Roundtable - Late-Breaking
Reviewed by: AAA Late-Breaking Review Committee
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students, Those Involved in Mentoring Activities
Primary Theme: Human rights
Secondary Theme: Race and social justice
In June 2018, several anonymous former and current staff members of HAU: The Journal of Ethnographic Theory came forward with testimonies of labor exploitation, misogynistic behavior, financial misconduct, and bullying during their contracts with the journal. These revelations spurred a number of conversations--especially online and especially among junior scholars--threaded together by the name #hautalk that tell two interwoven stories. They are about the specificities of what happened at HAU, and about how those specificities are both unexceptional and endemic to
At its core, #hautalk has raised questions about how labor, harassment, and exploitation intersect with white supremacy, patriarchy, settler colonialism, misogyny, and violence. As ethnographers, we anthropologists pride ourselves in our ability to critique how these very structures unfold in our research areas, but we have not yet substantially committed to turning these interrogations inward to see how they manifest in the relationships between the students, faculty, editorial boards, and publishers that constitute our discipline. When these conversations do take place they tend to center the voices of scholars who hold positions of prestige and power--who are often white, often male, often tenured--rather than the voices of women, Black, Indigenous and other People of Color, LGBTQ people and folks with disabilities for whom the implications of harassment and exploitation are a lived reality.
In this session, we explore the broad themes that have emerged through #hautalk by spotlighting the experiences and knowledges of junior scholars who often occupy multiple positions of precarity and marginality within academic anthropology. In order to do so, each of us takes a specific lens through which we make sense of this situation, including: 1) surviving the culture of harassment and exploitation at HAU; 2) the emergence of a generation of anthropologists whose modes of knowledge production are informed by social media; 3) moving away from white supremacist, settler colonial epistemologies and ontologies in anthropology; 4) resistance against exploitative publication models through emerging citation politics; 5) shifting the logics of equity and diversity in higher education in order to produce social change; and 6) and the political implications of anthropological research.
The goal here is not to reiterate what happened at HAU, nor is it to rehash existing conversations in anthropology that address these questions without offering models for different kinds of praxis.To the contrary, in this roundtable our goal is to articulate and demand a more just, more equitable, more accessible anthropology by providing destabilizing solutions. This involves evaluating and disrupting the premises by which expertise, authority, and ownership are currently conceived in our discipline.