Introducing the Archaeology Centers Coalition

In response to urgent calls to address systemic racism in all spheres of institutional life, a group of archaeology centers based in the United States have come together to identify avenues for concrete change.  Since July, center directors and representatives have been meeting via Zoom to consider ways to move archaeology forward towards greater diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The initiative emerged out of conversations that began in the wake of the murder of George Floyd between the Society of Black Archaeologists (SBA), the Indigenous Archaeology Collective (IAC), the Wenner-Gren Foundation, SAPIENS, and the Cornell Institute of Archaeology and Material Studies (CIAMS).  In our search for effective strategies, it quickly became clear that archaeology centers have a fundamental role to play as key institutional loci of undergraduate recruitment, graduate student training, and faculty development.

The Archaeology Centers Coalition includes representatives from CIAMS, the Archaeological Research Facility at UC Berkeley, the Archaeological Research Center at UC Santa Cruz, the Andrew Fiske Memorial Center for Archaeological Research at UMass, Boston, the Columbia Center for Archaeology, the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA, the George Washington University Capitol Archaeological Institute, the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology at Brown University, the Peabody Institute of Archaeology at Phillips Academy Andover, the Stanford University Archaeology Center, the Scripps Center for Marine Archaeology at UC San Diego, the University of South Alabama Center for Archaeological Studies, and the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology at the University of Michigan.

The first initiative of this coalition is the development and support of a webinar series entitled “From the Margins to the Mainstream: Black and Indigenous Futures in Archaeology”. Beginning last July and continuing through April 2021, this webinar series seeks to reshape the stories that archaeology tells and who tells them. Key themes include monuments and memory, the archaeology of redress, and cultural stewardship.

The Archaeology Centers Coalition is also seeking to define avenues of impactful change in four key areas: curriculum and training, administration and finance, the culture of archaeology, and capacity building and community engagement. In the coming months, the group anticipates developing a series of recommendations on best practices for overcoming traditional barriers to inclusion. Through these conversations, the SBA, IAC, and Wenner-Gren will work with archaeology centers to help bring substantive change.

Watch Now: Migration through the Camera Lens: Ethnography, Film, and the Migration Crisis

On October 19th the New York Academy of Sciences hosted the lecture, “Migration through the Camera Lens: Ethnography, Film, and the Migration Crisis”. Watch it now.

Building on the long tradition of anthropological research in borderlands, questions of mobility have received heightened attention by scholars in recent years as migration crises make headline news. Alongside new works exploring the political and experiential elements of migration, some anthropologists are turning to filmmaking as an ideal ethnographic method for actively engaging migrant subjects in the research process, raising public awareness about the human rights of migrants, and building on existing theories of individual, group, and national identity construction in borderlands. Distinguished panelists will discuss their experiences documenting migration through the camera lens. Prior to the event, registered guests will have the opportunity to view Border South, which focuses its lens on the border space between the United States and Mexico, and selections from The Burning, which focuses on the southernmost borders to the European Union in North Africa; an email with the links and passwords to view the films will be sent to registered attendees 48 hours before the event. These films will set the stage for an engaging event on film as an ethnographic method, the ethics of doing research with migrant populations, and the politics of mobility in critical border regions with global health and humanitarian crises on the rise. Key questions center on how border crises are created and manipulated by those in power, and how governments use natural barriers, including deserts and seas, to reinforce the violent, traumatic, and even deadly experiences of border crossing.

 

SPEAKERS

Jason De León

Professor of Anthropology and Chicana, Chicano, and Central American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles and Executive Director of the Undocumented Migration Project (UMP)

Isabella Alexander-Nathani

Founder and Executive Director of Small World Films

Raúl O. Paz-Pastrana

Independent Filmmaker and Cinematographer

MODERATOR

Naeem Mohaiemen

Filmmaker, Author and Mellon Fellow at Heyman Center, Columbia University

About the Speakers:

Jason De León is Professor of Anthropology and Chicana, Chicano, and Central American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles and Executive Director of the Undocumented Migration Project (UMP) Inc., a 501(c)(3). The UMP is a long-term anthropological study of clandestine migration between Latin America and the United States that uses a combination of ethnographic, visual, archaeological, and forensic approaches to understand this violent social process. He has published numerous academic articles and his work with the UMP has been featured in a variety of popular media outlets. He is the author of the award-winning book “The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail” (featuring photos by Michael Wells) and Head Curator of the forthcoming global exhibition Hostile Terrain 94. De León is President of the Board of Directors for The Colibrí Center for Human Rights and a 2017 MacArthur Foundation fellow.

