Skip to content Skip to navigation


Stanford anthropologists are centrally engaged in key discussions about cities and urban life, modern and ancient. Lynn Meskell and Ian Hodder have made fundamental contributions to the understanding of everyday urban life in several different archaeological contexts. Image of San Jose Chinatown in 19th century - Barb Voss' research Meskell has worked on the New Kingdom Settlement of Deir el Medina, Egypt. Hodder excavate one of the world's earliest cities, at Catalhoyuk in Turkey where he explores why it is the people came to live in cities in the first place. Barbara Voss studies the emergence of modern urbanism through historical archaeology of the San Francisco Bay area, through research on sites as diverse as early Spanish colonial forts and missions to late 19th century Chinatowns. Image from Angela Garcia's field researchAngela Garcia is engaged in research on questions of security and wellbeing in socially and economically marginalized neighborhoods in Mexico City. Thomas Blom Hansen is engaged in research on crowd action, urban politics, racial difference and questions of neighborliness in India and South Africa. James Ferguson has written about changing urban life under conditions of economic decline in Zambia, and is currently interested in the politics of distribution and economic informality in the urban centers of South Africa and Namibia. Miyako Inoue regularly teaches a course titled “City and Sounds,” which explores acoustic and aural constructions of the urban environment. The course also experiment the writing of a sound ethnography. Sylvia Yanagisako is beginning a project on the tertiary sector [service industries], digital communication and urban sociality in Italy. Additionally, several faculty (Voss, Inoue, Ebron) are active participants in the Stanford Program on Urban Studies.