Anthropology means “the human science” most basically. It holistically deals with all the biological, morphological and cultural aspect of humans. It examines the changes of humans and their ancestors in individual and populations levels with the help of many other scientific fields. In our faculty, the Department of Anthropology comprise three sub-departments: Paleoanthropology, Physical Anthropology and Social Anthropology. Students choose classes from the department itself, but can make their choices predominantly according to the sub-departments they would like to specialize in the future.
The anthropological studies in Turkey have started first in 1925 at the Turkish Center for Anthropological Examinations (Türkiye Antropoloji Tetkikat Merkezi) within İstanbul University Faculty of Medicine. The founder members of this center is Prof. Dr. Nurettin Ali Berkel, Prof. Dr. Neşet Ömer İrdelp, Prof. Dr. Süreyya Ali, Köprülüzade Fuat, Prof. Dr. Mouchet and Prof. Dr. İsmail Hakkı. On October 1925, the Turkish Journal of Anthropology (Türk Antropoloji Mecmuası) was published for the first time and 22 issues have been published until 1939.
Ord. Prof. Dr. Şevket Aziz Kansu, then an assistant doctor at İstanbul Darülfünun Faculty of Medicine, was sent to School of Anthropology in Paris in 1927 to specialize in anthropology. Upon his return in 1929, anthropological research started to be conducted by experts in the field.
After Kansu, Seniha Tunakan was sent to the University of Berlin in 1934, Muzaffer Süleyman Şenyürek was sent to Harvard University in 1935 and Afet İnan was sent to Switzerland in 1936 as the student of Prof. Dr. Eugene Pittard.
In 1933, after the conversion of İstanbul Darülfünun to İstanbul University, the center was transferred to the Faculty of Science at the university and renamed as Turkish Institute of Anthropology (Türk Antropoloji Enstitüsü). When the constructions started for the Faculty of Languages and History – Geography (Dil ve Tarih – Coğrafya Fakültesi, DTCF) in Ankara, the institute moved to the Evkaf Building in Ankara and moved to the faculty as the Department of Anthropology after its completion.
In 1962, the institute was renamed as the Institute of Research in Anthropological Sciences (Antropoloji Bilimleri Araştırma Enstitüsü). From 1964 to 1998, 13 issues of the Journal of Anthropology (Antropoloji Dergisi) were published as a follow-up for the Turkish Journal of Anthropology.
In 1993, after the division of the sub department of Social Anthropology, the Department of Physical and Paleoanthropology continued to run. Today, all three of these sub departments are unified in the Department of Anthropology and accepts students at bachelors, masters and doctorate levels.
Our mission is to train young scientists who are open to new ideas and to changing themselves according to the needs of the modern age by teaching them how the scientific information is produced and used. By doing so, we believe they can embrace science as a way of life and pass on their gained knowledge to the new generation.
Our vision for our department is to train scientists, who can closely follow the developments and trends in all fields of anthropology and thusly contributing to the general development of anthropology in Turkey and in other anthropology departments.
Our aim is to academically and physically empower our department by training open minded young scientists and researchers in the light of Atatürk’s ideals and revolutions, who can also become citizens that protect humanitarian and cultural values, hold the well-being of others above their personal interests, be respectful to human and animal rights and question global knowledge by their individual knowledge, abilities and scientific autonomy.