Method and Theory

Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology, Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History

The Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology (SIMA) is a research training program offered by the Department of Anthropology at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History with major funding from the Cultural Anthropology Program of the National Science Foundation. The program seeks to promote broader and more effective use of museum collections in anthropological research by providing a supplement to university training. Each summer SIMA supports 10-12 graduate students who want to use collections in their research. 

Using Smithsonian collections, experts, and visiting faculty, SIMA:
-introduces students to the scope of collections and their potential as data 
-provides training in appropriate methods to collect and analyze museum data 
-makes participants aware of a range of theoretical issues relating to collections 
-positions students to apply their knowledge within their home university. 

The curriculum, including both seminars and hands-on workshops, teaches students how to navigate museum systems, select methods to examine and analyze museum specimens, and recognize the wealth of theoretical issues that museum data can address. 

For more information on SIMA visit:

Deadline: 1 March 2015

Do you teach a course in Museum Anthropology?

Following up on our survey, we invite you to email us your syllabus so that we can share reading resources and themes for teaching Museum Anthropology (to undergraduates, graduates, practitioners, etc).  Please send your syllabi or lists of readings/themes to by July 30.  We will compile the information and share it with our readers.
Thank you!

Community Language Archiving Introductory Course

Community Language Archiving
Introductory Course
June 3-28, 2013
Tucson, Arizona

Tribal archives are often the repository for historical documents and records of all kinds.  While language archives have been used primarily by linguists, more tribes are now seeking ways to either establish language archives or to add them to their existing archive program. The American Indian Language Development Institute (AILDI) is offering a course, Community Language Archiving designed to aid in the understanding, creation and maintenance of a language archive.

In this introductory course students will develop an understanding of best practices as they apply to creating and maintaining language archives with an emphasis on digital archiving and accessibility. The course includes an introduction to best practices, how to decide what to archive, how to create digital resources, and basic web design to facilitate access to resources in a digital archive.  At the end of the course students will have a basic understanding of archival development and an understanding of the resources available to develop a language archive. Students enrolled in this course will be required to bring their own laptop.

Upon completion of the course, participants will earn 3 credits that can be transferred to a college or university program. The course is one of seven that will be offered as part of AILDI’s annual summer training program.  For more information about courses and the training program go to or contact, 520-521-1068.

2013 Anthropology Methods Mall

The 2013 Anthropology Methods Mall is online. This site has info about six, NSF-supported opportunities for methods training in cultural anthropology.

  1. SCRM (Short Courses on Research Methods. For those with the Ph.D.)
  2. SIRD (Summer Institute on Research Design. For graduate students)
  3. EFS (Ethnographic Field School. For graduate students)
  4. SIMA (Smithsonian Institution Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology. For graduate students)
  5. WRMA (Conference Workshops on Research Methods in Anthropology. For all anthropologists)
  6. DCRM (Distance Courses in Research Methods in Anthropology)

1. Now in its ninth year, the SCRM (Short Courses on Research Methods) program is for cultural anthropologists who already have the Ph.D. Two five-day courses are offered during summer 2013 at the Duke University Marine Lab in Beaufort, North Carolina.
Apply to the Short Courses on Research Methods HERE. Deadline February 15, 2013.

2. Now in its 18th year, the SIRD (Summer Institute on Research Design) is an intensive, three-week course for graduate students in cultural anthropology who are preparing their doctoral research proposals. The 2013 course runs from July 14-August 3, 2013 at the Duke University Marine Laboratory. Instructors: Jeffrey Johnson, Susan Weller, Amber Wutich, and H. Russell Bernard. Apply to the Summer Institute on Research Design HERE. Deadline March 1, 2013.

3. Now in its second year, the EFS (Ethnographic Field School) in Tallahassee, Florida is a five-week field school in ethnographic methods and community-based participatory research. The program is open to graduate students in cultural anthropology. The 2013 field school runs from July 7-August 10, 2013 and is coordinated by Clarence (Lance) Gravlee. Guest faculty include Sarah Szurek, Tony Whitehead, and Stephen Schensul. Apply to the Tallahassee Field School HERE. Deadline February 15, 2013.

4. Now in its fifth year, the SIMA (Smithsonian Institution Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology) is open to graduate students in cultural anthropology and related, interdisciplinary programs (Indigenous Studies, Folklore, etc.) who are interested in using museum collections as a data source and who are preparing for research careers. The course runs from June 24-July 19, 2013. Instructors: Candace Greene, Nancy Parezo, Mary Jo Arnoldi, Joshua Bell, and Gwyneira Isaac, plus visiting lecturers. Apply to the Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology HERE. Deadline March 1, 2013.

