Ryzewski)
  • Food and Culture (Professor Jung)