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  • Are All Capstones Created Equal?

Are All Capstones Created Equal?

Undergraduate anthropology majors are immersed in a wide body of ethnographic work from near and far. In other words, they read extensively about others’ experiences and research in “the field.” Relatively few of them (at least of a cultural-anthropology bent) have any deep, systematic engagement with real-world problems. I offer thoughts here about experiential learning to generate discussion and illustrate how a well-intentioned program went significantly astray. Now you might say to this, more than ever, that students have access to practicums, internships, study abroad, honors research, or senior capstones as forms of engaged learning outside of the classroom. To [...]

  • How Can We as Anthropologists Be the Change We Wish to See in the World?

How Can We as Anthropologists Be the Change We Wish to See in the World?

This is a question that I have struggled to answer, but it has also lit a fire under me, spurring me to teach, write, podcast, and live more intentionally. After I completed the doctorate and finished my first book, I found work but I wanted more optimal choices to mesh with my life and career values. So, I began to wonder, what was the impact of my work? How could it be measured? And what had I done in the book but regurgitate theories that had already been chewed by enough scholars? The book sat on my bookshelf and a [...]

What can applied archaeology offer anthropology?

I live in two professional worlds. Part scientist, part science communicator, I navigate a cross-disciplinary career with a saying from time in archaeology: Work from the known to the unknown. The Career Readiness Commission’s Fordham Conference cued up this phrase for me again and sparked questions. Should anthropology remain within the known training paradigms of the cultural, linguistic, biological, and archaeological subfields? Or, can it push into the unknown to support anthropologists working outside the academy? Perhaps my field of applied archaeology, specifically cultural resources management (CRM), offers a known case study with insights for anthropology. Cleaved from an academic [...]

  • How Does a Conference Help Anthropology Matter

How Does a Conference Help Anthropology Matter?

“Anthropology helps us think about the world differently; it helps us uncover social silences.” These words by anthropologist and journalist Gillian Tett resonated in my mind while attending the conference “Building Careers in Anthropology” on Friday, May 13th, 2022 held at the Gabelli School of Business, Fordham University, New York. The one-day conference, which I attended with two of my undergraduate majors, was packed with valuable information, reflections, and conversations about why anthropology matters. It was one of the most exciting and well-organized conferences I have attended in quite some time. From the information provided for registration to the instructions [...]

  • “Huh, get a job?” say the B-52s or A View from a Liberal Arts University

“Huh, get a job?” say the B-52s or A View from a Liberal Arts University

Higher education institutions are remarkably diverse: rural/urban; private/public; union/nonunion; R1/research intensive/regional comprehensive/liberal arts; religious/secular; and the list goes on. Today, in most institutional settings there is at least lip service paid to the linkage between education and career. All will have a career center and have some minimally loose ideas, often not completely correct, of how the social sciences fit into the larger work world. Enter the liberal arts university, my last stop in a long career arc. Mine was public and a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC). The select 28 institutions of this group [...]

How Can I Apply My Anthropology Experience to Get the Job I Want?

Wow! That’s such a relevant question for those on the job market. Our job search as practicing anthropologists is unique. Unlike other job seekers with degrees in fields that sell themselves, we anthropologists have to explain the value of our research methods, technical skills, and understanding of human behavior. As I focused my job search as a User Experience (UX) researcher, I found myself overwhelmed with what I did not know: where to look for jobs; how to market myself; how to explain the value of anthropological research? I even had to learn what “job descriptions” to apply for and [...]

The Field for Everyone: Deepening Students’ Professional Development

The “field” and “fieldwork” are central to the discipline and the ethnographic project. However, ethnographic field schools seem to be on the wane, especially those oriented toward undergraduates. We might step back and ask: Why does such a central feature in identity and practice receive such scant training in anthropology? It’s a good question because together these are critical rites of passage for our professional development. How can we expect students to be successful field researchers without providing them with a supervised model? The easy answer is resources, time, and money. It takes a lot of all three to get [...]

  • Why should anthropologists be active on LinkedIn

Why should anthropologists be active on LinkedIn?

I’ve been on LinkedIn for almost 10 years now.  While I keep my profile updated, I frequently post news articles about the role of anthropology in business and the benefits anthropology can bring to the workplace. These posts not only keep my profile active, but also help promote the discipline of anthropology to a large user community. I try to post something weekly. I also continually comment on the posts of influencers—whether they are tagged on LinkedIn or whether I believe they are influences due to their posting history. My goal is to evangelize both the discipline of anthropology and [...]

  • A Love Letter to Anthropology

A love letter to anthropology

Anthropology is my true love; some would even say I’m evangelical about it. But Anthropology has fallen out of favour in academia and in the public eye. It’s been cut from academic institutions across the USA and the UK. Funding for projects and study has declined. People have no idea what Anthropology is. In part, I believe this is because of the focus within Anthropology on the divide between academic and applied work. Without addressing this fracture, Anthropology cannot move forward and become respected again. I issue a call to all of Anthropology: To undergraduate students - Ask your professors what they’re [...]

  • How can I increase my anthropological impact?

How can I increase my anthropological impact?

As an applied anthropologist, I am concerned with solving practical problems. This started with my University of North Texas direct-to-consumer genetics thesis research and has continued into my professional life. Many tech projects I work on, while important, are relatively minor when it comes to their impact on society. My thesis project, however, was not one of them. After I submitted my thesis to the UNT library archive, where it would never be viewed again, I wondered what was next. Given the ethical concerns that came out of my research, I knew I couldn't stop there. I wanted more people [...]

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