Faculty position at the University of Sussex

The Department of Anthropology, School of Global Studies, University of Sussex is recruiting a permanent Lectureship/Senior Lectureship in Anthropology and International Development.”We are seeking to appoint an outstanding individual who will enrich our exciting research agenda in Anthropology and International Development and contribute to the delivery of our teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Candidates should hold a PhD, have a good publication record and provide evidence of a strong research agenda linked to past and future grant applications. Applicants will be dynamic researchers using a broadly anthropological approach to consider contemporary development challenges. Their work should complement and strengthen current research and teaching in Anthropology and International Development including, but not limited to, corporate social responsibility, human rights, gender and sexualities, social movements and activism, and the use of digital media and the arts in development. First-hand experience of international development work and familiarity with development tools and practices would be an asset.”

The closing date for applications is Wednesday, May 14th, 2014.

For details, see: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/aboutus/jobs/574

Job announcement: U.S. Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management, Socioeconomics Program announces recruitment for a term GS-11/12 position, as a planning – environmental analyst (social sciences), based in Washington, DC.

The appointment will be for a minimum of 13 months, but may be renewed for up to 4 years, if continued funding, program needs, and suitable performance allow.  The recruitment is open to all citizens.  Qualifications include academic preparation in a social science discipline (such as resource or environmental economics, cultural anthropology, sociology, or human geography) and experience in natural resource management.

Deadline: The application period closes March 4th, 2014.

The link to the recruitment announcement is here: https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/361521300.  Please read carefully “How to Apply” and “Required Documents” in the recruitment announcement.

BLM’s Socioeconomics Program handles a growing range of assignments, from assessing the human impacts of extractive resource uses to valuing ecosystem services, modeling urban growth, documenting the subsistence needs of indigenous groups, implementing environmental justice principles, and optimizing the effectiveness of conservation planning.

For further information on our work, please see the BLM Socioeconomics Strategic Plan.

The BLM manages more land – approximately 245 million acres – than any other Federal agency, primarily located in 12 western states, including Alaska. The Bureau also administers 700 million acres of federal sub-surface mineral estate. The BLM’s multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. For additional information about Bureau of Land Management, please visit www.blm.gov.  This position is located in the Division of Decision Support, Planning and NEPA, Directorate of Resources and Planning, Washington, D.C. 

For questions on the application process, please contact Latese Alexander

phone: 202-912-7321
email: lalexander@blm.gov 

For question’s on BLM’s socioeconomics program, please contact Rob Winthrop
phone: 202-912-7287
email: rwinthro@blm.gov


Planning and Environmental Analyst (Social Sciences), GS-0301-11/12Announcement No: WO-DEU-2014-0004

Opens: February 11, 2014

Closes:  March 4, 2014

Location: Washington, DC

Promotion Potential: GS-12

Moving expenses are not authorized

  • Open to All U.S. Citizens – No previous Federal Service is required.  This is a Term Appointment Not To Exceed 13 months with possible extension up to a total of 4 years.
  • This position is located in the Branch of Decision Support within the Division of Decision Support, Planning and NEPA (WO-211) in Washington, DC.

Click below to view the live link:


WAPA event tomorrow: Anthropology career panel

Washington Association of Professional Anthropologists will hold an anthropology career panel tomorrow.

Speakers: Kirsti Uunila, Frances Norwood, and John Primo

Date: Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Meeting: 7:00 pm, Sumner School, Rotating Gallery G-4

Pre-meeting get-together: 5:30 pm Beacon Bar and Grill


Kirsti Uunila is a Registered Professional Archaeologist and has served Calvert County since 1993 as Historic Preservation Planner. She reviews development projects for potential effects on cultural resources, creates projects to capture, preserve and share the history of Calvert County.

Frances Norwood is a medical anthropologist who specializes in end-of-life and long term care research in the U.S. and in The Netherlands. She won the 2011 Margaret Mead award for her book, The Maintenance of Life (2009). She is currently working on health care reform related to the Affordable Care Act as social science research analyst at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation and holds an appointment as assistant research professor at George Washington University in the Department of Anthropology and the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies.

John Primo is an ecological anthropologist in the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). He oversees a broad body of research focused on understanding the social impacts resulting from the development of energy resources on the outer continental shelf. Some of the issues and topics studied by the bureau, include, subsistence practices in Alaska, ocean space-use, the history of the oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico, and the infrastructural needs of energy development. John’s responsibilities and duties involve research design, coordination, and oversight at the programmatic and project level, as well as a number of associated procurement activities.

Meeting: Charles Sumner School, corner of 17th St and M St NW, Washington, DC.

How to get there: The Sumner School is located at 1201 17th St NW (corner of 17th St and M St NW). The entrance to the meeting area is on 17th St under the black metal stairway. Directions from Metro Red Line: From Farragut North station, take either L St exit, walk one block east to 17th St, turn left and walk 2 blocks north. Enter the building through the double doors under the black metal staircase. MEETING ROOM: Rotating Gallery G-4 (ground floor)

Pre-meeting: Beacon Bar & Grill (one block north of Sumner School)

How to get there: The Beacon Bar & Grill is in the Beacon Hotel located at 1615 Rhode Island Ave NW (corner of Rhode Island and 17th St). Directions from Metro Red Line Farragut North station: take either L St exit, walk one block east to 17th St, turn left and walk 3 blocks north (one block past Sumner School). All are welcome.

