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The Anthropologist as Social Critic: Working Toward a More Engaged Anthropology

WGF Workshop 2008-1 Group Photo
Seated: K. Davis, S. Merry, S. Low, I. Susser, N. Gonzalez. Standing: B.R. Johnston, V. Malkin, J. Spencer, J. Jackson, M. Singer, M. Lincoln. A. Smart, H. Siu, S. Howell, M.T. Sierra, K. Ali, M. Herzfeld, L. Aiello

January 22-25, 2008
Wenner-Gren Foundation, New York, NY

PUBLICATION:"Engaged Anthropology: Diversity and Dilemmas." The Wenner-Gren Symposium Series. Current Anthropology Vol. 51, Supplement 2, October 2010. http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/toc/ca/51/S2


Leslie C. Aiello (Wenner-Gren Foundation, USA)
Kamran Asdar Ali (U. Texas-Austin, USA)
Kamari Clarke (Yale U., USA)
Christopher "Kit" Davis (School of Oriental and African Studies, UK)
Norma Gonzalez (U. Arizona, USA)
Michael Herzfeld (Harvard U., USA)
Signe Howell (U. Oslo, Norway)
John L. Jackson, Jr. (U. Pennsylvania, USA)
Barbara Rose Johnston (Center for Political Ecology, USA)
Setha Low, organizer (Graduate Center, City U. of New York, USA)
Victoria Malkin (Wenner-Gren Foundation, USA)
Sally Engle Merry (New York U., USA)
Maria Teresa Sierra (CIESAS, Mexico)
Merrill Singer (U. Connecticut, USA)
Helen F. Siu (Yale U., USA)
Alan Smart (U. Calgary, Canada)
Jonathan Spencer (U. of Edinburgh, Scotland)
Ida Susser (Graduate Center, City U. of New York, USA)

Organizers' Statement:

This conference brought together academic, practicing, and advocacy anthroplogists to examine the historical role of anthropology as social critic, its theoretical and methodological foundations, and its current practice through each participant's professional experiences. Scholars were asked to consider what an engaged anthropology means, and how it can be promoted by focusing on the role of the anthropologist as social critic

As a discipline, anthropology has pursued many paths toward an engaged approach over the past two decades. These avenues include: 1) locating anthropology at the center of the public policy-making process (public policy advocacy), 2) connecting the academic part of the discipline with the wider world of social problems (public anthropology), 3) bringing anthropological knowledge to the media's attention (media anthropology), 4) becoming activists concerned with social change (social