Welcome from Our New NAPA President

It goes without saying that the job market for academic anthropologists is bleak given the number of PhDs looking for jobs at universities and colleges. On top of this, a recent article in American Anthropologist highlighted the fact US academic anthropology mostly hires anthropologists from 15 PhD-granting programs, while there are many more high quality training programs that offer a doctorate in anthropology. Ugh!

The good news is that many more MA and PhD anthropologists are seeking and getting positions in non-academic settings, where they put into practice the power of anthropology in finding solutions to real-world problems.
NAPA is the ideal home for both academic and practicing anthropologists who want to train the next generation of applied anthropologists or who want to work with CBOs and NGOs, government, or in the private sector. Using myself as an example, I was trained in a four-field PhD anthropology program that emphasized theory and to a lesser extent methods. My first real post-PhD job (aside from a one-year visiting gig) was working at the Hispanic Health Council in Hartford, CT. There I learned to apply anthropology and became a practicing anthropologist by working in and with the local community to address problems such as HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, and food insecurity. In 1998, I left for an academic position in applied anthropology at University of South Florida, where I have enjoyed training graduate students and continue to conduct community-engaged research for more than 20 years. I couldn’t be happier with my career choices, because they have made me a better anthropologist.

NAPA is an invaluable section-unit of the AAA. In addition to organizing sessions, giving out awards, and having its own journal, the Annals of Anthropological Practice, NAPA offers a wide-range of workshops and organizes the always popular NAPA/AAA Careers Expo at the Annual Meeting. NAPA is student friendly, and it promotes dialogue among academic and practicing anthropologists through its many activities not only at the AAA Annual Meeting but also at other conferences.

NAPA President David Himmelgreen

This year, NAPA is a co-sponsor of the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) 79th Annual Meeting in Portland, OR, March 19–23. The theme of the meeting is “Engaging Change in Turbulent Times.” No doubt, NAPA has a lot to say about this. There will be sessions on student community engaged research, anthropology in education, and the practice of anthropology in challenging workplaces, among others. Additionally, NAPA will host the Careers Spotlight and the NAPA Networking Event. For more information, check out the SfAA website (https://www.sfaa.net/annual-meeting/).

I look forward to the next two years as President of NAPA and very much enjoy working with colleagues on the executive board and the members. They are a top-notch group of academic and practicing anthropologists that are smart and dedicated to moving the NAPA mission forward.

David Himmelgreen is chair of the Department of Applied Anthropology at the University of South Florida (USF) and president of NAPA. Himmelgreen is an applied biological anthropologist who is currently conducting research on food insecurity and health. He recently co-founded the Hunger Action Alliance in Tampa Bay. Himmelgreen has worked as an applied and practicing anthropologist.

To submit contributions to NAPA Section News, please contact contributing editor Rachel Hall-Clifford ([email protected]).

Cite as: Himmelgreen, David. 2019. “Welcome from Our New NAPA President.” Anthropology News website, March 4, 2019. DOI: 10.1111/AN.1106

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