Interview with Mike Orbach, July 10, 2015

Project: Society for Applied Anthropology Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Orbach gives a brief personal history and discusses how he came to enter the study of anthropology, noting the fledgling status of the social sciences department at UC Irvine. Orbach discusses his years in graduate school at UC San Diego. He discusses how his adviser gave him free reign to explore applied anthropology topics, when most work in the discipline at that point was more theoretical. Orbach relates an amusing story about how he came to research the tuna fishing industry of California. He discusses his years after completing graduate school, both his first year of teaching as well as his entry into public anthropology and policy making in Washington D.C.

Orbach discusses his return to the academic profession after working in Washington. In holding teaching positions at both UC Santa Cruz and East Carolina University, Orbach was able to balance teaching with continued service in creating state marine policy. He describes a project he undertook involving lobster fishers of American and Cuban nationality off the Florida coast. He finds this project particularly memorable for its perfect sequence of research and policy implementation, which he believes to be key in applied anthropology. Orbach discusses the applied anthropologist's role as an advocate, which he believes is an essential part of the profession, but one that must be acted on cautiously, so as not to compromise the integrity of research, analysis, and policy implementation. He talks about his work after leaving Duke University, which consisted mainly of high-level administration positions for private environmental justice groups around the world. Orbach speaks generally on the field of anthropology, what it has taught him, and the uses it can offer to aspiring students.

Interview Accession

2015oh506_sfaa117

Interviewee Name

Mike Orbach

Interviewer Name

Carrie Pomeroy

Interview Date

2015-07-10

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Orbach, Mike Interview by Carrie Pomeroy. 10 Jul. 2015. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Orbach, M. (2015, July 10). Interview by C. Pomeroy. Society for Applied Anthropology Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Orbach, Mike, interview by Carrie Pomeroy. July 10, 2015, Society for Applied Anthropology Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt7cvd6p2k61