The value of cultural anthropology

Guest post by Nick Bluhm

I was recently asked during an interview what value my anthropology degree added to my candidacy for a corporate attorney position.

Without hesitating, I answered that it taught me the importance of talking to people. As commonsensical as it may sound, this is rarely done in a methodical, deliberate way to understand another’s perspective, whether that of a negotiating counter-party, a potential consumer, or an existing client. Anthropology requires the practitioner to hone his or her people skills: it’s the primary means by which the anthropologist engages with the informant and uncovers insights often not revealed by a thorough study of the hard numbers.

For instance, consider the issue of school reform. How are we, as social scientists (whether sociologists, economists, or anthropologists) supposed to understand the potential solutions?

The answer: By reference to the weaknesses, deficits, or demonstrated needs highlighted by the data set. But different academics will most likely disagree as to the most reliable source of data for identifying the pressing issues. Is it the median test score of a particular class? Is the average truancy of a particular student demographic? What if, perhaps, we as scientists decided against simply intuiting the issues from hard numbers; what if, instead of starting with the data, we interview the relevant stakeholders? Interview the teachers, the parents, the administrators, and the students.

This is the default approach for anthropologists, which I believe places the profession in the same vein as a non-profit consultant or a sophisticated consumer-products conglomerate; each believes in the primacy of the individual — the importance of understanding the perspective of the client, or the consumer, or the key anthropological informant.

For instance, Proctor & Gamble will market Tide soap to Vietnamese women depending on how customers describe their view of the Tide product and its utility in their lives.

Alternatively, the non-profit consultant may suggest school reforms that focus on the particular socio-economic factors affecting a particular under-performing student demographic. However different the end objectives are for each of these professions, it is the primacy of the “other” — the focus on understanding the world from the perspective of the “other” — that defines the core strength of these pursuits.

But economists approach the “other” from quite a different standpoint. Economists believe in deriving insights from the way and extent to which individuals deviate from the “logical” or “rational” ideal models intuited by the arm-chair economists. Instead of starting with carte blanche, as anthropologists ideally begin their fieldwork (with no pre-conceptions about the society, culture, or way of life), economists rigorously define a model that describes how a “rational” individual would make decisions (or how a market of similarly rational individuals would operate). It is therefore a roundabout way (and with significant pre-conceptions of the “right” choices to make) that economists attempt to individualize or humanize the homo economicus. Occasionally, there are economists who are notable for suggesting “behavioral” impacts on particular markets; or “economists” that re-define the notion of rational decision-making. Generally the profession of economics is defined by its adherence to models.

Ronald Coase. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Recently, however, Ronald Coase, Nobel Laureate and long-time faculty member of the famed University of Chicago Department of Economics, has suggested that a new branch of economics be pursued. He has broached the idea of a journal titled Man and the Economy, focusing on case studies, historic data, and research that appears to combine the quantitative rigor of economics with the value-add of anthropology.

Coase has thrown down the gauntlet: Fellow economists, step out of your offices and speak to the people about whom you have long theorized. Critics lambast the venture: “it’s difficult to make this a hard science.”

True, and the venture might defeat attempts to aggregate data or research. But the point of this venture is to gut-check the insights and conclusions; to understand whether the data set is as thorough and reflective of the American economy as some economists assume it is.

I do not fault economists for this approach. There is value in aggregating data for unemployment numbers, or Gross Domestic Product. Economists, unlike most anthropologists, focus on large or macro-economic issues; and a simple way to aggregate data sets and reach broad conclusions is to “simplify” data and assumptions. By contrast, as the number of variables or nuances of the “data” multiplies, the objective of aggregating the research devolves into comparing “apples to oranges.” This problem often plagues anthropology and is certain to limit the comparability of research, per recent discussion about “man and the economy.”

But this approach, which values the primacy of hard numbers, abstract models, science, and business is less helpful for identifying business opportunities, or consumer trends, or the viewpoints of people. The economists need to recognize that people, not numbers, are the true source of insights.


Nick Bluhm is a student at the University of Virginia School of Law. He holds an M.A. in anthropology from the George Washington University.

Applications invited for Summer Enrichment Program in Tibet

Machik is once again offering its Summer Enrichment Program (SEP). All volunteers must arrive on July 12th, and depart on August 10th. There will be a mandatory orientation for all volunteers on July 13, 14, and 15. Please read the application guidelines carefully before initiating your application. Application deadline is March 25, 2013.

Postdoctoral research fellowships in social anthropology at the University of Oslo

The Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo is offering four-year postdoctoral research fellowships in the field of social anthropology. One scholarship is offered for Norwegian students. Applicants must hold a PhD or equivalent in social anthropology as well as must have good spoken and written command of a Scandinavian language and/or English. Application deadline is March 15, 2013.

Position announcement in environmental anthropology

Western Carolina University in Collowhee, North Carolina, invites applications for a visiting assistant professor of sociocultural anthropology with a specialization in environmental anthropology, beginning August, 2013. Applicants should have a PhD in Anthropology (in hand by time of appointment) from an appropriately accredited institution. The successful candidate will have ethnographic experience and will be qualified to teach an upper-level course in environmental anthropology as well as other courses focused on their regional or topical interests. Application details are available here.