National Association of Student Anthropologists
Oral Presentation Session
Elizabeth Pfeiffer (Rhode Island College)
Applied, Public, and Collaborative Anthropology promote the notion that we can, through intentional shared research design and identified outcomes, better meet the needs of the communities of practice in which we work. In our courses, we reproduce this discourse, encouraging our students to view this kind of approach as more equitable, functional, and meaningful in contrast to more traditional social science research designs. However, this framing fundamentally looks past the structural conditions that directly impede on the capacity for marginalized students to either engage in this research or to continue this work beyond a single undergraduate course. Specifically, in this paper—through critical reflections on teaching the course at the center of this panel, as well as others—we explore the broader barriers many of our students—the majority of whom are first-generation college students, students of color, female-identifying, caregivers to family members, and full-time workers—must first contend with in order to take on large collaborative projects and to even become anthropology majors. Ultimately, we argue that the same impetus behind better preparing doctoral students to apply their degrees and academic training in non-academic settings must extend to the undergraduate level. Otherwise, we risk directly reproducing structures of inequality wherein the utility of anthropology remains firmly embedded in higher education, having trained our students to only be better students rather than as empowered social scientists and members of their communities.