Author: Xygalatas Dimitris

UConn Anthropology Statement on the MOVE Bombing Case

In response to the realization that remains of victims from the 1985 MOVE bombing in Philadelphia were kept and used by anthropologists for a prolonged amount of time without consent from the victims’ family, the Department of Anthropology at the University of Connecticut supports the collective statement released by the Association of Black Anthropologists (ABA), the Society of Black Archaeologists (SBA), and the Black in Bioanthropology Collective (BiBA). We also reaffirm our commitment to the following, as laid out in our Black Lives Matter Solidarity Statement:

 

1)    Boldly and vocally addressing racism, injustice, and discrimination wherever it occurs in society, including within our discipline,

2)    Committing to practice anthropological research that is anti-racist and against all forms of discrimination, and

3)    Improving the lives of Native American, Black, Latinx, and other marginalized populations with whom we work.

 

Given the ongoing investigations into the practices of anthropologists at both the Penn Museum and Princeton University, the Department of Anthropology declares our solidarity with the surviving members of the Africa family.  We also take this opportunity to declare our explicit commitment to critically evaluating our own practices involving human remains. As a part of our department’s stated commitment to equity and anti-racist praxis, we acknowledge that the colonial legacies and historic practices of our field not only contributed to problematic racial hierarchies, but also resulted in the disproportionate representation of communities of color in museum and academic collections of human remains. The history of enslavement in the United States particularly implicates Anthropology and its contribution to the exhibition of Black bodies and narratives of anti-Blackness. We therefore declare our commitment to:

 

1)    Create space for dialogues about both the histories and ongoing issues in our field with regards to racism and anti-Blackness, and

2)    Develop more explicit departmental guidelines to ensure the ethical and respectful treatment of all human remains, including engagement with families, descendent communities, and other relevant stakeholders whenever possible.

Approved by the Department of Anthropology June 18, 2021.

Statement on recent acts of hatred

We are deeply disturbed that the individual arrested on April 29, 2021 for spray-painting anti-Semitic graffiti on a building at the University of Connecticut was a major in the department of Anthropology. We condemn this individual’s act in the strongest terms. Such acts go against the core values of our department and our anthropological community and cannot be tolerated. We reaffirm our commitment to anti-racist pedagogy, as declared in our solidarity statement with Black Lives Matter (https://anthropology.uconn.edu/2020/07/07/solidarity-with-black-lives-matter/) and our dedication to educating and empowering UConn students to become agents of change in our collective struggle for a just future. 

Solidarity with Black Lives Matter

UConn Department of Anthropology Solidarity Statement with Black Lives Matter

The Department of Anthropology of the University of Connecticut joins the UConn community in proclaiming Black Lives Matter. We stand with the Black community against systemic racism and ongoing police brutality. We mourn with the family, friends, and communities of Black people who have lost their lives to racism and police violence, including George Floyd, David McAtee, Atatiana Jefferson, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, Kathryn Johnston, Ayiana Stanley-Jones, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Alton Sterling, Freddie Gray, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, John Crawford III, Oscar Grant, and countless others whose names are not as well known. We also recognize that the Black community, along with Latinx and Native American communities, are disproportionately burdened by the COVID-19 pandemic because of the long and ongoing history of structural racism.

We commit to being strong and vocal allies who confront racism, injustice, and discrimination wherever it occurs in society, including within our discipline. We commit to practice anthropological research that is anti-racist and against all forms of discrimination and to work to improve the lives of Native American, Black, Latinx, and other marginalized populations with whom we work. And we reaffirm our commitment to anti-racist pedagogy as we dedicate ourselves to educating and empowering UConn students to become agents of change in our collective struggle for a just future.

Our department will take action immediately by assembling an anti-racism curriculum of anthropology courses for dissemination to the UConn student body and making race a mandatory topic for our Fall 2020 introductory courses. We pledge further action in the Fall semester by forming a committee of faculty and graduate students to identify and implement strategies to address racial disparity.  These strategies include, but are not limited to 1) reviewing and revising our course offerings and syllabi on race, racism, white supremacy, white privilege, and the experiences of Black people and other communities of color in the United States and globally, 2) increasing our recruitment of graduate and undergraduate students of color and making our department more welcoming to students from diverse backgrounds, 3) continuing our efforts to recruit and hire more faculty of color and providing them with mentorship to advance their careers and scholarship. We will disseminate an annual report on our efforts, recommendations, and outcomes on our department Web site and to the wider UConn community.

 

We endorse these statements from UConn’s Institutes/Centers:

Statement from Centers, Institutes and Programs on Racial Justice:

https://humanrights.uconn.edu/2020/06/05/statement-from-centers-institutes-and-programs-on-racial-justice/

 

Public Statement on Anti-Black Violence from Africana Studies Institute:

https://africana.uconn.edu/public-statement-on-anti-black-violence/

 

Joint Statement from the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center and Human Rights Institute:

https://humanrights.uconn.edu/2020/06/05/joint-statement-from-the-dodd-center-and-human-rights-institute/

 

In solidarity,

 

Department of Anthropology (Faculty, Graduate Students and Staff), University of Connecticut

July 3, 2020.

 

Anti-Racism Curriculum, Fall 2020

As part of the Department of Anthropology’s core commitment to educate and empower UConn students to become agents of change in our collective struggle for a more just future, we present our anti-racism curriculum for Fall 2020. Our 13 introductory and upper-division undergraduate and one graduate courses focus on or integrate critical components on race, anti-racism and related topics, including postcolonialism, social and health inequalities, power relations, hate speech, resistance, and social justice, among many others. We invite you to engage, contribute and become actors in overturning deeply entrenched race-based injustices.

 

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