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Revitalizing Applied Anthropology

85th Annual Meeting
March 25-29, 2025
Hilton Portland Downtown
Portland, OR

The SfAA Annual Meeting provides an invaluable opportunity for scholars, practicing social scientists, and students from a variety of disciplines and organizations to discuss their work and brainstorm for the future. It is more than just a conference: it’s a rich place to trade ideas, methods, and practical solutions, as well as enter the lifeworld of other professionals. SfAA members come from a variety of disciplines -- anthropology, sociology, economics, business, planning, medicine, nursing, law, and other related social/behavioral sciences. Make 2025 the year you’ll spend a few days presenting, learning, and networking in Portland, OR, with the SfAA.


Revitalizing Applied Anthropology

The history of applied anthropology is substantial and storied. Although peppered with occasional missteps, since its inception most of anthropology’s practitioners have been committed to rendering a better world for its many and diverse inhabitants through the application of their work. The Society for Applied Anthropology has long provided a gathering place for an interdisciplinary mix of scholars and practitioners from diverse backgrounds, from different academic traditions, from different cultural contexts, and from heterodox ideological vantage points. This diversity has been our strength, and has been central to applied anthropology’s identity. As we gather in Portland to discuss our current research and consider how to better advance our work, we foremost seek to cultivate a veneration for the achievements of those who came before us — to praise the inspiring practitioners and traditions of a disciplinary legacy dedicated to convening practicing and academic social scientists together. And in that legacy, we hope to discern and convey the magic at the heart of the discipline that draws us together.

In our history there are mistakes and missteps that we know well, and from which we have learned much. When we meet in Portland, we hope to revitalize and expand the story we tell ourselves about ourselves by turning our attention to the high points of our disciplinary history. We encourage contributors to make that legacy more explicit, and, where possible, to illuminate the connections between the present and our past. The meeting will be anchored by a series of organized sessions that convene our venerated and most senior anthropologists to speak to that legacy. We encourage the organizers of other sessions to similarly endeavor to discern how our past has contributed to the capacities we will deploy moving forward.

In the wake of the pandemic, and with uncertainties pervading the future of academia, we will use our time together to coalesce a stronger and more coherent narrative for our tradition, and one that speaks to the strengths of the legacy stewarded by the Society for Applied Anthropology. How can we build on disciplinary foundations to position applied anthropology at the vanguard of social scientific activity? How can the Society for Applied Anthropology better serve as the juncture where the practice of anthropology informs the discipline’s intellectual core? How might we best navigate a tenuous academic future? What can we discern from the emergence and practice of the applied social sciences in varied global settings outside the United States?

The 2025 annual meeting will be held in Portland, Oregon. A city bursting with energy, Portland is an urban hub in the vibrant and cosmopolitan Pacific Rim, and has long been at the vanguard of urban sustainability movements in the United States. Itself an ethnically diverse city, Portland also anchors a region rich with indigenous cultures and traditions, and was an important site for the discipline’s coming-of-age. We hope you can join us in Portland!

Program Chair: Andrew Gardner, Univ. of Puget Sound (
Annual Meeting and Awards Coordinator: Don Stull (
Society for Applied Anthropology ( 405-843-5113



The Society for Applied Anthropolgy has invited cognate professional associations to join as co-sponsors in the Annual Meeting. Those groups who have accepted the invitation are now working actively with the Program Chair on the content of the sessions. The groups include:

The Applied Anthropology Network (AAN) is the main European platform dedicated to the exchange of information and experiences related to practical applications of anthropology and ethnography. The network enables a circular transfer of knowledge between academia, private and public sectors, NGOs, interest groups, students and other individuals. The network is part of the European Association for Social Anthropologists (EASA)

The Association for Anthropology, Gerontology, and the Life Course (AAGE) was established in 1978 as a multidisciplinary group dedicated to the exploration and understanding of aging within and across the diversity of human cultures. Our perspective is holistic, comparative, and international. Our members come from a variety of academic and applied fields, including the social and biological sciences, nursing, medicine, policy studies, social work, and service provision.

