UConn Anthropology Statement on the MOVE Bombing Case

June 23, 2021

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

April 30, 2021

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. 

Richard A. Wilson named Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor

April 29, 2021

Dr. Richard Ashby Wilson has been selected as one of 5 faculty members to be honored as Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor. In addition to being a professor with the Department of Anthropology, Wilson serves as the Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Intellectual Life in the School of Law, a Professor of Law, and is the Gladstein Distinguished Chair of Human Rights.

Each year, the Office of the Provost seeks nominations from across UConn for the newest cohort of Board of Trustees Distinguished Professors. Candidates must excel in all three areas of research, teaching, and public engagement. Honorees retain the title of Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor throughout their career at UConn and also receive a $2,500 one-year stipend to be used by each recipient to further their professional activities.

You can learn more about Dr. Wilson’s accomplishments and the other nominees here

Interdisciplinary Conference co-organized by Françoise Dussart

April 1, 2021

The Design and Research for Healthy Communities and Healthcare Facilities conference, organized by UConn Anthropology professor Françoise Dussart and Sohyun Park from the Department of Plant Science & Landscape Architecture at UConn will be held on May 17, 2021 from 9:00am to 4:15pm. This Interdisciplinary Virtual Conference draws attention to the historical and contemporary contexts within which healthy communities and healthcare facilities-related projects get realized as well as how their performances and outcomes are measured. In a pandemic era, conference presenters explore how issues of class, gender, ethnicity, and age contribute intellectually and literally shaping designs and their execution. Drawing on theoretical frameworks and empirical observations, presenters explore insights and questions which arise through cross-disciplinary dialogues, and examine how social and identity politics shape the architecture of care and are working to build better healing spaces. This conference is supported by the Humanities Institute, the Office of the Vice President for Research, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources Department of Anthropology, Department of Plant Science & Landscape Architecture, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Connecticut.

 

For more information on this conference and how to register for this free event, click here.

2021 Field School in Contact Period & Battlefield Archaeology

March 29, 2021

The University of Connecticut will offer a field school in Contact Period & Battlefield Archaeology focused on sites associated with the Pequot War of 1636-1637. The 2021 UConn field school will be based at the UConn Storrs campus with fieldwork taking place at Mystic (Groton), Connecticut from May 24, 2021 to July 2, 2021. The 6-week, 6-credit field school will include training in standard archaeological field survey and excavation, artifact conservation, household shell midden analysis, cataloguing, identification and analysis of 17th Century material culture and analysis of primary sources. Training will also be provided in research and field methods specific to battlefield archaeology including use of military terrain models, metal detecting survey, and GPS/GIS applications.

Click here for more information about the field school, and contact Dr. Kevin McBride for an application.

 

ANTH 3028W student Shanelle Jones wins honorable mention

March 12, 2021

Undergraduate student Shanelle Jones in ANTH 3028w: Indigenous Rights and Aboriginal Australia received an Honorable Mention for the Aetna Writing in the Disciplines Awards in the social sciences division for her paper “Sexual Violence among First Nations in the USA: Boarding School Rape, Sexual Exploitation, and Child Trafficking”.

The Aetna Writing in the Disciplines Awards recognize exemplary academic writing by undergraduate students across the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and professional schools. You can learn more about this award and view current and past recipients at this link. Congratulations Shanelle! 

Graduate Student Christina Balentine to present current research

January 14, 2021

UConn Anthropology Graduate student, Christina Balentine, will be giving an exciting online public talk entitled “How humans thrive in extreme environments” for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History on January 21 at 10.30 am.

Description:

When you think of superheroes, Wonder Woman, Spiderman, and the X-Men might come to mind. But do you ever think of yourself? Thanks to cultural innovations and genetic adaptation by natural selection, we humans rise to our own super abilities to thrive in seemingly intolerable environments all over the world: at extremely high altitudes in the Himalayas; in freezing cold in the Arctic; and in toxic, arsenic-rich regions in the Andes Mountains, to name just a few. Christina Balentine, an anthropological geneticist and PhD Candidate at the University of Texas at Austin, will share her research on the topic and answer your questions as you learn about our own superhuman abilities

Please click this link for more information and instructions to register for FREE!

(description provided by Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History)