Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Why no one gives a damn about anthropology (by Ashkuf)

Granted, the title’s controversial and overstated. But it got your attention, right? That’s called “contrarian marketing.” Humor me. You’ll see where I’m coming from. For full disclosure’s sake, you should know that I that started in religious anthropology, before moving into business anthropology, facilitating my own marketing committee, and guest-writing for AAA's marketing staff.

So, how did I learn that “nobody gives a damn” about anthropology?

2009. Gainesville, FL. Dove World Outreach Ministries, an aggressive evangelical church, had gotten vandalized after causing larger-than-usual uproar in UF’s Turlington Plaza. Concerned about escalating violence, UF hosted a meeting to discuss countermeasures. As an anthropologist with years of experience among Turlington’s evangelicals, I came to speak as an expert opinion. I delivered a well-thought-out presentation, only to get dismissed as such: “You’re an anthropologist? Don’t you study bugs or something?” The following year, Dove World hosted International Burn a Koran Day, which incited deadly riots.

“Nobody gives a damn” about anthropology, because nobody knows what it is. 

To varying degrees, other anthropologists understand this challenge. I’ve read similar woes in journals like American Anthropologist, and on blogs like Savage Minds. When Gov. Rick Scott criticized anthropology schools, USF responded with a presentation titled “This is Anthropology,” inescapably suggesting that people don’t already know what anthropology is. However, from a marketer’s perspective, a title like “This is Anthropology” only earns the attention of people who’re already interested in anthropology. Despite its thousands of views, Google reveals that “This is Anthropology’s” most relevant backlinks come from other anthropology websites. Essentially, it’s a presentation made by anthropologists, popular among other anthropologists.

So what can be done? For starters, anthropology needs mainstream interest, so we should market toward non-anthropologists. I’ve already conducted some market research, and deigned a tactic that motivates professors of *other subjects to teach students about anthropology. Access my research, "FOR ANYBODY TO CARE ABOUT ANTHROPOLOGY, THEY’LL NEED TO KNOW WHAT IT IS!" for free via

--- Ashkuff | | Bored with reading about others'
adventures? Burning to venture out yourself? Let this applied
anthropologist remind you how.