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Why Students Should Attend the AAA Careers Expo

Today’s guest blog post is by Kyle Simpson. Kyle is a graduate student in Anthropology at the University of Memphis.

When I tell people that I am working towards a Master’s Degree in Anthropology, the question is always the same, “What are you going to do with that?” I usually laugh and tell them that after my MA I plan to get a PhD and then teach at a university. But the truth is, like many graduate students, I don’t know what jobs are available to anthropologists outside of the academy.

2012 Careers Expo

2012 Careers Expo

This is why I’m looking forward to attending this year’s AAA meetings in Chicago. I’ve never been to our profession’s annual conference but will be attending this year. The event I’m most excited about is the Careers Expo. Each year, the NAPA/AAA-CoPAPIA sponsored Careers Expo brings together a variety of professional anthropologists representing widely diverse career paths. They have found employment in government, private, and non-profit organizations. In previous years, there have been representatives from Veteran’s Administration, Centers for Disease Control, Yahoo, Sapient, State Farm, CRM firms like ACE and SRI, and anthropological consulting firms like LTG Associates. While it is not a job fair, the Careers Expo provides a great opportunity for networking with practicing/professional anthropologists. Until recently, I was unaware that most of the work being conducted by anthropologists takes place outside of the academy, but several studies have shown that the vast majority of anthropologists do not work in the academic setting. Therefore, it is important for students to get a better sense of what they can do with their degree. The Careers Expo seems like the perfect way to learn about the diverse career options for graduating MA and PhD students.

Attendees will be exposed to a variety of anthropological career paths and will also have the opportunity to talk to anthropologists who have made the transition from the academy to practice. This is a chance to ask questions about making that transition, why you should think about pursuing a career in practice, and how to prepare yourself before graduating for a career in practice. Because this is not a job fair, there is no pressure on attendees. This should allow students to feel more comfortable in their interactions with exhibitors because the environment is informal and the conversations are casual.

The Careers Expo is one of the most heavily attended events at the AAAs. I heard that over 500 people attended it last year and the AAA expects even more to attend this year!

This year the Careers Expo will be held on Friday, November 22nd from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Exhibit Hall at the Chicago Hilton. To register, click here. I look forward to seeing you there!

Department Enrollments Grow, But Also Lose Ground

Undergraduate enrollments in anthropology in the US grew between 2000 and 2010, but not as much as enrollments overall. Between 2000 and 2010, departments self-reported growth of anthropology undergraduate enrollments. Specifically, for the 222 departments that provided AnthroGuide data in both years, undergraduate enrollments grew by a total of 32% over the decade. In the same years, the National Center for Education Statistics reported overall undergraduate enrollments increased by 37%. So even as anthropology enrollments grew, anthropology departments–on average–may have lost ground in terms of their share of the student population.

Why do you think other departments may be outpacing our discipline?

AAA collects its data through the AnthroGuide, an annual reference published in print and online (members can access the statistics and detailed listings of anthropological experts after logging in; everyone can access the eAG program finder.) In addition, the Association offers the Department Services Program, to provide support for department chairs, including collecting some statistics. AAA also created some resources to help students and their parents understand the value of the discipline:

What is your top priority for what else AAA could do to help?

Pre-dissertation Grant and Post Doctoral Fellowship Opportunities in China Studies

ACLS - LUCE Fellowship Opportunity

Applications are now available online for Pre-dissertation grants and Postdoctoral Fellowships in the second competition of the Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies.

The Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies seeks to maintain the vitality of China Studies in the U.S. through fellowships and grants designed primarily for scholars early in their careers. Studies on and in China have developed over the last 30 years in the United States into a robust field, but current conditions pose daunting problems, especially for scholars just before and just after the dissertation.

 Predissertation-Summer Grants, for graduate students who wish to conduct preliminary preparations in China prior to beginning basic research for the dissertation. The grants are for graduate students — with a Ph.D. prospectus in hand or developing one — to investigate the research currently underway in Chinese archives and field sites, to establish contact with Chinese scholars, and to secure necessary permissions for their own fieldwork or archival research;

 Postdoctoral Fellowships, for scholars who are revising their Ph.D. dissertations for publication or embarking on new research projects.

