Anthropology of the City

Anthropology of the City is not only about bringing an urban focus to anthropology at Wayne State; it is about using Detroit’s rich history of grassroots democracy and community action to change the way we conduct anthropological research. The name “anthropology of the city” may imply a research focus on the city in traditional terms, but we challenge ourselves to move beyond the distancing scientific gaze and implied separation between university researcher and the city that comes with that expression. Our ambition is to create a “city’s anthropology” and not just an “anthropology of the city;” a research enterprise that involves residents directly and serves their interests, making Detroiters partners and collaborators in urban research. 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.  

To that end, we use our Detroit focused research projects as a bridge between residents and the university. We use classes, fieldwork and service-based learning opportunities as way to connect our talented students to community based organizations. Anthropology of the City involves faculty and students in all of 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

Uniting Detroiters: Coming Together from the Ground Up

  • Dr. Andrew Newman, Linda Campbell, Danielle Atkinson, Sara Safransky

Unearthing Detroit: Collections-based Research and Community Archeology at the Grosscup Museum of Anthropology

  • Dr. Krysta Ryzewski, Dr. Thomas Killion, and Dr. Tamara Bray

Mapping Food Justice: Groceries, Ethics and Inequality in Detroit

  • Dr. Yuson Jung and Dr. Andrew Newman

Urban Archaeology | Detroit.  including: Roosevelt Park Excavations,  Corktown & the Speakeasy Project at Tommy's Bar

  • Dr. Krysta Ryzewski

Workers' Rowhouse Excavations: Corktown Archaeological Survey

  • Dr. Thomas Killion

The Speakeasy Project

  • Dr. Krysta Ryzewski and Preservation Detroit

The Detroit River Urban Angler Project

  • Dr. Mark Luborsky; Dr. Andrea Sankar

Ethnic Layers of Detroit: Augmented Reality and Multimedia Experiences of Cultural Heritage

  • Dr. Krysta Ryzewski, Dr. Felecia Lucht, Dr. Sangeetha Gopalakrishnan, Dr. Laura Kline, Dr. Alina Klin, Julie Koehler


  • Dr. Stephen Chrisomalis

The Oak Hill Cemetery Project, Pontiac, MI

  • Dr. Teddi Setzer


Related Anthropology Courses

(please consult the WSU Course Bulletin for ANT course numbers and schedule information)

Urban Anthropology (Prof. Newman)

Urban Archaeology (Prof. Ryzewski)

Seminar: Social Movements (Prof. Newman)

Historical Archaeology (Prof. Ryzewski)

Seminar: Globalization (Prof. Jung)

Archaeological Field Methods: Roosevelt Park Excavations (Prof. Ryzewski)

Food and Culture (Prof. Jung)



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