Anthropologies, the collaborative online project fostered by Ryan Anderson, has a new issue out – Anthropology with Purpose: Applied, Public, Academic.
The special issue features eight essays written by a wide-ranging group of anthropologists, and one insightful interview as well. Here is the list:
Anthropology: A Sense of Purpose
Ryan Anderson provides an introduction to the issue, and delves into what has given purpose to his own work and thought as an anthropologist
For me, Chavez’s book [Shadowed Lives] dramatically expanded my social and political world. It literally took a place that I thought I had known so well, and told me about a whole layer of hidden histories. It blew apart the myopic, sanitized histories of my own past, my own community. To me, this is the purpose of anthropology.
What’s Wrong with Anthropology?
John Hawks argues that anthropology needs a kick in the pants. Embrace new forms, defend good science, and empower students – these can transform the field.
As anthropologists, we are stewards of unique cultural and biological resources. If cultural resources lie unused, unwitnessed, and unappreciated, then human heritage dies. With technology, we can protect and promote those resources, enabling people to discover their cultural and genealogical heritage. We can engage communities in real academic and scientific research… As public funding for universities comes increasingly under threat, our institutions face a desperate need to demonstrate their value by bringing constituents into our research and academic communities. Anthropology is perfectly placed to enable such engagement, and universities are ready to support us in those efforts.
Anthropology in Public and Anthropologists Coming Together: Two Reflections on Purpose
Here I reflect on anthropology towards the future, using the examples of the AAA controversy over “science” and applied and academic anthropologists working together.
Anthropology for me is applied, academic, and public. There is no necessary separation between the different strands; indeed, I only see the potential for synergy and for advances. I see an anthropology that makes a difference in ideas, in people’s lives, and in how we understand prominent issues and problems of our time.
Media, technology, and anthropology: An Interview with Adam Fish
Ryan interviews Adam, ranging over both anthropology and media, past and future.
I want to be inductive, pragmatic, an expert ethnographer, and a historical particularist for a digital age… As an applied pragmatist I discovered that film isn’t all that great as an essay form or teaching tool… I no longer think video and film should be more centrally located within the ethnographic project. It should augment a wickedly detailed book.
From Stares to Shares: Taking Anthropology to the Web
Jason Antrosio wants anthropology online, and provides an overview of tools to do it. See also his expanded list on blog and website tools.
Promoting anthropology on a website or blog forges connections outside the routine research-and-teaching channels. As material is posted, it becomes available for searching, an archive to explore, revisit, and update. Anthropologists do great work in the classroom and among colleagues. I have seen better analysis of current news items circulate through department e-mail than are available in the press. But we could do better at moving this material into a more public sphere.
Anthropology in High Tech
John Sherry gives us insight into his work at Intel’s Interaction and Research Experience Lab.
Over the past decade some of us have recognized that there is a much deeper level at which anthropology can contribute to industry, beginning with a problematizing of the concept of the consumer. Anthropology, which stipulates a genuinely systemic perspective, can provide to our industry the opportunity to see the world in terms of organized complexity. People are far more than consumers, they are participants in extended systems wherein value is created, challenged, taken up, exchanged and otherwise bandied about… One of the primary challenges is doing this translation. That is, helping our colleagues not only understand such concepts, see them at play in the world, but to collaboratively interpret what they mean for the business.
Anthropology and Making a Difference
Jeremy Trombley wants anthropologists to make a difference, not just pursue a public.
This will sound like heresy to some, I’m sure, and it definitely marks a change in my own position, but I don’t think we can move forward until we give up this preoccupation with engaging the public… Instead, we should see engaging a wider audience as a means to an end – as a way of making a difference. With that in mind, we have to ask ourselves what kind of difference do we want to make, and is engaging a wider audience an important aspect of that difference?
Who Is Anthropology For?
Simone Abram gives us a list of ten potential audiences, of the moveable feast we can engage.
If anthropologists are already at work in a diverse array of settings, we can be content that anthropology has many and varied audiences. Anthropology is itself an interdisciplinary field, and its adherents hold widely varying viewpoints and areas of special knowledge… Our debate could usefully turn to thinking about how to support people developing Anthropology in different contexts, and how to train new anthropologists to bring anthropology into other domains.
A Whole New Anthropology
Sarah Williams argues that the new anthropology will be applied anthropology.
Our new world calls for a new anthropology—applied anthropology. For decades we have studied the effects of our culture on other cultures and the lives of marginalized peoples, but only recently have we begun to try to mitigate the damage. It is time for anthropologists to use our skills for more than just the advancement of our own careers. Our responsibility to our research populations must extend beyond just the direct impact of our own personal work. The code of fieldwork has always been “Do No Harm”, but it is time to take that one step further. The code of the anthropologist should be “Do Good”.
Entire Special Issue of Anthropologies on Anthropology with Purpose: Applied, Public, Academic.
The photo above is by Ryan Anderson, and was recently featured in his post Spaces that Inspire.