The deadline for applications is November 12, 2013.

To start your application register at ofa.acls.org/ or click the Online Fellowship Application tab on the program’s page.

OFA

More information on the program may be found on the ACLS website at acls.org/programs/china-studies/.

Please send all inquiries to chinastudies@acls.org.

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Oppose devastating cuts to the National Endowment for the Humanities!

Now that the government shutdown is over and Congress is beginning new budget negotiations, the proposed 49 percent cut to the National Endowment for the Humanities is back on the table. Just last week, one of the budget negotiators invoked the cut as he questioned the appropriateness of NEH grants. You can make sure that his are not the last words that our elected officials hear on the value of NEH by sending a message today.

We need you, your friends, and your colleagues to send messages in support of renewed investments in the humanities. Thousands of messages from advocates helped to put the proposed cuts on hold this summer, and by sending this new message, you can oppose the cuts and help restore NEH’s critical support for the humanities.

Lend your name to the effort by sending a message to your elected representatives.

Click  here to send a message.

neh_at_logo

Background
In its FY 2014 budget resolution, the House of Representatives Budget Committee called for the complete elimination of funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities, writing that the programs funded by NEH “…go beyond the core mission of the federal government, and they are generally enjoyed by people of higher-income levels, making them a wealth transfer from poorer to wealthier citizens.” The House subcommittee that oversees the NEH’s appropriation has followed through on the spirit of this resolution by approving a 49 percent cut to the agency’s budget.

Funding for NEH is already at just 29 percent of its peak and 62 percent of its average.

After years of deep cuts, the Obama Administration has proposed restoring some of NEH’s capacity with a 12 percent increase in funding.  

Click  here to send a message.

Share with your friends!

RFP – Small Grants for Developing Ethics Curricular Materials

The AAA Small Grants Program seeks to foster the development and use of curricular materials for the teaching and communication of ethics and ethical practice across the discipline of anthropology. Administered by the AAA Committee on Ethics, this small grant program encourages the awareness of and innovation in ethics curricular materials used in introductory, undergraduate, and graduate classes. Proposals for the development of curricular materials in a variety of forms are welcome, including texts, films, blogs, websites, exhibits, and other innovative media forms.  The grant recipient(s) will have ten months to complete these new curricular materials, the results of which will be featured in the “Ethical Currents” column of the December issue of Anthropology News as well as on the AAA ethics blog, and highlighted at the Annual Meeting.

The deadline for proposals is November 8, 2013.

Click here for eligibility, proposal format and submission details.

The Second Issue of Open Anthropology is Here!

Open Anthropology 150x150Violence is the theme of the second issue of Open Anthropology. The collection “On Violence” offers information, revelations, historical facts, descriptions of context and portraits of situations over time and place, a sampling of anthropological findings on the subject. Ten articles, two book reviews, and “The Editor’s Note” comprise this anthology written by anthropologists across time, sub-discipline, and journal title culled from the full AAA collection. 

“Taken as a whole, this collection deepens understanding and draws attention to the critical ingredients in the making of violence, a phenomenon ubiquitous in the contemporary world,” notes editor Alisse Waterston (John Jay College, CUNY). Synthesizing major anthropological viewpoints on the topic, Dr. Waterston identifies a key feature of violence and raises central questions that anthropologists answer:  “Domination is a critical element. In what specific way is the playing field of social life uneven? Who uses violence, of what types, and to what ends?”

Content in Open Anthropology is selected from the full archive of AAA publications, curated into issues, and freely available on the internet for a minimum of six months, permitting any user to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search or link to the full text of these articles. Each issue is dedicated to topics of interest to the general public, and that may have direct or indirect public policy implications.

Popular Anthropology: Buttering Up Humanity

Today’s guest blog post is by Erin B. Taylor (ICS-UL) of PopAnth.

Some years ago, when I was working at The University of Sydney, a colleague of mine stopped me in the corridor to complain. “Nobody listens to anthropologists,” she lamented, “We have so many interesting things to say about the world, but people don’t pay any attention.”

