Resolutions and Statements
The Department of Anthropology Statement on Racial Injustice and Police Violence
The Department of Anthropology at Georgetown University denounces the systemic racial injustice that is deeply woven into U.S. history, politics, and contemporary culture, expressed most recently in the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade, and Rayshard Brooks. Although the violence that caused these deaths was not new, technology has rendered it highly visible across the globe, bringing people together to protest brutal police force used against Black people and the continued racial injustices endured by members of Black communities.
We unequivocally stand with the protestors against police violence and racial injustice in all forms. We join the growing numbers of the public who say: “This must end.”
We are aware that people join this movement against the backdrop of the global coronavirus pandemic and an unprecedented economic recession, both of which disproportionately have harmed Black communities. The urgency of these protests and their momentum raise hopes that this moment may produce long-lasting and transformative results.
Anthropology trains students to pay close attention to voices and dynamics within cultures, communities, and social movements. At Georgetown, we teach justice-driven engaged anthropology and pledge our efforts as educators, mentors, and researchers to make sure that the hopes for transformation become reality.
The Department of Anthropology’s Statement as Educators, Mentors and Researchers
November 23, 2016
The Department of Anthropology at Georgetown University stands firm and united in its commitment to the fundamental equality and inherent dignity of all human beings. These values are the foundation of our work in the social sciences and transcend political affiliation. They are also integral to our University’s mission and the Jesuit tradition of seeking social justice.
As social scientists whose work is based on an empathetic engagement with diverse communities and long-term empirical research, we are committed to the unfettered pursuit of knowledge, the careful consideration of evidence and fact, the guarantees of free association, expression and dissent, the respect for different cultural beliefs and practices, and the importance of principled argumentation.
We join together in opposition to those who would ignore, reject, or recast as debatable the principles of equality and justice that are the foundation of our work as educators.
We affirm this shared commitment publicly because the values of equality and human dignity are increasingly under threat. Instances of racist, misogynist, Islamophobic, anti-immigrant, homophobic, transphobic, and anti-Semitic harassment, coupled with hate crimes and acts of racial terrorism, are on the rise nationally. These acts have begun to occur at Georgetown University.
A rhetoric of divisive bigotry, which has rapidly begun to dominate our political discourse, even at the highest levels of our government, has fostered and enabled these acts. As teachers of Anthropology we know the power of words to inform action. We reject the language of division and affirm publicly our shared commitment to justice.
We reaffirm the American Anthropological Association’s 1999 Human Rights Declaration by committing to be “concerned whenever human difference is made the basis for a denial of basic human rights, where “human” is understood in its full range of cultural, social, linguistic, psychological, and biological senses.”
To our students: we stand in solidarity with you. We affirm your right to pursue knowledge regardless of your identity or origin. Our task is to support, to encourage, and to challenge all of you. We recommit to that task now more than ever.
A Resolution on Behalf of the American Anthropological Association in the Wake of the 2016 National Elections
November 30, 2016
Whereas, The 2016 national election campaign season has been characterized by painfully divisive, often threatening rhetoric regarded by many as racist, anti-immigrant, misogynistic speech that has touched every corner of American society and, indeed, the entire world;
Whereas, Organizations advocating racism, gun violence, and misogyny openly endorsed the winning presidential candidate;
Whereas, During the course of the 2016 campaign, numerous threats were made against anti-racist and feminist politicians, academics, journalists, and activists;
Whereas, A spike in hate crimes and harassment has followed the election, with more than 700 reported accounts of hate crimes in the US in the weeks since the election results were announced;
Whereas, The discipline of anthropology is distinctively placed to contribute valuable insights to advance our collective understanding of migration, cultural diversity, and racism;
therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the American Anthropological Association rejects in the strongest terms the climate of hostility that threatens the personal and intellectual diversity of American society;
RESOLVED, That the Association reaffirms its commitment to protecting the pursuit of free inquiry about the human condition with scholarly rigor, offering the greatest possible opportunity for people to take part in and benefit from that inquiry, and engage the many communities that make up the United States and the world in valuing diversity;
RESOLVED, That the Association urges its members to stand in solidarity with students, colleagues, employees, and community-based collaborators who feel they are threatened or under attack, and engage with local civic organizations to effect positive outcomes in their own communities;
RESOLVED, That the Association is dedicated to working collaboratively with other scholarly and professional organizations and institutions of higher learning to honor its commitments, to monitor, intervene, and update its membership on key issues that have a clear impact on anthropology, and to participate as a valued disciplinary stakeholder in shaping policy outcomes rooted in core values of mutual respect, equal rights, freedom of expression and freedom from discrimination.
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Founded in 1902, the American Anthropological Association, with 10,000 members, is the world’s largest professional organization of anthropologists. The Association is dedicated to advancing human understanding and addressing the world’s most pressing problems.