Caption: Dr. Stanley E. Hyland
Photo credit: University of Memphis
Stanley E. Hyland to Receive 2012 Solon T. Kimball Award for Public and Applied Anthropology, American Anthropological Association
Dr. Stanley E. Hyland, Professor of Anthropology, University of Memphis, and Head, School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy, is the 2012 recipient of the Solon T. Kimball Award for Public and Applied Anthropology. The award is in recognition of his contributions to the development of public policy aimed at issues of poverty and social inequalities in Memphis, Tennessee, and the Mid-South region and his intertwined contributions to the development of anthropology as an applied science through what Professor Hyland calls “an ecological approach to policy change”.
The City of Memphis and its adjacent eight county area rank as the nation’s most impoverished large metropolitan area (U.S. Census Bureau). According to one nominator, his work is characterized by “… an overall vision of the importance of involving persons who live in poverty in the conceptualization, design and development, as well as implementation of potential solutions to the many challenges urban residents face within their communities,” adding that he “…has been nothing short of ingenious in his energetic pursuit of ways and means to connect with persons living in poverty and to bring their voices into public policy processes.
Hyland is an exemplar of the Participatory Action Research (PAR) approach in applied anthropology in the view of another nominator, who also pointed out that Hyland’s contributions to community development and policy change have centered on the development and advancement of African American communities in the greater Memphis area and the Mississippi delta, fostering university community engagement in Memphis, and furthering the development of relevant anthropological theory and practice.
Committed to the position that poverty reform must involve change in how major organizations and agencies involve residents in the articulation of approaches to poverty, Hyland has worked closely with City of Memphis’ governmental entities including the Housing Authority (MHA) and the Division of Housing and Community (DHC), organizations like the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis and the United Way of the Mid-South among others, and his own university as it has transformed itself into a positive force for change in its own urban neighborhood. Among Hyland’s contributions are helping design a transparent community process to transform the MHA in collaboration with the MHA Director that led to the MHA’s removal from HUD’s troubled authority list in 1995 that in turn led to the funding of several HOPE VI grants designed to attack deplorable living conditions in public housing; work with the Urban Child Institute-Memphis that led to new collaborative efforts to increase youth involvement in their local communities; and responding to the U of Memphis’ new Community Initiatives Focus Area by becoming coordinator of research and outreach efforts in the seven neighborhoods adjacent to the university. This last effort led to collaborative efforts under the University Neighborhood Partnership (UNP) between 2005-2011 that produced the first urban design overlay which has now become the model for land use planning in all Memphis neighborhoods. Hyland frequently serves on community boards and commissions. Current examples include the Urban Child Institute, Memphis Landmarks Commission, and the Memphis Urban Land Institute. His work has been recognized by his university, Memphis organizations, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Hyland’s contributions to applied anthropology theory and practice on various aspects of community development are detailed in more than twenty publications in peer reviewed journals, (e.g., Hyland & Maurette (2010), Developing Poverty Reform Efforts in the Memphis Region: Lessons for an Engaged Anthropology, Urban Anthropology, 39(3): 213-264), and his well-regarded 2005 edited volume Community Building in the 21st Century (Hyland & Owens, Santa Fe: School of American Research Advanced Seminar Series).
The University of Memphis Department of Anthropology’s applied anthropology two year masters degree model of engaged students placed in internships in local, regional, and national organizations who get hired, then move up in management, and in turn provide opportunities for other students has been a successful model. The approach means that the department “…has both staffed and partnered with so many institutions and organizations in the Mid-South and other parts of the country…” that “’anthropology’ is not a ‘strange’ word in Memphis; community leaders recognize what anthropology is through the work carried out by our alumni.” Hyland’s nominators point out that he did not work alone to achieve what he has –he has had many collaborators, colleagues and students, but in the words of one of his nominators, “Stan…unquestionably set the foundation for its development. Throughout his career he has demonstrated the tremendous potential of such a model for having a positive impact on policy in the Mid-South region.”
The Solon T. Kimball Award for Public and Applied Anthropology was initiated by royalties from Applied Anthropology in America (Elizabeth M. Eddy and William L. Partridge, eds., 1978), a volume dedicated to Solon Kimball. The award honors outstanding achievements in the development of anthropology as an applied science. The award has been presented every other year since 1984 at the American Anthropological Association annual meeting. It offers an opportunity to honor exemplary anthropologists for outstanding achievements in applied science that have also had important impacts on public policy. Professor Hyland was presented with the award at the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association in San Francisco, CA, November 15, 2012.