Theory in Public Sector Anthropology

In graduate school, my favorite course was titled “History of Anthropological Theory.” The course readings, which required a critical engagement with works written by Foucault, Geertz, Stoler, and V. Turner (to name a few), were invigorating and encouraged me to think in a new way—one that sought out nuances, peeled back layers, and identified seemingly […]

Digital Counterpublics

Black Twitter in the Aftermath of Ferguson   On November 24, 2014, St Louis prosecutor McCulloch announced that the grand jury trial did not indict Officer Darren Wilson for the murder of Michael Brown. As the news media reports and subsequent protests unfolded, the Twittersphere erupted in thousands of tweets condemning the non-indictment, especially given […]

The Ethnography Experiment in the National Park Service

Thirty-five years ago the National Park Service (NPS) embarked on a bold experiment by creating a formal Ethnography Program to serve as a complement and counterpart to the agency’s well-established Archeology Program. The fledgling program’s mission was to bring people with cultural and historical connections to parks into the management decision-making matrix for federally protected […]

Paths Not Taken

Ethnographic Terminalia and Career Choices There is something about the AAA meetings that lends itself to reflection, which also seems fitting as we kick off a new year. It could be the timing. Typically held in the run-up to Thanksgiving, this year AAA was held between the major holidays, and there was a sense that […]

Public Sector Anthropology and the Annual Meeting

  As the annual meeting of our organization approaches, my e-mail inbox fills up with messages about exciting sessions and calls for papers, notes from friends and colleagues inquiring about coffee dates and committee meetings.  And yet, despite longstanding investment in “the AAAs,” I’m not going this year.  Many constituent groups within AAA have been […]