Committee on Diversity and Equity (CODE)

Committee on Diversity and Equity (CODE)-Department of Anthropology, university of louisville

Department of Anthropology Statement on Racial Justice July 2020

Black Lives Matter

The faculty of the UofL Department of Anthropology support the critical work currently being done to pursue racial justice within our community and condemn the violence of institutions and individuals that devalue, disparage, or dehumanize Black lives. As Anthropologists, practicing members of a discipline with its own complex and contradictory relationship with racial ideologies, we stand with this inspiring racial justice work. 

The discipline of Anthropology has been deeply embedded in colonial processes around the world. We acknowledge that Anthropologists have helped to create racial ideologies predicated upon the dehumanization of people of color and indigenous peoples. In the past, strains of Anthropology have created or reproduced timeless “others,” often upon racialized grounds,  crafting and reinforcing divisions not only of cultural difference but of hierarchy. It is important to acknowledge this history and equally critical to continue the decades-long efforts, pioneered substantially by Anthropologists of color, to actively reshape our discipline into one of decolonization and liberation.

We are committed in our work, in our interactions, and in our lives to support racial justice, and are currently developing a series of shared actions. We want the work we do for racial justice to have tangible consequences. We will continue to take actions to decolonize and decanonize our syllabi and curricula in order to make Black lives visible and Black voices audible, and will undertake outreach, engage in intra- and inter-departmental work, build support for and with students, and re-assess our research agendas and citational practices. We will also support and help drive institutional changes toward dismantling the white supremacist structure of academia.

Through this statement we further affirm our support for our broad and diverse student body, community, and colleagues. We will continue to work for the department to be an affirming, safe, and just place for people who identify as BIPOC, LGBTQ+, people with all dis/abilities, and people with all forms of migration statuses.

This must be an ongoing process, one not only of internal but also external action. This statement is just a first step.

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Important resources and wider statements within the discipline:

  • Association of Black Anthropologists Statement Against Police Violence and Anti-Black Racism

   http://aba.americananthro.org/

  • American Anthropological Association Anti-BIPOC Racism Resources

   https://www.americananthro.org/ParticipateAndAdvocate/Landing.aspx?ItemNumber=25744

  • American Anthropological Association RACE project

   https://www.understandingrace.org/

  • American Association of Physical Anthropologists, An Open Letter to our Community in Response to Police Brutality Against African-Americans and a Call to Antiracist Action

   https://physanth.org/about/position-statements/open-letter-our-community-response-police-brutality-against-african-  americans-and-call-antiracist-action/

  • Society for American Archaeology, SAA Calls on Archaeologists to Confront Racial Injustice

   https://www.saa.org/quick-nav/saa-media-room/saa-news/2020/06/02/saa-joins-the-national-call-for-comprehensive-justice

  • Society for American Archaeology, Statement and Commitments from SAA Editors to Change the Underrepresentation of Black, Indigenous, and Other Scholars from Diverse Backgrounds in Our Publications

   https://www.saa.org/quick-nav/saa-media-room/saa-news/2020/07/01/statement-and-commitments-from-saa-editors-to-change-underrepresentation