46: AnthroNews-Anthro Day!

3 03 2008

Anthro Day!

Heather Balcom

On February 5th, the Anthro Club, in conjunction with Associated Students, welcomed applied anthropologist Mark Dawson to campus. He specializes in applying anthropology to marketing, and in studying violence from an anthropological stand point. He has done ethnographic research in prisons, studied consumers for corporations, and, most recently, applied to the military’s Human Terrain System, a program designed to make the skills of anthropologists available to military units, with the aim of minimizing the need for lethal force.

Mark met students and faculty members at an afternoon reception, which was followed by a more formal discussion on ethics in anthropological research. The discussion began with questions about confidentiality in participant/researcher interactions, but soon branched out into other ethical questions faced by anthropologists. Is a researcher obliged to deny access to his or her data if that information might be used to harm the study’s participants? Are studies that are not publicly available ethical, or even anthropological? And, what became the theme of the event: Is there a code of ethics which defines anthropology as a discipline? “Do no harm” was put forth by Dr. Ellen Gruenbaum as a strong contender.

After the presentation, another group of anthropologists reconvened for a meeting of The Central Valley Applied Anthropology  Network (CVAAN) at M-n-Ed’s Pizza. Crystal, CVAAN’s artist, led a brainstorming session for logos, and Mark Dawson lent us his expertise in design.

Thanks to Robin Trayler, Dr. Hank Delcore and Dr. Jim Mullooly for organizing this event, and to our guest Mark Dawson for sharing his experience and perspective. You can find out more about the speaker at his blog, ethnography.com.

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