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Professor Kottak has done ethnographic fieldwork in cultural anthropology in Brazil (since 1962), Madagascar (since 1966), and the United States. Conrad Kottak's articles have appeared in academic journals including American Anthropologist, Journal of Anthropological Research, American Ethnologist, Ethnology, Human Organization, and Luso-Brazilian Review. He has also written for more popular journals, including Transaction/SOCIETY, Natural History, Psychology Today, and General Anthropology.
In recent research projects, Kottak and his colleagues have investigated the emergence of ecological awareness in Brazil, the social context of deforestation in Madagascar, and popular participation in economic development planning in northeastern Brazil.
Recently, Kottak was inducted to The National Academy of Sciences. This is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare.