While founded and based in the High Plains region of the United States (a vast area encompassing the eastern Rocky Mountains and western Great Plains), we have members from throughout North America and the world. We share knowledge and build professional and personal connections through an annual conference and other meetings; a professional, peer-reviewed journal (The Applied Anthropologist ); an electronic newsletter and listservs; and this website.
2016 GHOST RANCH
September 22nd - 25th, Abiquiu, New Mexico
“Epic Fails and Face Palms!: How the Confessional Tales of Failure Might be More Useful than the Tales of Success”
In order to justify our often-tenuous existence, anthropologists often feel pressured to demonstrate their worth via successes in service, publishing, and teaching. This process not only puts food on our table, but also promotes the market branding and prestige of the institutions and communities which house us, a cycle which can be counterproductive to the ethical standards of applied anthropology. Nevertheless, every anthropologist has confronted some sort of social problem in the field, which may not come to light for a variety of reasons—mostly due to internal conflict, fear, embarrassment, and the desire for self-censorship. We face dilemmas, conundrums, cultural conflicts, and indiscretions. We occasionally engage in activities that are, or might be illegal, immoral, or unethical. We also encounter personality conflicts with colleagues as well as the community members in the respective fields in which we work. In the spirit of this, we are calling for presentation abstracts in which academics, activists, and community practitioners come together to share not in what went “right”, but in what went “wrong” in the field, in an attempt to more honestly address the noticeable void of mistakes, short-comings, and failures in the academic discourse. Confessional tales can prove to be cathartic and promote psychological wellbeing for the anthropologist, as well as provide useful anecdotal information for colleagues—both well-seasoned and emerging—who may also confront similar situations in the field.