Dr. Isabella Alexander-Nathani is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, educator, and human rights activist. Trained as a cultural anthropologist, her work is motivated by her belief that storytelling has the power to humanize complex political issues. Her latest book Burning at Europe’s Borders (Oxford University Press, 2020) and related documentary film The Burning (Small World Films, 2020) uncover the human sides of our global migrant and refugee crisis. Alexander-Nathani’s work has been featured on BBC, CNN, NPR, PRI, and Al Jazeera, and she is a regular contributor to SAPIENS, where she writes a monthly column called “Borders.” Her speaking programs have brought her to stages around the world, including the United Nations General Assembly and the Parliament of the World’s Religions, where she has delivered keynote addresses to audiences of more than 10,000. The American Anthropological Association presented her with the “Emerging Leader in Anthropology” award in 2016, and her latest project has been supported by multiple grants from The National Science Foundation. She has held faculty positions in the Departments of Anthropology and Film Studies at Emory University and the Department of Social Sciences at Morocco’s national university. She currently serves as Founder and Executive Director of Small World Films, a non-profit production studio. She uses grounded social science research and storytelling to lift the voices of marginalized populations to the global stage and fight for international policy change.

Raúl O. Paz-Pastrana is a Mexican immigrant filmmaker and cinematographer. His work intersects contemporary art, political documentary, and visual ethnography to explore themes of belonging, alienation, and the concept of “home.”  His last feature film Border South follows the migrant routes from southern Mexico to the U.S.-Mexico border. The result is a close-up, nuanced, and highly original view of the migrant experience, one fraught with risk and danger but also camaraderie, ingenuity, and humor. Border South had its world premiere at the 2019 Sheffield Doc/Fest in the U.K., its U.S. premiere at the AFI Docs Film Festival in Washington D.C. and its Latin American premiere at the 2020 Guadalajara International Film Festival (FICG) in Mexico. Raúl is a Princess Grace Awards Special Project Grantee, a Camargo Foundation Cassis France Artist Alumni, a Tribeca Film Institute grant recipient, a 2018 IFP Filmmaker Labs fellow, a 2018 BAVC MediaMaker Fellow, a 2018-20 Firelight Media Documentary Lab Fellow, a 2020 New America National Fellow, a 2018-20 Ford Foundation, JustFilms grantee, a 2020 Colorado Humanities grantee, and a 2020-21 Sundance Institute grantee.

MODERATOR
Naeem Mohaiemen makes films and writes essays about rhizomatic families, malleable borders, and socialist utopias – beginning from Bangladesh’s two postcolonial markers (1947, 1971) and then radiating outward to transnational linkages. He is author of Midnight’s Third Child (Nokta, forthcoming) and Prisoners of Shothik Itihash (Kunsthalle Basel, 2014); editor of Chittagong Hill Tracts in the Blind Spot of Bangladesh Nationalism (Drishtipat, 2010); and co-editor with Eszter Szakacs of Solidarity Must be Defended (Tranzit, forthcoming) and with Lorenzo Fusi of System Error: War is a Force that Gives us Meaning (Sylvana, 2007). Naeem is Mellon Fellow at Heyman Center, Columbia University, New York, and Senior Fellow (non-residential) at Lunder Institute of American Art, Colby College, Maine. He is on the board of the Vera List Center for Art & Politics, New School, New York, and the film council of ICA, London.

 

Webinar Series: Criticism Inside, Alternatives Alongside: Organizing Otherwise to Intervene in Anthropology’s Future

The Wenner-Gren Foundation in partnership with the UC Irvine School of Social Sciences are excited to announce a new webinar series, “Criticism Inside, Alternatives Alongside: Organizing Otherwise to Intervene in Anthropology’s Future“.

Organized by Bill Maurer (Dean of the School of Social Sciences, Professor of Anthropology, and Director of the Institute for Money, Technology, and Financial Inclusion, UC Irvine) and Taylor C. Nelms (Senior Director of Research, Filene Research Institute)

 With Kim Fernandes (University of Pennsylvania), Nina Medvedeva (University of Minnesota), Nima Yolmo (UC Irvine), and Chris Chan (University of Washington)

That the future of anthropology is up for grabs is not new. Anthropology has always been the outcome of struggle, and anthropologists and their allies have long sought to speak truth to power and to convey their own and others’ stories to address inequality, domination, and violence in all its forms. Our record is mixed, to say the least.

