The Anthropology & Sociology program at Williams is noted for its commitment to field-based research, both ethnographic and archaeological. Recent projects range from a documentary film about pre- and post-Taliban Afghanistan to qualitative studies of religious militancy in India and everyday survival strategies in post-socialist Russia. Members of the department have undertaken research in Afghanistan, Australia, Canada, Israel, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Guatemala, Nepal, Pakistan, Peru, Russia, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, and various parts of the United States.
Publications emerging from these research projects since 2000 include Michael F. Brown's Who Owns Native Culture? (Harvard University Press), David B. Edwards's Before Taliban (University of California Press), Kim Gutschow's Being a Buddhist Nun (Harvard University Press), Robert Jackall's Street Stories: The World of Police Detectives (Harvard University Press), Peter Just's Dou Donggo Justice (Rowman & Littlefield), James L. Nolan Jr.'s Reinventing Justice (Princeton University Press), and Olga Shevchenko's Crisis and the Everyday in Postsocialist Moscow (Indiana University Press), as well as numerous book chapters and journal articles by Antonia Foias and Arafaat Valiani. Scholarly work by members of the department has been published in Spanish, French, Italian, Polish, Russian, Mandarin, Greek, Tamil, and Dutch.
Recent thesis projects by majors in Anthropology or Sociology have included studies of autonomy and cooperation among Maine lobstermen, the negotiation of Ghanaian identity in Chicago, the social significance of "living history" museums, and the significance of social class to first-generation college students. Every year one or more Williams students accompany Prof. Antonia Foias to her archaeological field site in Guatemala, Motul de San José.