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ASU wins grant to teach full toolkit to next generation of anthropologists

National Science Foundation funding will offer immersive summer camp experience for doctoral students to learn new methods


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November 17, 2020

Be all you can be.

It worked for the Army, and now it’s going to work for cultural anthropologists, who will be trained in advanced research techniques in a summer camp taught by Arizona State University’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change.

The school recently won a grant from the National Science Foundation to teach research methods at a summer camp in San Diego for the next three years.

Cultural anthropologists use an extraordinary range of methods. While PhD students typically learn a few approaches, it’s rare that a program is able to offer the full range and breadth of the field's cutting-edge methods. This camp will offer a full toolkit.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity to sort of push the envelope and get PhD students nationally really rigorously trained in the most cutting-edge methods, ranging from geographic methods to mathematical modeling, to text analysis and mining, to decolonizing methods,” said Amber Wutich, who will be one of two ASU professors filling faculty teaching roles at the camp.  

Wutich, a President's Professor in the school, uses at least one of the methods she will be teaching every day in both her work as a scholar and a teacher.

“One of the reasons why it's so important and why it's wonderful that NSF has made this investment in the program is that the kinds of questions you can ask and answer are very much limited by the methods that you use to execute the research,” she said. “It gives you more freedom to explore research.”

More than 30 faculty on the grant specialize in cross-cultural methods.

“We as cultural anthropologists have a unique ability to look at similarities and differences in cultures,” Wutich said. “That's kind of a unique set of skills. We at ASU run a very renowned and long-standing field program and cross-cultural research.”

ASU’s anthropology program is at the forefront of research. It has been ranked the top in the U.S. for research output and No. 4 internationally.

“Part of that is our extraordinary talent for developing, innovating and testing research methods,” Wutich said. “So it is with great pride that I say that our faculty here is very much at the forefront of methodological development and not just the anthropology in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, but also our anthropology faculty across the campus.”

“The Cultural Anthropology Methods Program (CAMP): Advanced Research Training for PhD Students” was funded for $350,000 for three years by the NSF Cultural Anthropology program.

Top image from Pixabay.

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