"The Academic as Professional: Reaching the Right Audience"
Academics live in a professional world that is not well understood by others. Unsympathetic criticism of “the ivory tower” suggests that for much of the general public academic labor is seen as a luxury and as irrelevant to society’s problems. The speaker will argue that, in this discouraging atmosphere, the importance of public outreach lies in doing what anthropologists are actually supposed to do as a matter of course when they conduct fieldwork: making a real effort to understand the values, attitudes, and prejudices of their audiences. This is vitally important for the academic profession if it is not to be displaced by other institutions, but it also requires a rethinking of the way academic evaluate each other’s work and a return to qualitative criteria rather than the simple enumeration of achievements.