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VIDEO DOI: https://doi.org/10.48448/cywr-9k19


AAA Annual Meeting 2021

November 18, 2021

Baltimore, United States

The Everyday Politics and Praxis of Truth, Responsibility and Honesty in Anthropology





As the organizing principles of this year’s annual meeting, “truth” and “responsibility” urge anthropologists to turn inward by calling into question the very practices, beliefs, assumptions, and commitments that guide our scholarly inquiries In a discipline inclined to seek its truths by turning outward•if not directly towards the Other•this introspective exercise does not come easily. It not only asks us to reckon with our place in anthropology’s violent and extractive legacies, it also demands that we expand and explode our very understanding of what constitutes anthropological relevance. What are the consequences of this preoccupation with what and who lives outside or elsewhere? What gets erased, what goes unsaid, who is pushed to the margins or out of anthropology altogether? This panel is concerned with speaking to how the tension between Self/Other collides with the everyday conditions and culture of anthropology in academic departments, at our field sites, and within the discipline’s institutions. We seek to name elisions and silences and to address the shape and toll they take in the quotidian and microscopic processes of anthropological training and knowledge-making. How does it seep into anthropology’s pedagogical paradigms, particularly as they relate to methods training and core curricula? Why aren’t we able to acknowledge•as in the case of mental illness, for example (Parikh 2019)•how anthropologists experience and navigate the very structures and phenomena we interrogate in our scholarly work? Where, and how, do the politics of expertise intersect with the perpetual racialization of Black, Indigenous, and other non-White students? This forum asserts that the project of dismantling barriers to inclusion and equity requires laying bare and coming to terms with the inconvenient and uncomfortable. Within a framework of “radical honesty” (Williams 2016), the panelists approach these questions from their own experiences as a theoretical and pedagogical starting point for envisioning an anthropology invested in decolonial, queer, anti-imperial liberation. We also take prompt from Zora Neale Hurston, as well as this year’s theme, by tacking forth between questions and answers. What remains unresolved for those of us grappling with our commitment to a discipline haunted by colonial and imperial legacies? Where too, have we found answers•perhaps from our “elsewhere (Reese 2019), from our interlocutors, or from analytical frameworks outside of the Global North academy? In foregrounding the personal and quotidian, we explore the creative and productive potential in alternate modes of articulating, witnessing, theorizing, collaborating, and holding space for our fore bearers.


Transcript English (automatic)

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