Educating for Action: The Past and Future of Creating Critically Engaged Anthropologists

Society for Applied Anthropology Meeting, 2010


Doug Henry (University of North Texas)


Bryan Shaw (Johns Hopkins), Jenn Cardew (Intrepid Consultants), Andrea Robledo (Indiana University-Bloomington), Mariela Nuñez-Janes (University of North Texas). Keahnan Washington (University of North Texas) and Lisa Henry (University of North Texas), Jocelyn Huelsman (University of North Texas), Louis Liao (University of North Texas), Andrea Tuckness (University of North Texas), Chris Ryan (University of North Texas), Matthew Baline (University of North Texas), Adam Bonner (University of North Texas), Crysta Metcalf (Motorola), and Christina Wasson (University of North Texas).
Discussant: Allan Burns


Understanding and explicating pedagogical philosophy and praxis are crucial for guiding the preparation of future practicing anthropologists. UNT faculty, graduates, and current students present completed research and works-in-progress as examples of how training can develop a critically engaged habitus, both inside the academy and out. Presentations will focus on class projects, community collaborations, and innovative instruction, as they foster an applied praxis surrounding assessing community needs, engaging stakeholders, evaluating programs, and empowering populations. This session is inspired by the 10th anniversary of the Applied Anthropology graduate program at the University of North Texas.

Summary of Discussion

Doug Henry introduced the session by framing the discussion around the dilemma of how to understand and explicate philosophies of engagement AND praxis. New practitioners and new pedagogies are at the forefront of finding new ways to engage communities, and future applied anthropologists are carving out new roles here- activist, partner, agitator, innovator, collaborator, yet always critical scholar.

  • Jen Cardew-Kersey talked about utilizing virtual ethnography in a commercial context,
  • Bryan Shaw talked about engaging indigenous communities in India within a community health assessment,
  • Lisa Henry and Keahnan Washington talked about multi-sited fieldwork over through a virtual classroom (in which teaching and doing shifts praxis onto the global stage),
  • Andrea Robledo and Mariela Nuñez-Janes talked about how to teach and how to enact a Latina oriented sensibility and approach to power and relationships, and
  • The UNT Design Anthropology class talked about blurring the line between anthropology and design, in a project with students from both design and anthropology, for the client Motorola.