"The culture of a people is an ensemble of texts, themselves ensembles, which the anthropologist strains to read over the shoulders of those to whom they properly belong."
— Clifford Geertz (1973: 452)
"Rescuing particular locales—a battlefield, a mass grave, or a prison—from oblivion is not enough. Archaeology has to guard against their trivialization and preserve their aura. It must keep memory in place, but at the same time it must work against the saturation of memory"
— Alfredo González‐Ruibal 2008, Time to Destroy: An Archaeology of Supermodernity
"I see anthropology – all anthropology, even its most hard-headedly positivist variants - as always inextricably engaged with the practice of writing."
— Stuart McClean, anthropologist, in an interview with Cultural Anthropology (via literary-ethnography)
amplivagant said: Hi! So.. I am interested in biological anthropology as my major... my biggest question is about careers. going into college in the fall, people automatically jump to "oh so what about after college". i want to get at least a graduate degree if not phd. my question is, what are some careers you've heard of that are NOT academic. becoming a tenured professor is not what i'm looking for... any real life examples? etc?
Just letting you know, getting a PhD almost completely limits you to an academic career. That’s one of the dilemnas of applying to graduate school. The question of “Should I apply for a MA or PhD program” becomes “Do I want to do applied or be stuck in academia.” If you don’t want a job in academia, don’t get a PhD
(exceptions exceptions! I know there’s exceptions). And then when you try to get a job, you don’t need to market yourself as an anthropologist, but rather someone trained in anthropology.
It’s a bit confusing and pretty difficult to think long term regarding anthropology if you aren’t already immersed in those courses. Anthropology, I cannot state enough, is a ridiculously large and holistic field. I love it, but sometimes it’s entirely too encompassing. It can touch literally anything. Even its sub-fields are also exceedingly broad.
For biological anthropology, consider what it is you’re interested in. And take a shitton of classes in that area and a shitton of classes in other disciplines semi-related to that area.
Now for actual careers related to biological anthropology:
- Forensics. Now this one is tricky. Depending on where you’re applying, the exact position, and what you will actually be doing the qualifications for this is different. Overall, they’re 1. Hella impossible to get
(I was told by an FBI forensics specialist, special agent, and their supervisor that an FBI spot doesn’t open unless someone dies and even then they already almost always have a candidate in mind), 2. depending exactly what you want to do, you might have to go to med school, 3. you will need to get specialized degrees and possibly even a PhD for this.
- CRM (Cultural Resource Management). More relevant to archaeologists but bear with me a moment. It does not necessarily require a MA or PhD depending on where you are and what position you’re applying for.
- Bioarchaeologists. This is, for the most part, academic. There are some people who like to dig and not do the academic writing and stress related things, but they usually work for CRM’s or other things like that and are called/hired to help/consult on digs.
- There’s of course, always lab techs. Which are also heavily sought for. You’ll have to be diligent about those.
- Applied Anthropometry. So the private sector is always a good place to go to. You will work with engineers and designers to create biomechanics engineered for humans. (
- Museums! Don’t forget the museums route. It’s also super, super competitive and I’m sure the museum people on Tumblr, while nice and amazing as they are, would probably kill you if you take their job from them.
- Public Health/Global Health/Epidemiology. Do I even need to go into detail with this? You’ll usually need at least an MPH for these jobs, but oh boy would it be worth it.
- Medical Anthropology. Speaking of health, there’s medical anthropology. Usually requires a PhD and is for the most part academic, but there are definitely applied programs and organizations that definitely needs medical anthropologists.
- Zookeeper and Research. You can be a zookeeper! Or you can also do animal research in a captive setting. It’s pretty great, but I’m also biased here.
- Conservation. Now that we’ve started talking about animals, you can consider doing conservation work. Usually conservation work is publicized as helping just the animals, but actually, it’s so much more than that. It’s helping the animals, ecology, and the people living there. But again, I am also pretty biased.
No matter where you end up going, there’s always a lot of options, but the problem is whether or not those options are open and available to you. While this is something that seems like an issue to just anthropology majors, it’s not necessarily the case — this problem applies to literally everyone of all fields. The job market is scary and it’s always uncertain whether or not you will make it regardless of your major. You just gotta buckle down and get to know as many people as possible, because in the end, your connections and relationships to others is potentially what will decide your unemployment status.
Best of luck!
Anonymous said: hi, do you have any good articles on rehabilitating primates?
Yes, there’s a good bit of work on rehabilitating primates — as for papers, I’ll see what I can do. There’s also some research on re-introductions, but I’m always a bit hesitant on those because, although it is with good intentions, re-introductions don’t always work.
Rehabilitation and Reintroduction
"Emotions are materially constituted and material culture is emotionally constituted (p. 39)"
— Gosden, C., 2004: Aesthetics, intelligence, and emotions. Implications for
archaeology, in E. Demarrais, C. Gosden and C. Renfrew (eds), Rethinking materiality. The engagement of mind with the material world, 33–40, Cambridge.
"Anthropology should, I believe, lead us to question, not to confirm, our own presumptions."
— Vincent Crapanzano - Tuhami (via sensationalsegue)
"The materiality of the material world and of the workaday world is far too easily taken for granted, especially in societies with advanced technology. What is required now as the world lurches toward ecological and political self-destruction is continuous surprise as to the material facts of Being."
— Michael Taussig 2004
"Narratives can make us understand. Photographs do something else: they haunt us."
— Michael Shanks 1997, Photography and archaeology
"Just forget that you guys are archaeologists and try to pretend to be normal human beings for a second!"
— My anthropology professor, when discussing cognition.