Max Carocci is the Editorial officer for the Anthropological Index Online (AIO), based at the British Museum. After studying Anthropology in Italy, Max came to London and did a part- time MA in Cultural Studies at University of East London. He then went on to do a PhD. at Goldsmiths and is currently working on a book based upon his fieldwork among gay Native Americans in San Francisco.


Before I became an anthropologist I had a background in fashion. I started as a shop assistant, became a buyer, and then became a display manager. Although I enjoyed fashion, it was really just a means of financing my studies in anthropology. Working in fashion has never directly influenced my work as an anthropologist, but it has helped me develop skills that I use to publicise my work in and has given me confidence in self management- how to show the best side of myself.

During my studies in Italy I became interested in Native American history and especially the land rights claims of Native North Americans who were lobbying the UN at the time. I later decided to focus my PhD research on communities of gay Native North Americans living with AIDS in New York and San Francisco.

For my PhD fieldwork I spent a long time working as a secretary and outreach worker for the US AIDS Prevention Agency. I did everything from cook and clean, answer phones, to moving boxes and handing out free condoms at rallies. All the time I was observing and interviewing the people I met and maintaining a continuity with their lives - going to the theatre with them, going to Pow-Wows, even accompanying them to reservations and meeting their families. It was an experience that changed me- an intense period where I made a lot of friends. I became quite attached to the people that I was researching their lives, and their families. During your fieldwork you begin to ask yourself the question: where does work end and my life begin?

Currently, I am writing research papers based on my fieldwork as well as managing the Anthropological Index Online (AIO). The AIO is a huge bibliographic database of articles written in the anthropology journals held at the British Museum. Researchers find it invaluable and it really demonstrates the wide scope of anthropology. I look after the team of indexers and edit the index. I also teach classes in Native North American Art at Birkbeck College and the museum.

I think that having an anthropology degree gives you the freedom to explore a wide range of career options. However, I do believe that studying anthropology takes a special kind of person. Most importantly, you have to have human empathy- to feel for humankind. You need to be humble to the limitations of your ability and know what anthropology can give you and what you can deal with. If you can be touched by the experiences and stories people tell you, then I think you can make their stories valuable to others beyond a particular group of individuals or community.