Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Linda A. Bennett, November 18, 2011

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:02 - Educational background / Washington, D.C. anthropological organizations

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Partial Transcript: This is Barbara Rylko-Bauer and I am conducting an interview today with Linda Bennett for the Society for Applied Anthropology's oral history project.

Segment Synopsis: Bennett discusses how she became interested in applied anthropology when she attended American University for her anthropology doctoral degree. She talks about how she was offered a position at George Washington University Medical Center to work on generational alcoholism. Bennett recalls her experiences with the Anthropological Society of Washington as a graduate student. She also talks about joining the Washington Association of Professional Anthropologists.

Keywords: Anthropological organizations; Anthropological societies; Applied anthropologists; Generational alcoholism; Long-term degree plans; Professional anthropologists; Washington Association of Professional Anthropologists (WAPA); Washington, D.C.

Subjects: American University (Washington, D.C.); Anthropological Society of Washington (Washington, D.C.); Anthropologists; Anthropology; Applied anthropology; George Washington University. Medical Center; Washington (D.C.); Washington Association of Professional Anthropologists

00:15:13 - President of the Washington Association of Professional Anthropologists

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Partial Transcript: Um, so when you then became pre--president, um, from that, you know those, um, what was it, three years that you were president?

Segment Synopsis: Bennett discusses her time as the president of the Washington Association of Professional Anthropologists for three years. She talks about what she learned while president, including taking responsibility for the actions of the association.

Keywords: Anthropological associations; Leadership skills in organization management; Organizational presidents; Washington Association of Professional Anthropologists (WAPA); Washington, D.C.

Subjects: Anthropologists; Anthropology; Bennett, Linda A.; Washington (D.C.); Washington Association of Professional Anthropologists

00:18:19 - Applied anthropological research on family alcoholism

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Partial Transcript: And, during that time, I had my a-applied anthropology work in Washington, D.C., but I also had, parallel with that, uh, work I was, uh, doing in former Yugoslavia.

Segment Synopsis: Bennett talks about her enjoyment with working on an interdisciplinary project. She discusses the details of the project, which was transmission or non-transmission of alcoholism in American families. Bennett recalls the different kinds of anthropologists she worked with, including medical and cultural anthropologists. She also discusses the differences of the research in the United States and in Yugoslavia.

Keywords: Anthropological projects; Anthropology--Eastern Europe; Generational alcoholism; Parallel anthropological fieldwork; Research funding; Transmissible alcoholism

Subjects: Alcoholism; Anthropologists; Anthropology; Anthropology--Fieldwork; Anthropology--Research; Applied anthropology; Yugoslavia; Zagreb (Croatia)

00:24:41 - Involvement with the National Association for the Practice of Anthropology

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Partial Transcript: Well, I think, um, you know, you finished your, uh, uh, tenure with WAPA in 1984.

Segment Synopsis: Bennett talks about how the National Association for the Practice of Anthropology (NAPA) was created in 1983 in Washington, D.C. She discusses why NAPA was formed and how many associations needed to restructure due to new tax laws in the 1980s. Bennett also talks about how these organizations needed to appeal to applied anthropology, as opposed to only appealing to anthropology within academia. She recalls her position on the board of NAPA and its general structure and organization.

Keywords: Anthropological associations; Anthropological societies; National Association for the Practice of Anthropology (NAPA); Organizational structures; Professional societies; Washington, D.C.

Subjects: Anthropologists; Anthropology; Applied anthropology; National Association for the Practice of Anthropology (U.S.); Washington (D.C.)

00:33:50 - Mid-South Association of Practicing Anthropologists (MSAPA)

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Partial Transcript: Well, you were in Memphis at the time.

Segment Synopsis: Bennett talks about the formation of the Mid-South Association of Practicing Anthropologists in Memphis in the early 1990s after she had moved to the area from Washington, D.C.

Keywords: Anthropological associations; Anthropological societies; Applied anthropological associations; Mid-South Association of Practicing Anthropologists

Subjects: Anthropologists; Anthropology; Applied anthropology; Memphis (Tenn.); Professional associations.

00:35:09 - Evolution of the National Association for the Practice of Anthropology

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Partial Transcript: Because by then, I mean, NAPA had evolved.

Segment Synopsis: Bennett discusses the evolution of the National Association for the Practice of Anthropology (NAPA) during her term as president. She tells the interviewer her biggest achievement while being president was the creation of the Careers in Anthropology video. Bennett talks about working with the American Anthropological Association (AAA) on the video and how the applied anthropology field became more accepted by the AAA. She recalls starting career workshops and a mentorship program while she was president of NAPA

Keywords: American Anthropological Association (AAA); Anthropological associations--United States; Anthropological organizations; Anthropological societies; Career services; National Association for the Practice of Anthropology (NAPA)

Subjects: American Anthropological Association; Anthropologists; Anthropology; Applied anthropology; National Association for the Practice of Anthropology (U.S.); Vocational guidance

00:44:06 - Involvement with the Society For Applied Anthropology

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Partial Transcript: Um, but in the pro--I mean, during that time period then, from, let's say from '94 to '98, um, you know, you, you were involved with the SFAA at the same time as you were involved in NAPA?

Segment Synopsis: Bennett compares her experiences with the National Association for the Practice of Anthropology (NAPA) with her experience with the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA). She discusses the distinctions between the people who join each organization, including the percentage of practitioners in each organization compared to academic anthropologists.

