Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: National Association for the Practice of Anthropology
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists
Primary Theme: Resilience
Secondary Theme: Resistance
What is the applied value of an “anthropological imagination”? As applied anthropologists, we navigate invisible boundaries between anthropologists/communities and practitioners/academics. Drawing on notions of cultural relativism, holism, and anthropology’s extensive methodological toolkit, we each try to better understand what it means to be human while also applying our insights. This session explores how some of these boundaries are enforced, negotiated, or overcome when we apply anthropological theory and method. Applied anthropologists constantly negotiate and re-negotiate our relationships with participants, stakeholders, and anthropology as a discipline. The same is true when we think about using anthropology to promote resistance and resilience. As we examine how our participants and partners adapt to change, we are compelled to also examine how anthropology and the academy adapt. This panel brings together applied anthropologists from academia with diverse interest areas that span cultural anthropology, socio-linguistic anthropology, medical anthropology, and visual anthropology. We share our perspectives on change within the communities where we apply anthropology as teachers, researchers, and activists. Together, the papers address the following questions: As anthropologists, how do we created a shared “anthropological imagination” with the communities in which we work? Where do these “imaginations”overlap and where do they diverge? How are the methods we employ fundamentally shaping “anthropological imagination”? Drawing on experiences in community service, filmmaking, participatory action research, and monitoring and evaluation, these papers further our thinking on the logistics, benefits, and ethics of doing applied anthropology. Anthropology is well-suited to address many global issues; this panel explores ways in which we have succeeded and ways in which our anthropological approaches must be (re)imagined.