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NAPA 20th Anniversary Retrospective

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Title: NAPA 20th Anniversary Retrospective


1
NAPA 20th Anniversary Retrospective
  • American Anthropological Association Annual
    Meeting
  • Robert T. Trotter, II
  • Northern Arizona University

2
Various Actions
3
My First Presidents Speech Started with the
PhraseActions Speak Louder Than Words
  • I want to thank Ed Liebow for the opportunity
    given to all of us to reflect on NAPAs past and
    progress, and to Elizabeth Briody for convieghing
    these somewhat ironic words from me to you. I
    apologize for not being at the meetings, but the
    apology is tempered by a late breaking
    opportunity to be involved in a project that has
    the potential to accomplish some important work.
  • I had the privilege of being president of NAPA
    during one of its early transitional phase, and
    felt the what we did at that time was more
    important that what we said, so I started off my
    first Presidential address with these words.

4
Actions and Words
  • During the time I was NAPA president, the
    organization was in one of its early growth
    transitions, with lots of talent, lots of energy,
    and considerable vision. The predominant theme
    was
  • Applied Anthropology The fifth subdiscipline
  • All of the NAPA board worked very hard during
    this time to establish the credibility of NAPA
    through both word and deed.

5
External Actions
  • NAPA has had two important roles and audiences
    since its inception part of our job has been to
    convince others that anthropological theory and
    practice are valuable, and part has been to
    convince ourselves. of the same things.
  • Part of the irony of my actions speak louder
    than words aphorism is that there has been a
    steady, sometimes even rapid growth in the
    credibility of applied anthropology outside of
    anthropology. People are convinced we can act
    effectively and are asking us for help. We have
    provided that help in virtually every important
    area of human need, from health to education to
    industry to economy to political action.

6
Internal Words
  • At the same time, our internal image and impact
    has often been more difficult to establish.
  • During my Presidency, we had a designated
    position on the AAA Board of directors. That
    forum provided a very important base for
    maintaining the credibility and actions of NAPA,
    for establishing ourselves and our actions, and
    sucessfully using that position for a number of
    years to establish programs, identify, and
    credibility.
  • At the same time, we faced ignorance, distain,
    some hostility, a lot of skeptacism, some
    theoretical prejudice, and quite a bit of
    obliviousness from the bulk of the AAA
    membership. Since those are exactly the same
    conditions we encounter other places, we used
    applied anthropology and our knowledge of the
    needs and interests of our membership to create
    actions. These took the form of workshops, not
    just sessions, events, not just speaches, and
    support services, not just memberships.
  • In my opinion, we have always been more
    intereseted in getting things done than we have
    in talking about the things that others have
    done. One of the consequences has been for NAPA
    and its membership to have more of an impact
    outside of the AAA, than inside. And, in my
    opinion, that may actually be the correct
    balance.

7
The Things we have done right
  • The internal external tensions of applied
    anthropology have actually been very beneficial
    to NAPA. It has caused us to focus on getting
    things done, rather than just talking about what
    has gone wrong, and what needs to be changed.
  • At the same time, the balance and need for action
    has changed and some of our old actions no longer
    apply, and we need some new ones.
  • We need to look more to the present and future of
    our membership, than to the past. Ignoring the
    past is dangerous. Getting stuck in it is deadly.
  • Consequently, I will keep this retrospective
    brief. The organization has always been
    responsive and current, and has dealt with the
    issues of the day in appropriate and effective
    ways. I dont see any evidence that that will not
    continue into the forseeable future.
  • Actions actually do speak louder than words.

8
Many ThanksFewer Words
  • I want to thank NAPA and everyone I have been
    associated with for the opportunities to engage
    in actions on behalf of the organization, and to
    say a few words about it. I have unfortunately
    belonged to organizations that are all talk, no
    action. NAPA on the other hand has both a history
    and a future of getting on with the important
    things, putting peoples hands and hearts where
    they mouths are also engaged.
  • I am sorry to not be present for the celebration,
    and especially will miss the opportunity to see
    my friends. Thanks for the opportunity to talk
    while also engaging in a few actions.
  • Bob Trotter
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