Presenting the 2015 Public Anthropology Conference

The 12th Annual Public Anthropology Conference (PAC 2015) will take place this weekend on October 3-4. We’re excited to learn from public anthropologists and scholar-activists from a broad range of disciplines, and to engage current debates.


This year’s topic is SHIFTING CLIMATES: Dialogues of the Urgent and Emergent.

The keynote presentations, panel discussion, and workshops will probe the issues facing our rapidly transforming world. We’ll focus on the immediate response demanded by today’s problems of economic development, armed conflict, international human rights abuses, racial injustices, medical emergencies, sexual and gender inequalities, and more.

This conference will open forums for dialogue branching into “the urgent” and the “emergent.” We define the “urgent” as social justice issues demanding time-sensitive answers, and “the emergent” as our preparedness to approach new challenges as they arise―while constantly reevaluating the frameworks in which we approach our work.

Presenters and other participants will discuss our roles as practitioners, teachers, students, and interested members of the public within today’s shifting climates. We will probe modes of producing and supporting positive social, environmental, economic, and political change.



The three keynotes have been designated to celebrate the work of three retiring American University anthropology faculty members, William Leap, Brett Williams, and Gretchen Schafft, and their incredible contribution to public anthropology.

Denis M. Provencher’s work explores representations and performances of citizenship, gender, sexuality, religion, and hate speech in global contexts. Denis is associate professor of French and intercultural communication, and affiliate associate professor in the Gender and Women’s Studies Program and in the Language, Literacy, and Culture Doctoral Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and has published two monographs and a number of journal articles and chapters. Denis will be honoring William Leap and his work.

Judith Goode will be speaking about Brett Williams. Judith is known for her pioneering urban anthropology, which first took place in Medellin and Bogota, Colombia. Throughout the 1970s, she conducted urban ethnography in Philadelphia, and she has served in several prominent leadership roles in the field, working to make the voice of anthropology more central to debates about public issues. She is professor emerita at Temple University.

Laurie Krieger will be honoring Gretchen Schafft. Laurie is a medical anthropologist who serves as Senior Advisor in Health and Social Science for The Manoff Group, a woman-owned, small consulting firm working in international health. She has held many leadership roles in fieldwork and on prominent committees and is the author of numerous research papers in the gray literature. Laurie has also authored training curricula, assessments, strategies, manuals, and public health “tools,” in addition to publishing academic literature. She has been a long-time member of WAPA, the oldest local practitioner organization in anthropology, where Gretchen is one of the founders.



October 3-4, 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.

Events take place at Mary Graydon Center, McKinley Building, and School of International Service (SIS) Building.


Getting There:

AU Maps & Directions


DC Metro & AU Shuttle

AU is accessible via the Tenleytown stop on the Red Line (toward upper left on metro map)—just outside the metro east entrance there is an American University shuttle bus stop. The AU Shuttle Blue/Main Campus Route runs every 10-15 minutes: see live bus-location app—ask the driver for main campus stop nearest MGC (immediately past Ward Circle). See also AU Maps/Directions.



Parking is free on weekends and after 5 p.m. Parking is available under the Katzen Arts Center on Massachusetts Avenue and in parking deck attached to Mary Graydon Center.

Questions: Contact:



Get in on the conversation.

It’s not too late to sign up and join the discussion. Register for the conference>

Advance registration closes at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, October 2. On-site registration will be available on the second floor of the Mary Graydon Center outside room 245.

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