Public anthropologists, better framing solve big problems


Matt Gusmerotti

In this episode, Amanda Kowalski in fall 2020’s ANTH 405, Public Anthropology and Global Environmental Challenges, class at Colorado State University discusses the light that public anthropologists can shed on framing and how it can benefit all. The 2020 presidential debates sparked a question in Kowalski: Why are some big issues still not understood by the public? From climate change to chemicals, Kowalski describes the disconnect between academia and the public and how different framing of information can shape people’s worldviews. Kowalski examines two key ideals in American culture: Nature is separate from humans, and humans must control nature. So what happens when research collides with popular framing? What happens when previous framing assigns a negative stigma to a phrase or topic? And is there a way to work around established framing? Kowalski examines these questions and more.