I was puzzled. Not because I disagree on either count: I think she’s right that our voice gets subsumed to that of economists, political commentators, and publicists. I also agree that anthropologists can provide a historically-grounded, cross-culturally informed perspective on contemporary events that is of real social value.

My puzzlement, rather, was because to the best of my knowledge, this particular colleague never made any effort to be heard. She published exclusively in academic journals behind paywalls, didn’t do press releases, didn’t write for newspapers, didn’t even blog. Did she really expect that public servants, the media, and people at large would go to the effort of seeking out her and her opinions?

This encounter triggered a personal quest to find out more about the state of public anthropology. I quickly discovered that I wasn’t the only one. Thomas Hylland Eriksen, in his book Engaging Anthropology, writes that “Anthropology should have changed the world, yet the subject is almost invisible in the public sphere outside the academy” (2006:1). One of my favorite articles on the subject is by Greg Downey who, on his Neuroanthropology blog, argues that anthropology’s difficulties with engaging the public is at least partially a branding problem. He then presents a series of fascinating ideas on how to fix it.

There are plenty of anthropologists who are doing something about it. Anthropologists globally are publishing their work in news venues such as the BBC, the Financial Times, and the Trinidad Guardian. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of us are blogging our thoughts on personal and collective websites, including The Huffington Post and The Conversation. Others are interviewed on radio shows or run community workshops. The California Series in Public Anthropology provides an incentive for authors to write about their engagements with communities and policies. Our brand is looking better since Eriksen published his book in 2006.

One thing I noticed, however, is a lack of ways for anthropologists who would like to write for the public to get started. This is partially because too few academics are aware of what the possibilities are, as the work of their more public-facing colleagues remains largely invisible. There are also relatively few venues in which people can experiment with this kind of writing. Personal blogs are a beginning, but a chronic lack of feedback means that it’s hard to know whether you’re on the right track. And without having a sense of how you’re doing, it can be daunting to submit an article to a newspaper.

PopAnthThis was a major reason why Gawain Lynch, John McCreery and I began the community website PopAnth: Hot Buttered Humanity. We began building the site in July last year, after an exhaustive search turned up exactly zero generalist anthropology websites that are truly written for a popular audience. There are many brilliant blogs out there, but they either focus on narrow topics, or include academic content such as jargon or calls for papers. We deliberately designed PopAnth to cover all branches of anthropology because we wanted to see what kinds of topics would prove popular.

In just over a year since launch, the site has grown surprisingly fast, and last month we had 90,000 unique visitors (bots largely edited out of our analytics). This is a pretty impressive feat for a non-profit website that relies on a small crew of committed editors. I’m particularly happy that authors have been courageous enough to send us off-beat stories that otherwise might never have seen the light of day. Our articles have covered topics as diverse as the history of Rastafarianism in Jamaica, land use rights among footballers in Trinidad, metal theft in the United Kingdom, drug markets in Colombia, consumer freedom in Germany, and angry tourists in Madagascar.

What makes PopAnth work? In my opinion, it’s the effort we put in to making popular anthropology visible. We don’t just promote ourselves, we use our website and social media to promote popular anthropology wherever it is published: newspapers, blogs, books, TED talks, and so on. This increases our audience base and helps make anthropology a household name.

Crucially, we provide a mentoring service to new public writers, helping them polish their articles for PopAnth and gain confidence to submit their work to other venues. We also act as a hub connecting new popular authors to old hands. Because we publish on merit, not qualifications, our authors are just as likely to be undergraduates as they are to have regular columns in The Huffington Post or Psychology Today. This means that up-and-coming authors who aren’t sure where to publish can gain inspiration from seeing what their colleagues are doing.

What’s the next step in getting public anthropology out there? My feeling is that cross-promotion will help us all build our audiences and contributor bases. To this end, I’ve begun talking with people people from other groups, such as Savage Minds, DANG, Ethnography Matters, the Society for Visual Anthropology, and others about how we can best work together to stay in communication and build collaborations. I’d like to invite everyone to join the conversation in the PopAnth group at the Open Anthropology Cooperative. And, of course, if you want to write for PopAnth, you can check out our Contributions page. The more we write for the public, the more the public will be able to listen.

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