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AnthroCurrents – November 14, 2014

A biweekly look at recent stories on anthropology and practicing anthropologists in the popular media


  • Anthropologist Elizabeth Bennett started Fruitcycle after visiting an orchard and seeing all the fruit left to rot on the ground. Her company takes fruit that would otherwise be wasted and turns it into apple chips.
  • Rhode Island Public Radio covered the Southern Seed Legacy Project and talked to its director, anthropologist James Veteto (and one of my former professors). The project supports and encourages seed saving to protect the diversity of heritage crops.


AnthroCurrents – October 31, 2014

A biweekly look at recent stories on anthropology and practicing anthropologists in the popular media

AnthroCurrents – October 17, 2014

A biweekly look at recent stories on anthropology and practicing anthropologists in the popular media

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NAPA Career Profiles: Suzanne Hanchett from Planned Alternatives for Change LLC.

Suzanne Hanchett considers herself to have had four careers, spanning over the course of the last 40 years. Starting out as an academic anthropologist after receiving her Ph.D. from Columbia in 1970, she found herself denied tenure after 9 years of teaching, leaving her “casting about” as she considered her next career move.
“The reasons are still unclear to me, but I do not think I was very smart about office politics. I did not have good advice from my seniors, or if I did, I didn’t take it. Perhaps I didn’t choose the right place to teach. India was… Continue reading

NAPA Career Profiles: Robert Winthrop

NAPA Profile - Rob Winthrop PhotoDisclaimer: The views expressed are the author’s, and do not represent the policies of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Robert Winthrop is Senior Social Scientist at the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Washington, DC, where he leads the Socioeconomics Program. Before his arrival at the BLM in 2002, Winthrop operated an anthropological consulting firm in the Pacific Northwest. His areas of expertise include social impact assessment, environmental justice, natural resource policy, cultural rights, and the human dimensions of climate change.

“At the BLM I lead a team that applies the social sciences to… Continue reading

AnthroCurrents – September 5, 2014

A biweekly look at recent stories on anthropology and practicing anthropologists in the popular media



NAPA Career Profiles: Monica S. Hunter

NAPA Profile - Monica S. Hunter photoThrough engaging snapshots of her work in formative program evaluation, Monica S. Hunter reveals a commitment to innovative solutions and a systematic approach. Hunter defines and translates the interests and input of stakeholders in various realms of life to implement and improve programs with a goal of long-term sustainability.  

“I am currently the Director of Research at the PAST Foundation based in Columbus, Ohio. I began working with PAST on a consulting basis in 2007, conducting case study analysis of K-12 education reform involving implementation of integrated science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and transdisciplinary problem based learning (TPBL).… Continue reading

NAPA Career Profile: Marc Hébert, PhD

Hebert1Marc Hébert is a design anthropologist for the City and County of San Francisco. He works in the Human Services Agency’s (HSA) newly created Innovation Office. His journey here started while earning a PhD in Applied Anthropology from the University of South Florida. Early in his graduate training, he volunteered at a community organization that uses computer and Internet technologies to encourage urban youth towards higher education in technology-related fields. The experience fed Hébert’s interest with how design, the Internet and program evaluation shape how the public interacts with government policies. Today, he works to improve how HSA clients and… Continue reading

NAPA Career Profiles: A chat with David Fetterman on Empowerment Evaluation, and the value of ethnography.

David Fetterman is an evaluator by profession, and is probably best known for his work on creating Empowerment Evaluation, which helps individuals learn to evaluate their own programs. In this process Fetterman serves as a coach, helping guide the work and maintain rigor, but allowing stakeholders to plan, implement and evaluate themselves. The end goal is self-determination, and it is an approach grounded deeply in ethnography.

“Everything I do (work and home life) is shaped and guided by anthropology. I always attempt to get at the emic or insider’s view of reality before jumping to my own conclusions.  … Continue reading

NAPA Career Profiles: Mary Odell Butler

NAPA Profile - Mary Butler pic

Mary Odell Butler received her PhD in anthropology from Temple University in 1978 and has spent the last three decades conducting program evaluations through contracting firms for clients in public health. Though she initially struggled to find work outside the academy, Butler has built a strong career supporting programs at agencies that include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Cancer Institute.

“My most recent evaluation was a study of the use of CDC guidelines for clinicians for the prevention of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) in primary care settings. I am… Continue reading