Applied Anthropology Programs Culturally Speaking

Society for Applied Anthropology Meeting, 2013


Elizabeth K. Briody (Cultural Keys LLC) and Riall W. Nolan (Purdue)


Elizabeth K. Briody (Cultural Keys LLC) and Riall W. Nolan (Purdue); Susan Andreatta (University of North Carolina Greensboro); Toni Copeland (Mississippi State); Barbara LeMaster, Karen Quintiliani, and Allison Hunt (California State University Long Beach).


Applied anthropology programs are playing an increasingly-prominent role in the training of anthropology students, with the more mature programs operating upwards of 25 to 35 years. Applied programs are culturally different from academically-oriented programs because of their emphasis on problem solving and collaboration. This session begins with a discussion of applied programs as described in the 2013 Blackwell volume: A Handbook of Practicing Anthropology. Then, presenters take on the role of in-house ethnographers, discussing the key cultural attributes of their own applied programs. They provide detail on what makes them “tick,” that is, the kinds of people, processes, and practices involved in their day-to-day activities. They offer insight on the key factors that influenced the way they developed over time. Presenters also emphasize the particular “niche” they hope to fill in educating students. Both presenters and attendees will leave the session with a greater understanding of the many ways in which these programs can work. Anyone with an interest in developing an applied program or improving an existing one is likely to be inspired by what they learn in this session!