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 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

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 
  • Excavations and surveys at a number of sites in Detroit and Hamtramck

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 


  • Dr. Stephen Chrisomalis



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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