Anthropology Society Celebrates Social Science Theory Here

By Harkins, Jill | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), March 23, 2015 | Go to article overview

Anthropology Society Celebrates Social Science Theory Here


Harkins, Jill, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


Over the next five days, 1,800 members of the Society for Applied Anthropology won't just be listening to academic presentations in a hotel, they'll also be exploring the Carrie Furnace, the University of Pittsburgh's Nationality Rooms and a fracking site, among other destinations, to learn more about the community that will host their 75th annual conference.

"The leadership 10 years ago decided it was kind of stupid to go to a place, check into the hotel, talk to your friends, and fly home with very little understanding of the place where you met," said the society's executive director, Tom May.

The society brings together professionals from a wide variety of disciplines who are all dedicated to using social science theory to address global problems and positively impact quality of life. It chose Pittsburgh as the site of its conference - and week of exploration - because it reflects this year's theme of "Continuity and Change."

Mr. May said of the theme, "We were very interested in the question of change, but we're also sensitive to the notion that with change there's always continuity."

Kathleen Musante, anthropology professor at the University of Pittsburgh and president-elect of the society, said that the board members who chose the site of the conference to meet that theme "perceive Pittsburgh as being a symbol of the kind of community that has been able to not only adapt to changing circumstance but to flourish because of an enduring will to be a great place. …

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