American Anthropological Association meetings
Rebranding Anthropology - Faux Ad

Branding Anthropology + Design Anthropology

Being a "bad anthropologist" I have not attended any presentations during the five-day, 8:00am to 8:00pm, extravaganza that is the American Anthropological Association meetings. Curiously enough, the topics are closer to themes and approaches that I am interested in (ex. public anthropology, activist anthropology, governmentality, and citizenship). The problem is that I do not enjoy academic discourse the same way I did before. I have these conversations with people where I keep wanting to say, "Can you draw me an experience model?" So I have definitedly crossed a design threshold somewhere.

When I was on the plane flying to the conference, someone said, "You can't be an anthropologist. Your presentation looks too good." Someone else told me that they find the workshop form more appealing than going to paper presentations. AAA presentations tend to be made up of obtuse language and the lack of visuals.

The two workshops I facilitated were interesting because they were very interactive. Using a lot of Post-it notes to get participants to brain storm about the brand attributes of anthropology and opportunities to craft audience appropriate messages (via appropriate distribution channels). The Anthropology Rebranding Workshop was excited because AAA Executive leadership were present and was very engaged with what I was trying to say and do about the focus on people who are not anthropologist. I am optimistic that it may lead to opportunities to rebrand the AAA, which is the largest (10, 000 members) and oldest (over 105 years) anthropological association in the world. That would be very cool.

Tomorrow morning, I will probably break down and attend a panel session. It is strange to feel so alienated from your discipline, but exciting to see that it is transforming to become more like you. Ah, the plight of marginality and the promise of centeredness.


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