Roundtable - Executive Session Status Awarded
Sponsored by: AAA Executive Program Committee
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students, Those Involved in Mentoring Activities
Primary Theme: Violence
Secondary Theme: Policy
Anthropologists have important contributions to make to conversations about sexual violence both within and beyond our discipline. Our rich history of self-critique enables genuine introspection about the ways in which our methods and our culture might distribute vulnerability-and impunity-differently. Moreover, anthropological tools for analyzing structures of inequality, power, and violence have the potential to open up new possibilities for understanding and responding to the unfortunately widespread reality of sexual violence within and beyond our discipline. In an AAA roundtable entitled, "Sexual Violence in Anthropology: A Collective Conversation," we will turn a critical eye on the way anthropology and anthropologists respond to sexual violence.
The roundtable will discuss the ways sexual violence is imbricated-and might be confronted- in all aspects of our work as anthropologists. It will create space for reflection and for strategizing on how to address sexual violence within anthropology from our roles as educators, students, scholars, and fieldworkers in different institutional locations. Presenters will address anthropology's troubled early history of fieldwork and sexual violence and the institutionally produced nature of what constitutes danger in anthropology. We will also discuss pragmatic dimensions, including how to adapt advising, teaching, and institutions to support survivors of sexual violence.
Within each of these topics, there are numerous questions to be addressed, including:
How do we experience risk of sexual violence as differently positioned researchers in the field? How is vulnerability tied to ethnographic access?
How do we support students who disclose sexual violence?
How can we shift departmental norms and practices to respond better to sexual violence when it occurs?
How do we understand this conversation as a wider critique of anthropology as a discipline and the colonial roots of its investigative perspective?
What gendered and racial dimensions of this issue are not being adequately addressed, and how can we better address them, both institutionally and at the individual level?
How can anthropology, as a discipline, bring its unique perspective to bear on understanding and addressing sexual violence as it affects anthropologists?
How can we demand action on this issue, and from whom?
In addition to presenting panelists' views, the roundtable will invite audience commentary on these and other questions related to sexual violence in anthropology.
This roundtable is a continuation of an ongoing public conversation between anthropologists. At AAA 2017, we convened the roundtable "Sexual Violence in Anthropology," bringing together over fifty participants from multiple fields. The roundtable was the effort of two collectives working on sexual violence within anthropology, one that recently published "Toward a Fugitive Anthropology: Gender, Race, and Violence in the Field" in Cultural Anthropology, and another that organized a similar roundtable at AES in 2017.