Yet the opportunity for intervention arrives anew, and seizing it requires confronting the methods of knowledge production/dissemination and professional reproduction together. What are the possibilities and limitations of working inside, outside, alongside, against, at the edges, or in the hybrid in-between spaces of anthropology’s multiple and heterogeneous publics? And how ought we imagine and describe the position of “public,” “applied,” or “practicing” anthropologists (all inadequate idioms) vis-a-vis academic anthropology and the organizations with whom they work?

This interview series, supported by a grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation, will look to new spaces of inquiry and intervention outside the academy—in tech, finance, and nonprofit worlds, specifically—to explore new forms of knowledge production and dissemination and new kinds of organization and communication. The webinar series will feature anthropologists and other social scientists working across institutional boundaries and with partners outside the academy to put into practice alternative financial and economic arrangements. Speakers will take up what it means to make anthropology—and anthropologists—accountable to its history and to the political economic demands of the moment. And they will investigate what forms critique takes, and what other kinds of intervention are possible, in industries, from finance to tech to philanthropy, that hold concentrated power over the material lives of so many around the world.

SCHEDULE: All webinars will take place Fridays, 12-1pm U.S. Eastern Standard Time/9-10am Pacific.

October 23, 2020: 12-1pm EST/9-10am PST

#1 – Introducing the Series: Theory and Practice at the Edges of Academia

With Bill Maurer and Taylor C. Nelms

http://bit.ly/InterveneAnthroFuture_1_Maurer_Nelms

 

November 6, 2020: 12-1pm EST/9-10am PST

#2 – Civil and Civic Manipulations: Activism, Media, and Public Policy

With Joan Donovan, Research Director, Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, Harvard University Kennedy School

http://bit.ly/InterveneAnthroFuture_3_Donovan

 

December 4, 2020: 12-1pm EST/9-10am PST

#3 – Communicating and Community-Building: Working in, with, and against Big Tech

With Mary L. Gray, Senior Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research and Associate Professor, Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, & Engineering, Anthropology, and Gender Studies, Indiana University

http://bit.ly/InterveneAnthroFuture_4_Gray

 

December 18, 2020: 12-1pm EST/9-10am PST

#4 – Building Race as an Analytic into Anthropology, Within and Outside the Academy

With Sareeta Amrute, Director of Research, Data & Society

http://bit.ly/InterveneAnthroFuture_5_Amrute

 

January 8, 2021: 12-1pm EST/9-10am PST

#5 – Expanding the Anthropological Imagination: Working in, with, and against Wall Street

With Hannah Appel, Associate Professor of Anthropology, UCLA

http://bit.ly/InterveneAnthroFuture_6_Appel

 

January 22, 2021: 12-1pm EST/9-10am PST

#6 – Precarious Professions, Organizing for the Future

With Eli Thorkelson

http://bit.ly/InterveneAnthroFuture_7_Thorkelson

 

February 5th, 2021: 12-1pm EST/9-10am PST

#7 – Public, Open/Libre, Commons: Cultures of Liberation and the Liberation of Culture in Anthropology

With Alberto Corsín Jiménez, Reader, Department of Social Anthropology, Spanish National Research Council, Madrid

http://bit.ly/InterveneAnthroFuture_8_Jiménez

 

February 12, 2021: 12-1pm EST/9-10am PST

#8 – What Does Social Change Look Like?

Angela Russell, Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, CUNA Mutual Group

http://bit.ly/InterveneAnthroFuture_9_Russell

 

February 26, 2021: 12-1pm EST/9-10am PST

#9 – On Emergencies: Socializing and Institutionalizing in Crisis

Federico Neiburg, Professor of Social Anthropology, Museu Nacional, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro

http://bit.ly/InterveneAnthroFuture_10_Neiburg

 

March 12, 2020: 12-1pm EST/9-10am PST

#10 – Pedagogical and Political Commitments: The Opportunities and Limitations of Anthropology outside the Academy

With Noelle Stout, Research Faculty, Apple University

http://bit.ly/InterveneAnthroFuture_2_Stout

Article: Ibrahima Thiaw

You won’t want to miss reading Ibrahima Thiaw’s recently published article, “Archaeology of Two Pandemics and Teranga Aesthetic”, in the newest issue of African Archaeological Review. In the article Dr. Thiaw shows how “the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed how coloniality and racism are endemic to modern society” and reveals “the relevance of the archives, including the archaeological record, as usable resources for managing the problems of our times”.

In addition, keep an eye out for the upcoming issue of Current Anthropology on “Atlantic Slavery and the Making of the Modern World”, co-edited by Dr. Thiaw.