AAA Annual Meeting Program

AAA Annual Meeting Program Details

Session Information:
This session may be of particular interest to:  Practicing and Applied Anthropologists     Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges     Students
Program Number: 1-0775
Type: Session
Session Sponsor: National Association for the Practice of Anthropology
Session Date/Time: Wed., 8:00 PM-9:45 PM
Organizer(s): MARC HEBERT (University of South Florida) 
Chair(s): MARC HEBERT (University of South Florida) 
8:00 PM: JASON GORMAN (Harvard University, Graduate School of Education) -- Blended Theory and the Practice of Design  
8:15 PM: MARC HEBERT (University of South Florida) -- Redesigning Libraries and Nonprofit Organizations in the Age of Online Public Assistance Applications  
8:30 PM: DISCUSSANT: XANTHE MATYCHAK (Rochester Institute of Technology)  
9:00 PM: DISCUSSANT: ELIZABETH TUNSTALL (Swinburne University)  
9:45 PM: End of Session
Abstract: Objective: To expand the availability of ideas across disciplines about the theory of design based on practice by inviting a panel of design thinkers to share their experiences with applying theory through project work.

Goals: The first is to understand the theoretical framework used in a project, what the theoretical limitations were, and what advice could be shared with others relying on similar theories. Critiques should be accompanied by an alternative theory or framework or lessons learned. The second goal is to explain how at least one "broad" concept used in anthropology was explored through the design process, such as neoliberalism, pedagogy, or poverty, among others.

Background: Ten years ago the National Association for the Practice of Anthropology published an edited volume arguing for anthropologists to test theories outside of academia. Since the publication of "Unity of Theory and Practice in Anthropology: Rebuilding a Fractured Synthesis" (eds. Carole Hill & Marietta Baba 2000), design anthropology has blossomed. It is recognized as an innovative sub-discipline with skilled ethnographers hired to solve problems dealing with products, services, and public policies. Anthropologists and others involved in design are uniquely situated to revisit Hill & Baba’s suggestions for applying theory and informing the broader academic community of their findings.


If you have any questions about the program, please contact the AAA Meetings Department at