Anthropologists have increasingly used the term public anthropology to refer to a model of research and practice dedicated to bringing anthropological knowledge into public discourse to affect tangible social change (Low 2011). The increased visibility of what is variously referred to as public, engaged, activist, action, or applied anthropology challenges anthropologists to circulate their insights more widely and effectively in the public sphere. The question, however, is not merely whether anthropologists should participate in the public sphere but also how anthropologists should intervene. In this article, I examine the interventions that anthropologists made in debates on the Ebola epidemic, state violence and civil discourse, and the need for cultural change in the face of climate change. Using these cases as a theoretical point of departure, I question what would happen if we imagined our work as a practice of freedom, an act of imagination, a tool for transforming an unequal world? What if we did the work of anthropology as though our lives and the lives of others depended on it?.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)