Training in anthropology and history offers graduates the opportunity to work in a number of academic and professional fields, including teaching, research, museum studies, cultural resource management, and historic preservation. Individuals may also work contractually for the private sector or with tribal and federal organizations. In the subsections below, I have provided some general areas of employment for individuals with academic training in these areas.
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Often many graduates take their experiences in history and anthropology to the field of education. Elementary, Secondary, and Higher Education offer graduates many opportunities to share their knowledge with others. It is important to state that although teaching is very rewarding, it too requires a lot of dedication and commitment, not only to your research, but to your students as well.
Cultural Resource Management and Historic Preservation
A large number of anthropologists and historians work outside of education in the fields of historic preservation and cultural resource management (CRM). CRM work and historic preservation (consisting of Tribal, Federal, State, and private agencies and interest groups) differ greatly from academic anthropology and history. This is important to note when choosing a path to follow (for a brief discussion about these differences, see my book chapter “Okay, so how do I reallystudy ceramics? Understanding the Praxis of Archaeological Ceramic Research” in Research Realitiesin the Social Sciences: Negotiating Fieldwork Dilemmas Cambria Press, Amherst, NY, 2010.
In 2007-2008, I worked for the Seminole Tribe of Florida-Tribal Historic Preservation Office, a federal office run by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which oversaw historical and archaeological fieldwork in the Southeastern United States on tribal reservations and fee lands. In this photo, my team and I were conducting research at an archaeological site named Fort Shackelford, located on the Big Cypress Seminole Reservation. (Photo taken in 2008 by J. Cancel, Big Cypress Seminole Reservation, Clewiston, Florida).
Many graduates work in the field of museum studies. Work in museums can be very rewarding. It allows you the opportunity to get up close and personal with artifacts and archival materials. Access to such items gives you the ability to reconstruct the past as well as interpret sites for others. (Photo taken in 2009 by author at the University of Florida-Florida Museum of Natural History- J.C. Dickinson Hall Research Center in Gainesville, Florida.)
Academic and Professional Field Research
Field research is one of the most exciting branches of professional and academic research; however, working in the field is very hard and demanding and it takes a lot of planning and funding to be completed. Very few graduates get the opportunity to conduct their own research projects; however, as previously mentioned, many have the ability to work for others in the professional field of CRM and historic preservation. Working in the field allows you to make tangible connections between the material culture of a site and the various peoples occupying it.
The photo above was taken at the site of Mayapan, one of the last known capitals of the Maya before the arrival of the Spanish. The carved face behind me is that of Chac, the Maya god of rain, considered to be one of the principal deities of the precolumbian and modern Maya. (Photo taken in 2006 by author in Mayapan, Yucatan, Mexico).