Keywords: Academic anthropologists; Anthropological organizations; Anthropological societies; Applied anthropologists; National Association for the Practice of Anthropology (NAPA); Organizational meetings; Practitioners; Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA)

Subjects: Anthropologists; Anthropology; Applied anthropology; National Association for the Practice of Anthropology (U.S.); Society for Applied Anthropology

00:50:59 - Consortium of Practicing and Applied Anthropologists

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Partial Transcript: Um, during your tenure in the SFAA, what were, you know, some of the key issues and--or key initiatives that you were involved in?

Segment Synopsis: Bennett talks about her goals as president of the Society for Applied Anthropology (SFAA). Her first goal was to interconnect applied anthropology departments from different universities across the country, which Bennett calls the Consortium. Bennett names the universities who came to the Consortium. She discusses how the organization is independent from other anthropological organizations, though they are linked to the SfAA and a few other organizations.

Keywords: Anthropological associations; Anthropology consortium; Applied anthropology--Education; Consortium of Practicing and Applied Anthropologists; Independent associations; Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA); Society for Applied Anthropology Consortium

Subjects: Anthropologists; Anthropology; Applied anthropology; Bennett, Linda A.; Society for Applied Anthropology

01:01:35 - Consortium of Practicing and Applied Anthropologists curriculum development

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Partial Transcript: What about, um, um, curriculum development?

Segment Synopsis: Bennett discusses curriculum development in anthropology departments throughout colleges and universities in the United States. She talks about the importance of curriculum development in anthropology, particularly developing internship and practicum credits.

Keywords: Anthropology departments; Anthropology--Academia; Consortium of Practicing and Applied Anthropologists; Curriculum development

Subjects: Anthropologists; Anthropology; Applied anthropology; Bennett, Linda A.; Career changes

01:03:25 - Current involvement with the Consortium of Practicing and Applied Anthropologists

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Partial Transcript: Are you still involved with COPAPIA--or, or COP--COPAA?

Segment Synopsis: Bennett talks about her continued involvement with the Consortium of Practicing and Applied Anthropologists.

Keywords: Anthropological associations; Anthropological organizations; Careers in anthropology; Committee on Practicing, Applied and Public Interest Anthropology (COPAPIA); Consortium of Practicing and Applied Anthropologists (COPAA); Consortiums

Subjects: Anthropologists; Anthropology; Anthropology research and developments; Applied anthropology; Bennett, Linda A

01:05:19 - Relationship between the Committee on Practicing, Applied and Public Interest Anthropology (COPAPIA) and the National Association for the Practice of Anthropology

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Partial Transcript: But what is the relationship between NAPA and COPAPIA?

Segment Synopsis: Bennett discusses how NAPA and COPAPIA differ from each other, even though they are both related to the practice of applied anthropology.

Keywords: Anthropological associations; Anthropological societies; Committee on Practicing, Applied and Public Interest Anthropology (COPAPIA); Consortium of Practicing and Applied Anthropologists (COPAA); National Association for the Practice of Anthropology (NAPA)

Subjects: Anthropologists; Anthropology; Applied anthropology; Bennett, Linda A.; National Association for the Practice of Anthropology (U.S.)

01:09:48 - University of Memphis anthropology program

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Partial Transcript: You mentioned, um, that you're now the Associate Dean at the University of Memphis.

Segment Synopsis: Bennett talks about her work at the University of Memphis in the anthropology department. She discusses writing a chapter of a book about the history of the anthropology program at the University of Memphis. She recalls developing the applied anthropology department at the University of Memphis, including the stipulations given to the program. Bennett talks about some of the efforts of the University of Memphis graduate students to create anthropologically-based programs in the Memphis area, one of the stipulations stated to create the program.

Keywords: Anthropology departments; Anthropology--Education; Anthropology--Graduate programs; Development of academic programs; University of Memphis--Anthropology program

Subjects: Anthropologists; Anthropology; Medical anthropology; Memphis (Tenn.); Universities and colleges--Graduate work.; University of Memphis

01:22:30 - "Happenstances" in career experiences

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Partial Transcript: Any other, kind of, concluding thoughts, or...

Segment Synopsis: Bennett discusses the "happenstances" which led her into a graduate degree program in anthropology. She talks about why she chose anthropology as her subject to become a professor of, including how she enjoyed the terminology of the field. Bennett recalls another "happenstance," in which she became acquainted with the faculty at the American University to work on a multidisciplinary project.

Keywords: "Happenstances"; Anthropology professors; Applied anthropologists; Career decisions

Subjects: American University (Washington, D.C.); Anthropologists; Anthropology; Applied anthropology; Archaeology; Bennett, Linda A.; College teachers; Interviewing

01:28:29 - The future of applied anthropology

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Partial Transcript: Where do you see, from all your historical, you know, knowledge, um, experience, uh, the involvement that you've had on so many different levels in applied anthropology, where do you see this discipline, you know, going?

Segment Synopsis: Bennett discusses what she believes is the future of applied anthropology, which should involve modifying educational programs to prepare students for their professional lives. She believes anthropology departments should shift what they believe are "good" careers for their students.

Keywords: Academia; Anthropologists in corporations; Anthropology departments; Anthropology--Academia; Applied anthropologists

Subjects: Anthropologists; Anthropology; Applied anthropology; Bennett, Linda A.; Careers & opportunities