5. Now in its ninth year, the WRMA (Workshops in Research Methods in Anthropology) program offers one-day workshops in conjunction with national meetings of anthropologists. Click HERE for information about the next workshops at the meetings of the American Anthropological Association in San Franciso, California, November 14-18, 2013 and the Society for Applied Anthropology in Denver, Colorado, March 19-23, 2013.

6. Now in its second year, the DCRM (Distance Courses in Research Methods in Anthropology) is open to upper division undergraduates, graduate students, and professionals. Four courses are offered in summer 2013: Text Analysis, Geospatial Analysis, Network Analysis, and Video Analysis. The development of these fee-based courses is supported by the National Science Foundation. Enfollment is limited to 18 participants.

The 95 Percent Solution

A fascinating article in The American Scientist, with clear implications for museum anthropology:

School is not where most Americans learn most of their science

The scientific research and education communities have long had a goal of advancing the public’s understanding of science. The vast majority of the rhetoric and research on this issue revolves around the failure of school-aged children in the United States to excel at mathematics and science when compared with children in other countries. Most policy solutions for this problem involve improving classroom practices and escalating the investment in schooling, particularly during the precollege years. The assumption has been that children do most of their learning in school and that the best route to long-term public understanding of science is successful formal schooling. The “school-first” paradigm is so pervasive that few scientists, educators or policy makers question it. This despite two important facts: Average Americans spend less than 5 percent of their life in classrooms, and an ever-growing body of evidence demonstrates that most science is learned outside of school.

More here

UA Fieldschool at Rock Art Ranch

The University of Arizona School of Anthropology is launching a new summer field school during the first summer session of 2011 (June 6 through July 7) for undergraduate and graduate students at all skill levels. The participants will learn both archaeological survey and excavation techniques. For survey, participants will learn site identification, location and mapping using GPS; artifact identification, collection and processing; soil and plant identification; and artifact analysis and sourcing. For excavation, the participants will learn mapping at all levels of the site, feature identification, the principles of stratigraphy and their application to the archaeological record, seriation techniques, artifact identification and typology, and basic laboratory procedures. Finally, students will be shown how by combining the techniques of survey and excavation, a more complete understanding of human society in the past can be achieved.

[More here]

San Gemini Preservation Studies Program Field School

Dear Colleague,

I would like to inform you about our summer 2011 field school, the San Gemini Preservation Studies Program, now in its 12th year, which is dedicated to the preservation of cultural heritage and offers students the opportunity to study and travel in Italy. This year, we continue with our courses on architecture, ceramics and art restoration, and have added a course on paper restoration.

Courses offered:

· Introduction to Art and Building Restoration in Italy
· Surveying and Analyzing Historic Buildings
· Introduction to Conservation of Archeological Ceramics
· Introduction to Paper Restoration
· Traditional Painting Methods and Restoration Techniques
· Restoration Issues and Theory in Italy

Field Projects:

· Restoration of the Porta Burgis
· Surveying the 12th Century San Giovanni Battista Church complex
· Surveying the Church of Santo Gemine
· Archaeological survey of the public baths in Carsulae

To find out more about our program and review the syllabi, please visit our website:

Our courses are open to students from various disciplines, both undergraduate and graduate. All lessons are taught in English.

If you know any students, scholars, or others interested in this type of study, please inform them about our program. We would appreciate it if you could list our program on your organization's website as an available educational resource.

We have a 2011 flyer that you may wish to post on your department notice board or forward to interested parties. You can print this from our website, on our About Us page ( Please let us know if you have any problem printing and we can email you the PDF.

Thank you very much.

Cordially, Max Cardillo
Director, San Gemini Preservation Studies Program
International Institute for Restoration & Preservation Studies
US Tel: (718) 768-3508

Research Experience for Undergraduates

Western Apache Ethnography and GIS Research Experience for Undergraduates

The White Mountain Apache Tribe Heritage Program and the University of Arizona announce opportunities for student participation in the second season of the Western Apache Ethnography and GIS Research Experience for Undergraduates field school, a National Science Foundation-supported program, June 6-July 15, 2011.

Students participating in this REU will contribute to the creation of a Western Apache cultural and historical Atlas. Participants will learn field research techniques that will include:

• Creating research plans and documenting research efforts;
• Conducting archival, interview, survey, and participant-observation research;
• Identifying the locations of historical sites and land modification areas from archival maps, photographs, and land inspections;
• Collecting and conducting initial analysis of qualitative and quantitative data relating to historical and cultural use of landscapes and natural resources;
• Applying Geographic Information Science (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) tools and technologies to mapping and field data collection.