The Council on Nursing and Anthropology (CONAA) is an organization that brings together nurses, anthropologists and others interested in understanding and promoting the health of peoples and cultures around the world through research and practice innovations. Common interests of CONAA members are basic and applied health research, improved health care for vulnerable populations, and encouraging cultural and social justice content in education and research. CONAA holds yearly business meetings at SfAA followed by informal receptions for networking and mutual support. For more information about CONAA, visit

Consortium of Practicing & Applied Anthropologists (COPAA) is an independent consortium of university departments and programs, practitioners, and organizations that provide education and training in applied and practicing anthropology. Our mission is to advance the education and training of students, faculty, and practitioners in applied anthropology.

The Culture & Agriculture (C&A) Section of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) aims to develop the study and understanding of agrarian systems from a holistic, social science perspective, and to link academics and practitioners concerned with agrarian issues, agricultural development, and agricultural systems through dissemination of scientific research, encouragement of effective instruction, and to encourage application of knowledge to public policy.

Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Community (EPIC) promotes the use of ethnographic principles to create business value and brings conceptual leadership and practical skills to the problems and opportunities faced by organizations, markets, and society. EPIC people draw on the immense expertise of our global community to learn, connect, and develop as professionals, amplifying our impact together. We are practitioners who work to ensure that innovation, strategies, processes, and products are anchored in deep understandings of people and their everyday lives. Our community hails from all kinds of organizations and industries—technology corporations, product and service companies, a range of consultancies, universities and design schools, government and NGOs, and research institutes. EPIC people draw on tools and resources from the social sciences, humanities, data analytics, design, agile, scenario planning and other approaches to realize value for business and communities.

The National Association for the Practice of Anthropology (NAPA) promotes human-centered work applied to practical problems by linking a network of professional anthropologists working across employment sectors.  We support all anthropologists in bringing real solutions to communities, organizations, and policymakers, by offering advocacy, information, networks, mentoring, and continuing education.

The Political Ecology Society (PESO) has as its object the promotion of interdisciplinary scientific investigation of the political and economic principles controlling the relations of human beings to one another and to the environment. As part of its efforts to meet these goals, PESO supports the publication of the Journal of Political Ecology, a peer reviewed electronic journal that publishes articles and reviews in English, French, and Spanish.

The Society for Anthropological Sciences (SAS) was organised to promote empirical research and social science in anthropology. The members of SAS want to further the development of anthropological science as empirical knowledge based on testable theory, sound research design and systematic methods for the collection and analysis of data. We seek to fulfill the historic mission of anthropology to describe and explain the range of variation in human biology, society, and culture across time and space. 

The Society for Medical Anthropology (SMA), formed in 1967 and incorporated into the American Anthropological Association (AAA) in 1971, is dedicated to the profession and practice of medical anthropology, which uses concepts and methods from anthropology to produce new understandings of health, disease, illness, treatment, and care. Open for membership worldwide, the SMA brings together medical anthropology graduate students, practicing anthropologists, scholars, and scholar activists. The SMA includes a number of special interest groups organized to advance endeavors – including policy-related initiatives as well as research and teaching – on topics and priorities identified by these groups. The SMA publishes the journal Medical Anthropology Quarterly and offers venues for members to present their research at conferences.

The Washington Association of Professional Anthropologists (WAPA) is one of the oldest and largest regional organizations of professional anthropologists in the world today. Founded in 1976, WAPA serves as a professional and social resource, and a career development center for anthropologists seeking to apply their knowledge and skills to practical problems for the betterment of society.

Program Committee

2025 Program Committee

Program Chair

Andrew Gardner
Univ. of Puget Sound

Annual Meeting Coordinator

Donald Stull

Program Committee​​​​

©Society for Applied Anthropology 

P.O. Box 2436 • Oklahoma City, OK 73101 • 405.843.5113 •