Anthropology was reintroduced in 1956 by Professor J. Louis Giddings, who was appointed at the time of the acquisition of the Haffenreffer Museum of the American Indian. Professor Alpheus S. Packard had first given a course in anthropology to six seniors in 1891. The next year he had nineteen senior students, and reported, “As this is the second year in which anthropology has been offered as an elective, and as only one other University in the country offers instruction in this study, the interest in this comparatively new science manifested by the class was gratifying.” In 1898, with 32 students in his course, Packard reported the urgent need for anthropological monographs and journals which he could not afford to buy and an important addition of “flint implements from the Danish refuse-heaps, comprising stone hammers, celts, lance-heads, knives, etc., received by exchange from the Rhode Island Historical Society.” The anthropology course ceased with the death of Packard in 1905.
With the arrival of Giddings in 1956, the Department of Sociology added courses in human origins, cultural anthropology, and the American Indian. Giddings was joined in 1959 by Dwight B. Heath, and a program in anthropology was begun within the Sociology Department, which changed its name to Department of Sociology and Anthropology. The first master of arts degree in anthropology was awarded in 1962. Philip E. Leis joined the faculty in 1962, and the curriculum was expanded to include courses in non-western and Latin American societies. Alex F. Ricciardelli, who had been visiting assistant professor in 1962-63, was named director of the Haffenreffer Museum in 1968 and taught courses in archaeological methods and theory. Douglas D. Anderson joined the department in 1965, Robert R. Jay came in 1966, and George L. Hicks in 1967. James Deetz also came to Brown in 1967, and was at the same time appointed assistant director of Plimoth Plantation. One of the archaelogical digs undertaken by Deetz’s students was the excavation of the site of the former privy in back of University Hall. Anthropology was part of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology until 1970 when, with eleven faculty members, 25 graduate students, and sixty undergraduates, a separate Department of Anthropology was established with Philip E. Leis as chairman. The department moved in 1970 to Giddings House. The first Ph.D. in anthropology was awarded in 1972. In the 1970s the department was enlarged by the arrival of William O. Beeman in 1973, Marida C. Hollos in 1974, and Lina M. Fruzzetti in 1975. Jane Powell Dwyer, associate professor of anthropology, founded the graduate program in museum studies in 1977.
Particular areas of interest in the department’s curriculum are interethnic relations, archaeology, cognition and communication, museum studies, development studies, medical anthropology, population studies, EuroAmerican ethnology, and women’s studies. Philip Leis was program director from 1968 to 1970, with Alex F. Ricciardelli as acting program director in 1969-70. Since Anthropology became a department in 1970, the chairpersons have been Philip Leis, George L. Hicks, Douglas D. Anderson, Richard A. Gould, and Lina M. Fruzzetti.