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Seeking Abstracts for SfAA 2020 Session: Interdisciplinary Urban Research

Interdisciplinary urban research: Reflections on folding in anthropological perspectives and knowledge into urban agendas 

Interdisciplinary research and collaboration is an emerging trend within the field of applied anthropology. Researchers in this group often position themselves between the voices of marginalized communities and the grant agencies and academic research groups that hired them, as they set out to be integral parts of teams aiming to address social concerns. Such collaborations often include those between anthropologists and lab scientists, activists, community members, and leaders of non-profit groups. These working relationships speak to the importance of establishing inclusive and sustainable methods in applied anthropology. However, collaboration on issues that require multifocal perspectives can be difficult due to differences in work styles, end goals, and a lack of rubric on how researchers at various stages of experience can best participate on such projects.  This session will explore a variety of research models that have sought to demonstrate multidisciplinary inclusion. The session will address the efficacy of conducting these projects in various contextual settings, including urban, community, and academic, while also exploring questions such as: what are and have been the main challenges, possibilities and limitations of multi- and trans-disciplinary work? How can social scientists best navigate the roles of doing meaningful collaborative work. How can anthropologists work to recognize the needs of larger projects while tending to the communities they conduct their research in?

About the session chairs: This session will be chaired by an interdisciplinary research group from the T-RUST (NSF-NRT) program at Wayne State University in Detroit. The T-RUST program was created with the goal of bringing together academic researchers in order to tackle urban sustainability issues. Session chairs' backgrounds include anthropology, engineering, and pharmacology. The session seeks to discuss the inner-workings of these research groups and best practices on how to collaborate on urban challenges. 

Please contact: Colleen Linn (colleen.linn@wayne.edu) if interested, or for further questions. 

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