Recent studies indicate that a growing number of anthropologists are pursuing alternatives to traditional tenure-track academic careers.
The Changing Face of Anthropology: Anthropology Masters Reflect on Education, Careers, and Professional Organizations
The #alt-ac Track: Negotiating Your 'Alternative Academic' Appointment
The Alt-Ac Track
The AAA seeks to provide support and community for anthropologists throughout the spectrum of professional activities. As a result, the information provided below is intended to benefit practicing anthropologists in a variety of academic and non-academic settings.
Help us maintain a central location of Resources for Practitioners. Please contact Courtney Dowdall to suggest any additional services or sites of value to our community of practicing anthropologists.
AAA Sections and Committees
The Committee on Practicing, Applied and Public Interest Anthropology was established in 2008 to explore and engage the range of issues emerging as a result of the increasing number of anthropologists in and outside the academy doing practicing, applied and public interest work. The responsibilities of the Committee range from establishing liaisons with appropriate Sections to help serve the interest of practicing, applied and public anthropology, to developing recommendations for training and professional development. Please visit the CoPAPIA page for further information on the work of this committee.
In addition, the National Association for the Practice of Anthropology (NAPA) was founded in 1983 to promote the practice of anthropology and the interests of practicing anthropologists, and to further the practice of anthropology as a profession. The NAPA website features a blog, member publications, advice for starting a Local Practitioner Organization (LPO), and more.
The Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference (EPIC) promotes the use of ethnographic investigations and principles in the study of human behavior as they are applied in business settings. Beyond this, the conference aspires to promote the integration of rigorous methods and theory from multiple disciplines into business practices; to advocate business decisions based upon sound research; to promote public recognition of practicing ethnography as a profession; and to support the continuing professionalization of the field.
DANG, the Digital Anthropology Group
The Digital Methods Group is a network of anthropologists interested in how Internet driven platforms of social exchange are challenging the way research is done, how anthropology is taught, and how anthropologists communicate with each other, the public, and our subject communities. Organized as an interest group under the American Anthropological Association it acts as a forum for sharing ideas, promoting online activities, and advancing our professional concerns.
Please be advised the AAA is not responsible for either these websites or the information they provide but merely supplies the information as a service to the anthropological community.
A number of organizations support the interaction and collaboration of practicing anthropologists and scholars working independent of academia.
National and international organizations
The Ronin Institute is devoted to facilitating and promoting scholarly research outside the confines of traditional academic research institutions.
The National Coalition of independent Scholars (NCIS) welcomes people who are pursuing knowledge in or across any fields whose credentials demonstrate an active involvement in independent scholarship in any field, as evidenced by advanced degrees or presentations/publications.
The Versatile PhD mission is to help humanities and social science (and STEM as of July 2013) graduate students identify and prepare for possible non-academic careers. The free community is open to anyone and offers a rich support system for those possibly transitioning into non-academic careers.
The Society for Applied Anthropology has for its object the promotion of interdisciplinary scientific investigation of the principles controlling the relations of human beings to one another, and the encouragement of the wide application of these principles to practical problems
The American Evaluation Association's mission is to improve evaluation practices and methods, increase evaluation use, promote evaluation as a profession, and support the contribution of evaluation to the generation of theory and knowledge about effective human action.
The Consortium of Practicing and Applied Anthropology Programs (COPAA) offers a listing of their member Programs in Applied Anthropology.
The Prehistoric Society interests are world-wide and extend from the earliest human origins to the emergence of written records. Founded in 1935, we currently have around 1500 members in over 40 countries.
The Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA) is the largest scholarly group concerned with the archaeology of the modern world (A.D. 1400-present). The main focus of the society is the era since the beginning of European exploration. SHA promotes scholarly research and the dissemination of knowledge concerning historical archaeology.
The Society for Industrial Archaeology is a nonprofit, international, interdisciplinary organization that brings together people of varied backgrounds who share a common interest in the archeology of industry, engineering, and technology in general.
Beyond Academe seeks to educate historians about their options outside of academe. We think this site can be used by PhDs in other fields but you will find that much of the information we provide is intended specifically for historians.
Hidden Scholars is a home for independent scholars in western New England, including western Massachusetts, the Five College region, the Connecticut Valley, Hartford and Brattleboro. Our first goal is to provide social connections. As interest arises, members will be able to pursue professional networking, study partnerships, activism, and more.
The Washington Association of Professional Anthropologists (WAPA) is the oldest and largest regional association of professional anthropologists in the world today. Founded in 1976, WAPA serves as a resource and a social and career development center for anthropologists seeking to apply their knowledge and skills to practical problems for the betterment of society.
