The Indian Anthropological Society is one of the premier societies in the world, which grew out of the Anthropological Club in 1921. Sir Asutosh Mukhopadhyay, the then Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calcutta, was the founder president of the Club. It continued for several years as a viable academic body. Later on it was revived as “The Indian Anthropological Society”.

The Society was registered in 1958 under the West Bengal Societies Act.

The major objective of the Society is to operate as the forum for periodically defining the role and relevance of anthropology in the contemporary and emerging situation in India and develop inter-culturally tolerant outlook among citizens of India.

The Journal of the Indian Anthropological Society, the official organ of the Society, was brought out for the first time in 1966. It is an international journal and rated as one of the best journals of Anthropology in India and surrounding countries. The journal publishes theoretical, empirical and review papers in different areas of anthropology, other social sciences, human biology and medical anthropology. It occasionally publishes special issues that explore single topic or topics on regional perspective.

The research Wing of the Society undertakes project work, organises regular and memorial lectures, annual conferences, seminars, symposia and panel discussions from time to time. With the financial support from ICSSR, UNESCO, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Government of India, Department of Higher and Technical Education, Government of West Bengal and Anthropological Survey of India. The Society successfully completed number of research projects. These are:

1. Calcutta: Community of Communities,

2. Rajbanshi Social Movement in northern part of West Bengal

3. Monasteries of Sikkim: Crafts and Craftsmanship and

4. Women and Youth in Persistence of Folk Traditions in the Sundarbans.

Apart from the above activities, the Society stood up on the occasions whenever the discipline of Anthropology was at crossroads. It approached the University Grants Commission to stop fragmentation of integrated discipline of Anthropology in different Universities and introduced the study of the subject as a whole and also approached all the state governments of India to open Anthropology in undergraduate colleges. It stood for the cause to protest against the Indian Science Congress when it had grouped the discipline of Anthropology under Behavioural Science.