March 2013 was spring break, deadlines and Denver!
Three weeks ago, I attended the SfAA (Society for Applied Anthropology) annual meeting in Denver, Colorado. The 2013 meeting was the 73rd annual meeting for an organization whose history traces that of modern anthropology, with notable anthropologists such as Margaret Mead serving as a former president (1949-1950).
The theme of the 2013 meeting was “Natural Resource Distribution and Development in the 21st Century” and I was at the meeting to learn about how this relates to fisheries. There were great fisheries talks such as a NOAA scientist presenting on community indicators to predict vulnerability and a presentation by the Division of Subsistence on the subsistence herring egg harvest in Sitka, Alaska. There was a strong Alaska presence with professors and graduate students there from UAS, UAF and UAA, and also folks from the Division of Subsistence from Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Additionally, there were also folks from Sea Grant offices across the country and researchers from different universities working on coastal issues directly transferable to Alaska, such as marine spatial planning, stakeholder engagement and marine co-management.
Part of SfAA’s mission is the “promotion of interdisciplinary scientific investigation of the principles controlling the relations of human beings to one another.” As no surprise, SfAA spans a wide range of disciplines and I had the opportunity to meet urban planners, social scientists, filmmakers, geographers and of course, anthropologists.
There is always talk of social vs. natural sciences and while it’s certainly different, the point of SfAA and applied anthropology is to promote interdisciplinary research in solutions to human problems. Considering that I don’t have a strong background in anthropology, I felt welcomed in my interactions with other conference attendees and appreciated for the diversity I brought to conversations I was engaged it. I would highly recommend this conference for those of us who want to learn more about interdisciplinary and social sciences but may not want to jump into social theory right away.
The 2014 meeting will be in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Leave your Ricker curves as home and I hope to see you there!
Thank you to MESAS small grant for funding my conference attendance.
For more information, please visit the SfAA website at: http://www.sfaa.net/