The Architecture of Life: Anthropology and Truehome

The Architecture of Life - Christopher K. Travis

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Anthropology and Truehome

I finally finished my presentation for the panel I am joining at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association in San Francisco.

Our panel does is led by Dori Tunstall, Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Dori works in design antropology. While cramming the last few days for the event, I discovered that some of the things I do with my clients are techniques used by anthropologists. So that is a relief.

I have not had a course in anthropology since I was a freshman in college, so I was bit intimidated being the only non-anthropologist on the panel.

But I expect it will be just fine...except for one thing. Our panel's presentation is entitled somewhat formidably "Engaging in Transdisciplinary Praxis: Comparative Questions, Assumptions, Methods and Evidence of Anthropology's Disciplinary Interlocutors."

Ever notice how academics sometimes go out of their way to make it hard to understand what they are talking about?

Dori's panel is going to talk about how different disciplines approach similar problems in terms of theory, by using a method created by Alan Barnard in his book, History and Theory in Anthropology. Barnard's framework says theories can be broken down into four pieces: questions, assumption, methods, and evidence (QAME).

So I had to squeeze the theory that informs my Truehome process, which basically deals with questions like "what is a home" and "what is a human being" and "how do you design a home to fit a human being" into 25 slides.

Anyone who knows me will consider that a miracle. I am not known as "a man of few words."

Given there are a lot of other people out there that don't know what the heck I am talking about due to my innate verbosity, I will share it with you. You can find the link on here.

Our panel starts at 8AM on Saturday the 22nd. I hope those anthropologists don't stay up too late partying. It's a lot more fun to play to a full house. In any case, see you guys in San Francisco!