Dr. Dimitris Xygalatas, associate professor for UConn Anthropology, provides important cultural insight from his research on how rituals are even more important during the 2020 holiday season. In a recent interview with The Atlantic, Xygalatas explains how rituals “help us alleviate anxiety and they help to increase social connection”. This is no exception during the 2020 season, as he writes that rituals “help us maintain a sense of structure and control in our lives, and this can allow us to overcome some of the stressors of
daily life”. He also writes how “through the use of symbolic markers (e.g. wearing the same clothes), the alignment of movements and behaviors (e.g. collective singing), and appeals to tradition, they create a sense of unity and belonging that all humans crave.”.
As this year comes to a close, it is clear that rituals are more needed then ever. In an interview with The Guardian, Dr. Xygalatas says “Research shows that when we spend money on experiences, rather than material stuff, we feel happier,”. He also states that “The reason behind this is that we enjoy the experience, and afterwards we enjoy the memories of it, but we also enjoy the anticipation. I think this is the part that applies to holiday rituals. Given this situation of increased anxiety, this feeling of anticipation and all the preparations give us something to do which is meaningful.”. In an interview with The New York Times, Dr. Xygalatas talks about how the current situation impacts the necessity of rituals, “This is precisely the time where we need these rituals or traditions more than ever, and it’s exactly the time where we can’t have them. It creates a lot of extra anxiety”.
Graduate students in the Department of Anthropology have collaboratively prepared the following letter, which calls for deep and urgent attention to the colonial legacies and ongoing reality of systemic racism in the field of anthropology, at UConn, and “at home” within the department itself. The letter includes a series of action items that the department has begun to engage as individuals, through the newly created Diversity Committee, and in the Department as a whole.
The University of Connecticut’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences invites applications for four positions at the level of Assistant Professor as part of a cluster hire in the Environment and Human Interactions. This initiative also includes two appointments at the Associate or Full Professor level. The Department of Anthropology is particularly interested in candidates whose research, teaching, activism, and community engagement activities are inherently inter-disciplinary and address specific drivers of human impacts of climate change, as well as the environmental impacts of current human behavior at local and global scales. Focus areas could include community-level disaster preparedness strategies, risk assessment and vulnerability to natural hazards, environmental links with our planet’s health, natural resource management, environmental injustice, and/or long-term environmental sustainability.
This cluster hire promotes meaningful engagement among physical, natural and social scientists through the potential for collaborative teaching, research, and outreach initiatives. Individuals should have research and teaching interests focused on one or more of the following areas: Analytical/Environmental Chemistry, Marine Sciences/Oceanography, Geography, Environmental Anthropology, Environmental Politics and Sustainability, Environmental Policy, and/or Environmental Inequalities and Justice. The successful candidate will be expected to establish and maintain a strong program of research and publication. Applicants may be hired in the following departments: Anthropology, Chemistry, Geography, Marine Sciences, Political Science, Public Policy, and/or Sociology.
For more information and instructions on how to apply at the Assistant Professor level please visit: https://academicjobsonline.org/ajo/jobs/17334
For more information and instructions on how to apply at the Associate or Full Professor level please visit: https://academicjobsonline.org/ajo/jobs/17339
Evaluation of applicants will begin December 15, 2020 and applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Any questions regarding this position should be directed to one of the co-chairs of the hiring committee: Eric Brunner (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Julie Granger (email@example.com).
UConn Anthropology faculty member Dr. Haile Eshe Cole’s research was recently featured on UConn Today. Dr. Cole’s research centers around how
racism negatively impacts the maternal health of black women. You can learn more about her research here: https://today.uconn.edu/2020/11/uconn-researcher-works-address-racisms-deadly-impact-black-mothers-babies/ or by enrolling in her Spring 2021 course titled: AFRA/ANTH 3320 Race, Culture, and Reproductive Health.
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:
Public Statement on Anti-Black Violence from Africana Studies Institute:
Joint Statement from the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center and Human Rights Institute:
Department of Anthropology (Faculty, Graduate Students and Staff), University of Connecticut
July 3, 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.