The High Plains Society for Applied Anthropology (HPSfAA) is a nonprofit corporation organized under the Colorado Nonprofit Corporation Act. Its objectives are the social and economic betterment of the ethnically and culturally varied human beings and communities with whom we work, the study and application of principles that explain and improve human relations, and the dissemination of this body of knowledge.
The El Paso Archaeological Societyis a dynamic organization of approximately 250 avocational and professional archaeologists. We are a nonprofit group dedicated to conservation and preservation of cultural resources. Our activities offer something for almost everyone interested in archaeology - from interesting speakers to hands-on experience.
Libraries and databases
The newest publication of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) is a digital-only publication that will be provided to the public free of charge. This is the first AAA publication that uses responsive design and is readable on mobile devices, such as iPhones. Each issue will be dedicated to topics of interest to the general public, and that may have direct or indirect public policy implications.
This AAA periodical features columns of interest to practitioners from several of our sections. The links below connect to our most recent issues:
Section news from the National Association for the Practice of Anthropology (NAPA)
Anthropology Works - provided by the Committee for Applied, Practicing, and Public Interest Anthropology (CoPAPIA)
Opinions by Anthropology in the Public Sector
Anthropology and Archaeology Research Network (AARN)
The Anthropology and Archaeology Research Network (AARN) gives anthropology scholars access to distribute their technical reports, gray literature, preprints, and other scholarly contributions that might not have other outlets to become widely accessible and distributed across disciplines. The goals of the network are to help anthropological ideas and data be widely distributed. You can also utilize AARN to conduct tailored searches to find what you are looking for swiftly without wading through hundreds of unrelated resources that traditional search tools provide. The following links may be of interest to you. AAA is not responsible for and does not endorse these Web sites or the information they provide.
AnthroSource is a service of the American Anthropological Association that offers members and subscribing libraries full-text anthropological resources from the breadth and depth of the discipline. AnthroSource is:
·a digital searchable database containing the past, present and future AAA publications,
·more than 250,000 articles from AAA journals, newsletters, bulletins and monographs in a single place, and
·24/7 access to scientific research information across the field of anthropology (PDF document).
Online Research Library
AAA is pleased to offer anthropologists who do not have access to a college or university library a virtual collection, called the Online Research Library. This database includes more than 5,060 titles -- more than 3,600 in full text. The Online Research Library provides an incredible value for any anthropologist without access to library collections and can help anthropologists at all levels in their careers! Please consider sharing this resource with colleagues outside academia and former students who no longer receive the benefits of institutional affiliation.
Registry of Anthropological Data Wiki
The Registry of Anthropological Data is a resource for anthropologists and any other researchers interested in culture, history, language, and human life in general. It represents a wide-ranging list of fieldnotes, ethnographic source materials, and data in countless digital and physical archives, produced by scores of anthropologists over the last century. But the list is by no means comprehensive.
The American Folklife Center
American Museum of Natural History
The Anthropology Review Database
Archive of Turkish Oral Narrative
ArchNet Virtual Library of Archaeology
eHRAF Collection of Ethnography
North Carolina Office of State Archaeology
The Plymouth Colony Archive Project
Southeast Asian Archaeology Scholarly Website
The World Wide Web Library of African ArchaeologyApplied/Practicing Anthropology Links
Training and workshops
a one-stop shop for NSF-sponsored training opportunities in research methods for cultural anthropologists
Expeditions, Research in Applied Anthropology
a growing worldwide independent network of scholars in the human sciences, offering anthropological fieldwork and studies.
American Academy in Rome
supports innovative artists, writers and scholars living and working together in a dynamic international community
The Open School of Ethnography and Anthropology Community Institute for Transcultural Exchange
specializes in ethnography, language training, community action research, visual anthropology, tourism & heritage students, and experimental methodologies
The Royal Anthropological Institute
the world's longest-established scholarly association dedicated to the furtherance of anthropology (the study of humankind) in its broadest and most inclusive sense
The National Preservation Institute (NPI)
offers continuing education and professional training for those involved in the management, preservation, and stewardship of cultural heritage
A degree in anthropology can lead practitioners to a wide variety of careers. A survey by the American Anthropological Association's Committee on Practicing, Applied and Public Interest Anthropology found Master's degree holders in careers ranging from software development to program evaluation to cultural resource management to international development. Visit our Careers in Anthropology page for more information on the value anthropologists bring to their workplaces.
You can read about the endeavors of practicing and applied AAA membership in columns such as the current Anthropology Works and past issues of Profiles in Practice.
Guidelines for practitioners
AAA Guidelines for the Evaluation of Ethnographic Visual Media
AAA Guidelines for Evaluating Scholarship in the Realm of Practicing, Applied, and Public Interest Anthropology for Academic Promotion and Tenure
AAA Statement on Ethics: Principles of Professional Responsibility (2012)
For more information on ethics in research please visit our Ethics Resources page.