These tools will provide a firm analytical foundation for the systematic evaluation of cultural data. Students will design research projects, and will work collaboratively with fellow students, cultural advisors, and Tribal personnel to complete research projects that will result in draft entries for inclusion in the Atlas.

Participants will receive room and board at the Fort Apache/Theodore Roosevelt School campus, and a weekly stipend of $500 ($3,000 total for 6 weeks). Non-local students will be responsible for transportation to and from Tucson at the beginning and end of the program and will be expected to arrive in Tucson by Sunday, June 5, and to depart no earlier than Saturday, July 16.

6 hours of course credit from the University of Arizona will be available to participants who successfully complete the program (ANTH 395B Special Topics in Cultural Anthropology: Application of Geographic Information Systems to Cultural Anthropology and ANTH 495B Special Topics in Cultural Anthropology: Ethnographic Field Methods). 2011 U.A. Summer School tuition and fees are anticipated to be approximately $3,200 for 6 hours of coursework; tuition scholarships may be available. Successful applicants will be required to enroll in the University of Arizona summer school in order to receive course credit for the program. This will require an admission fee (anticipated to be $50 for Arizona residents/$65 for non-residents) and submission of proof of current MMR vaccination. Program staff will provide additional information and guidance.

All participants in the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates must be enrolled in an undergraduate degree program at an accredited college or university (i.e., have completed courses in an AA/AS or BA/BS program during the spring 2011 term and/or be enrolled for courses for the fall 2011 term).

A total of 8 students will be admitted to this program annually, 2010-2012. Members of the Western Apache Nations (White Mountain Apache Tribe, San Carlos Apache Tribe, Tonto Apache Tribe, Camp Verde Yavapai-Apache Nation) will be given first consideration for this program, but other Native and non-Native students are encouraged to apply. Applications received before March 18, 2011 will be given first consideration. Applications will continue to be accepted until the program is full.

For more information please contact REU Director Dr. Karl Hoerig at This announcement and application form also available online at:

Memory, Identity and Cultural Change

A Call for Papers Submitted for Posting by Annette Fromm:

Memory, Identity and Cultural Change: Call for Papers

We invite a few high quality contributions for a proposed special section of the journal Theory, Culture and Society on the theme Memory, Identity and Cultural Change.

This proposed special section will consider the role of memories in challenging or shaping socio-cultural and political narratives and counter narratives at the individual, community or national levels. Papers might explore how memories can be appropriated or kept alive for political purposes, to reinforce a 'sense of place' or to create a unified story for cultures. They might also consider the location, contexts and effects of remembering, exploring who is doing the remembering, why and with what results. Finally, the impacts of memories on individual or communities' sense of ownership of the past and their role in the shaping of the present may also be examined.

Papers are therefore invited that address any of the following:

• The reclaiming of cultural memories, sacred memories and stolen memories
• How memory can operate as a powerful discourse, silencing certain narratives about the past and privileging others
• The normalising role of memory especially within postcolonial contexts
• Memory shaping within cultural institutions and organisations such as museums
• The role of memory, myth and storytelling in tourist - orientated performance

Interested contributors should submit abstracts of 500 words to the editors of the proposed special section (see details below) as soon as possible and by 24th March 2009.

The following is a proposed time frame:
Abstract submission – 24 March 2009
Initial Acceptance – 31st March, 2009
Full paper submission – 1 June 2009

Special section editors:

Elizabeth Carnegie. An ethnologist and oral historian, her research interests include the politics of representation within museums, cultural identity and public memory, and festivity and religion in contemporary society

Contact details:
Programme Director Arts and Culture Management
Sheffield University Management School,
9 Mappin Street, Sheffield. S1 4DT.

Dr. Donna Chambers: main research areas include cultural/heritage tourism with special interest in discourse and postcolonial theories

Contact details:
Lecturer in Tourism Studies
Programme Director International Event Management
University of Surrey

Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology

From a Dear Colleague Letter from Candace Greene, Director of the Smithsonian Institution Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology (SIMA):

Dear Colleagues – I am pleased to announce a new research training initiative being launched by the Smithsonian Department of Anthropology with support (pending) from the National Science Foundation.

The Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology is an intensive four-week training program that will teach graduate students how to use museum collections in research, incorporating Smithsonian collections as an integral part of their anthropological training. Support from the Cultural Anthropology Program at NSF will cover full tuition and living expenses for 12 students each summer.

Please help us get the word out on this program, which will begin in June 2009 and is already accepting applications. Full information including application instructions and dates is available at

Candace Greene
Director, Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology
Ethnologist, Collections and Archives Program
Department of Anthropology
National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution