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Doing “Consumer” Anthropology

Join Dr. Ken C. Erickson next Wednesday afternoon for Webinar Wednesday! Registration is required, webinar is free: http://bit.ly/1lU3FNY

KenDoing “Consumer” Anthropology, Warnings and Advice*

Whether its burgers or Boeing, anthropological technique and theory have found significant purchase in the business world. Sometimes. The questions Anthropologists ask often lead to discomfiting revisions in thinking about who buys products and services and what using or experiencing them means. Bringing anthropological stories to the enterprise table can even raise fundamental questions about the nature of business. Fundamental questions (about value, valuation, sustainability, and suffering caused by organizations, for example) need not be laid aside while asking and answering enterprise tactical questions. Using video examples and tales from the field, this webinar offers tips and tricks for finding an anthropological focus that can be heard and, sometimes, become levers to think about and change organizational practices.

Anthropologists Announce New Task Force on AAA Engagement with Israel/Palestine

The Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) announces the creation of the Task Force on AAA Engagement with Israel/Palestine, part of a broad association effort to respond to members’ interest in dialogue about the ongoing Israel/Palestine conflict. The Task Force is charged with helping the Executive Board consider the nature and extent to which AAA might contribute to addressing the issues that the Israel/Palestine conflict raises. It will report to the Executive Board by October 1st, 2015.

Task Force members were appointed by AAA President Monica Heller based on criteria including: significant expertise in relevant subject areas (e.g. conflict; historical memory); a representation of the main sub-fields of archeology, linguistics, biological, and cultural anthropology; understanding of the association; no two members from the same organization or university; no one with publicly identified positions on the issue.

The members of the group are Chair Don Brenneis (UC-Santa Cruz; AAA past president), Niko Besnier (University of Amsterdam), Patrick Clarkin (University of Massachusetts-Boston), Hugh Gusterson (George Washington University), John Jackson (University of Pennsylvania), and Kate Spielmann (Arizona State University).

The Executive Board has asked the Task Force to: 1) enumerate the issues embedded in the conflict between Israel and Palestine that directly affect the Association. These issues may include, but are not limited to, the uses of anthropological research to support or challenge claims of territory and historicity; restrictions placed by government policy or practice on anthropologists’ academic freedom; or commissioning anthropological research whose methods and/or aims may be inconsistent with the AAA statement of professional responsibilities; 2) develop principles to be used to assess whether the AAA has an interest in taking a stand on these issues; 3) provide such an assessment.

This may include providing a comprehensive and neutral overview of arguments for and against a range of specific possible stands on these issues, as well as on any broader but relevant issues that are raised in the context. The Task Force will also recommend whether or not the Association should take any action, and if so, will recommend what form it should take. To read the full Task Force charge, please visit http://bit.ly/1t9ELse.

“The ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine is of great relevance to the AAA, and it is worth the investment of time and careful thought that the Task Force is being asked to make,” Task Force Chair Don Brenneis said today. “The Association’s engagement in the relevant issues may take several forms. We want to be sure that we have the facts straight, and a clear understanding of the impacts associated with our choices before we recommend to the Executive Board a course of action.”

2016 Call for Editor-In-Chief, American Anthropologist

The American Anthropological Association seeks applications for a new Editor-in-Chief of the discipline’s flagship journal, the American Anthropologist, for a four-year term beginning July 1, 2016. Now in its second century of continuous publication, the American Anthropologist publishes articles, reviews, and commentaries from the diverse anthropological community. It is the most widely circulated anthropology journal published by the American Anthropological Association and showcases the breadth of the discipline.

Editorship of the journal provides a unique opportunity for an anthropologist to be a central player in anthropological scholarship shaping the discipline’s identity, impacting the future of anthropology, and initiating and participating in transnational dialogues. The editor is not expected to have expertise in all subfields of anthropology, but to be interested in creatively developing vital conversations within and across fields and national boundaries that will invigorate and contribute positively to the landscape for the transmission of knowledge and collaborative engagement. Applicants are encouraged to develop innovative and creative approaches that will allow them as Editor-in-Chief to put their own stamp on the journal. Editors are encouraged to solicit articles and contributions for special sections, and to develop issues of the journal that highlight critical topics in anthropology and in public debate. As the publishing field continues to develop the editor should also embrace new digital forms for scholarly content and build best practices for collaborative editorial team engagement. Above all, the AAA Executive Board seeks an Editor-in-Chief who will maintain the journal as a leader in intellectual and scholarly advances.

The AAA appreciates support from candidates’ institutions and is especially aware of the importance of institutional recognition of the intellectual leadership and challenges entailed by the Editor-in-Chief’s position and responsibilities. Graduate assistant support and adequate space to house the journal are highly desirable with other kinds of institutional support significant for the success of operations. Candidates who are unable to get substantial institutional support, however, will also be considered with the expectation that AAA will work with the institution to insure core working needs are provided for. The position of Editor-in-Chief is a four-year appointment.

Click here for application and submission details.

Book Your Annual Meeting Hotel at a Discount

113th AAA Annual MeetingThe 2014 Annual Meeting will take place at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel and Omni Shoreham Hotel. Both hotels will host scholarly panels and roundtables, special events, and other activities during the week-long conference.

AAA has negotiated special rates for AAA attendees at both hotels. Reservations can be made online via the links below. These rates are limited. Don’t hesitate and book today!

Annual Meeting Dialogue on Israel-Palestine

Today’s blog post is by AAA Executive Director Dr. Edward Liebow.

Because violence begets violence, I have recently been looking for a better way (without bullets) to say ‘there’s no silver bullet’ to acknowledge the palpable absence of any simple remedy to the intractable latest episode in a decades-long Israeli/ Palestinian conflict. Indeed, in recent days, hopeful glimmers of an extended cease-fire are clouded by escalating negotiation demands with toweringly high stakes. This concerns me as an individual, and also as AAA Executive Director at a moment when we are opening up dialogue on Israel/Palestine inside the association.

Indeed, here at the AAA office, summer is almost over, and our planning machine is already at full speed in advance of December’s Annual Meeting in Washington. The program is available online. Judging by recent blog posts and social media exchanges, this year’s Meeting is among the more eagerly anticipated in recent memory, in no small part due to the opportunities that have been created for a scholarly consideration of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – although of course there are possibilities for discussion both before and after. Anthropologists will be tackling many of the world’s challenges at this year’s Meeting, so let me take this opportunity to provide you with more information about the events surrounding the Israel/Palestine conflict.113th AAA Annual Meeting

Paper presentations, roundtable discussions, and an open forum discussion will allow participants to unpack this conflict’s historical, cultural, and political-economic contexts, and also examine the advocacy role of scholarly societies like the AAA.

Thanks to the hard work of AAA members, the program chairs, the Executive Program Committee, and the AAA meetings and conference staff, we have aimed to make sure a wide range of perspectives will be represented in these events, which include:

For more information and session abstracts, log in to the meetings site. We invite healthy, respectful debate, and look forward to a deliberate, considered, and educational dialogue.

Haven’t registered for the 113th Annual Meeting yet? Register today! Will you be traveling from out of town? Save money by booking your hotel now at a discounted rate.

Opportunities at the Smithsonian

Katie Patschke - 2014 AAA Summer InternWorking for the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art has allowed me to expand my knowledge of African studies by exploring the occupations and roles that Africans take on in their day to day lives. I am currently finishing up my research on the project by conducting in depth searches on topics that need more extensive research. This week I am going to be creating a list of objects that will be displayed in the “Creativity of Work” exhibit. This is a big project and I am hoping to continue researching on the “Creativity of Work” project in the near future.

Katie Patschke - 2014 AAA Summer Intern Last week we had a very special event held at the National Museum of African Art. During the African Summit the African Art museum held a First Ladies brunch for the First Ladies of Africa. As an intern I was in charge of setting up the event by creating place cards and gift bags, organizing the seating arrangements and working with the First Ladies to get anything that they needed. The event was a great success. It was such an honor to meet such powerful, important women who are true inspirations in African countries.Katie Patsche - 2014 AAA Summer Intern

This weekend I had the opportunity to visit some great parts of DC such as the International Spy Museum, Meridian Park, and Georgetown. I have enjoyed my experience in DC and plan to move here after my schooling finishes up in December. I am so grateful for this opportunity and would recommend the experience to aspiring anthropology students.Katie Patschke - 2014 AAA Summer Intern

Intern Preserving Naval Heritage

It has been a very busy couple of weeks since my last post. It is hard to believe that this internship is coming to an end. At the Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB) of the History & Heritage Command (NHHC), I have continued to clean and preserve the two brass flash pans as well as work with more of the survey equipment. The photos below are what the artifact looked like before I started to clean it and then during the cleaning process.

Brass Flash Pan during cleaning

Brass Flash Pan during cleaning

Underwater Archaeology Branch of the Naval History & Heritage Command

Brass Flash Pan Prior to cleaning

This past week I was able to go to Williamsburg, VA to test survey equipment out on the water for two days. It was great to actually see everything working after we got all the bugs worked out. This week the UAB is planning on conducting an archaeological survey to relocate a flagship near the D.C. area. I am hoping to be able to spend a day or two working with them on the survey to get as much experience as possible.  In the picture below, the long white object is a magnetometer. Once in  the water, it is towed behind the boat. There is a sensor on the magnetometer that detects changes in the Earth’s magnetic field. It is used to locate ferrous material such as iron that is buried under the seabed.  The sensor then sends a signal to a computer that makes a chart. When the sensor passes over iron on the seabed it makes a bump on the chart. The chart can later be analyzed to find the appropriate location of the wreck. We will be using this magnetometer when we are trying to relocate the flagship.Joshua Anderson, 2014 AAA Summer InternJoshua Anderson, 2014 AAA Summer Intern

I have been keeping busy during my free time as well. I drove up to Philadelphia the weekend before last to pickup my wife, May, from the airport and took her to New Jersey.  She is instructing a class at Fort Dix for two weeks. I enjoyed the small amount of time we had together.  This past weekend I learned to double check with the bus drivers around here on where they are actually going. I was planning on taking a bus out to Kent Island, MD to visit my cousin. The bus that was going to Kent Island, MD was actually going to California, MD which is two hours southwest of where I was supposed to be. I ended up getting a ride to a car rental place and drove out to Kent Island. On Saturday, we went out to a beach on my cousins boat and stayed the night. I was able to get up and watch the sun come up Sunday morning through a thick fog. It was a great start to the day.  We went crabbing shortly after I took this picture and caught a few crabs that we later steamed and ate.Joshua Anderson, 2104 AAA Summer Intern

Sunday afternoon my dad and family from Minnesota arrived out in Kent Island. They brought their camper out and are going to be spending the week in the D.C. area checking out all the sites and hanging out with family. When they got here we took a ride on the boat and then went out to eat. We ate at the Crab Deck on Kent Island and took the picture below.  I am looking forward to hanging out with them later this week.Joshua Anderson, 2014 AAA Summer Intern

After this week is over I am on my way to Fort Dix, NJ for two weeks to instruct a carpentry/masonry class for the army. When I get finished up there I finally get to go home. I will be jumping right into classes at Minnesota State University Mankato (MNSU) where I will continue working with the anthropology department conducting archaeological research.

This internship has allowed me to expand my knowledge, gain experience, and extend my abilities as an anthropologist. While at the American Anthropological Association I was able to aid in the planning process of the very first annual National Anthropology Day.  During my time at the Underwater Archaeology Branch of the Naval History & Heritage Command, I was able to work in the lab as well as get experience with some of the equipment in the field. I would like to thank all of the donors, professors at MNSU, and my family for encouraging this educational opportunity and supporting my future career as an anthropologist.Joshua Anderson, 2014 AAA Summer Intern

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