Anthropology: Scholarship the Makes a Difference

Date / Time

March 11, 2019

2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

On Monday, March 11, from 2-4, a group of Chicagoland anthropologists will gather at the Latino Cultural Center (Lecture Center B2) to discuss the broader social relevance of anthropology. The list of speakers include Molly Doane (UIC), Christopher Hernandez (UIC), Morag Kersel (DePaul University), Jessica Pouchet (Northwestern University), Julienne Rutherford (UIC), and Alaka Wali (Field Museum). We will discuss how our research addresses broad social issues such as sustainability, heritage management, conservation, race, and gender (see synopsis below).

Anthropology: Scholarship that Makes a Difference

            Does anthropology matter? Students and scholars at various levels of the academic ladder have grappled with the need to explain the significance of their discipline. Among one another, scholars can explain the intellectual merit of their work. However, US anthropologists have increasingly come under public scrutiny for an apparent lack of relevance to contemporary society. Parents ask, why pay thousands of dollars for their kids to shovel dirt or study exotic peoples? The random stranger asks “what is left to find?” Or, “who cares?” At the highest levels of government, current and former Lawmakers Lamar Smith (R-TX), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Rand Paul (R-KY) have targeted anthropological projects as scapegoats for apparent bad spending by the National Science Foundation. By assembling a diversity of perspectives, a group of Chicagoland anthropologists highlight how their work is relevant beyond the classroom and shaping contemporary social life.

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