Families and fieldwork: Navigating work-life balance

Day/time: Saturday, April 14, 12:15 PM – 2:15 PM. Room: Texas 5/6. Organizers: Jennifer Danzy Cramer (American Public University System), Kerry M. Dore (Baylor University), Stephanie Spehar (University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh), Katherine Amato (Northwestern University). Maximum attendance: 30

 For many physical anthropologists, fieldwork is an important milestone during graduate education and an ongoing career expectation for advancement. Fieldwork has special logistic challenges for parent scholars, including coordinating school and childcare arrangements, health considerations, and limited communication with home while in the field.  Separately, the academy and family are both demanding commitments competing for significant time and energy.  This creates a challenge for parents trying to balance both, especially at the sensitive early career stage. Studies examining the attrition of early career women scientists suggest complex causes of the leaky pipeline, ranging from a conflict between academic work and family to unsupportive institutional policies and an inflexible academic culture.

This discussion panel will bring together parent physical anthropologists of different genders and career stages to discuss strategies to stay engaged in the field.  Panelists will discuss their experiences in making decisions to have a family, bringing their family to the field, going to the field alone, navigating challenges with childcare and family support at home or overseas, and temporarily or permanently altering their fieldwork to fit better with their family and personal priorities.  The goal of this panel is to openly discuss issues relating to early career attrition for parents, especially women scholars, and offer mentorship, solutions, and a community of support within our society.

This workshop is designed primarily for students, early career AAPA members who are interested in issues of work-life balance.