Re: Applied Anthropology

Tue, 13 Dec 1994 13:40:06 -0800

Well, I've gone back to an academic position three times after leaving to do
applied work, but I was only on leave without pay (the first time for two
years, the second for one, and the third for three) so maybe this doesn't count
in the strictest sense. And, to be honest, I was already a tenured Assoc.
Prof. the first time I left. These experiences in applied anthro greatly
enhanced my teaching and expanded my professional horizons, but the first time
for two years did cost me a full professorship the first time around. I was
told that one member of the university personnel committee remarked that it was
good to see that I had "returned to my profession" and that perhaps I would be
ready for full professorship in a few more years! So there may be costs even
if you're already tenured. Lots of folks in academe still think applied
work--work in the real world to try to solve real problems--is not "research,"
is somehow not scholarly enough, and some apparently think it is demeaning.

My experiences in applied anthropology have been among the most personally
rewarding experiences of my career. Having to put up with the negativism of
a few small-minded academics has been a small price to pay.

Phil Young