Sponsored by: Members’ Programmatic, Advisory and Advocacy Committee
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students, Those Involved in Mentoring Activities
Primary Theme: Ethics
Secondary Theme: Teaching
This roundtable explores new possibilities for how ethics education in anthropology and related disciplines can be structured. Educating graduate students in ethics is too often approached as if the task consisted of transferring to novices the rules and principles of ethical behavior, as opposed to socializing them into habits of reflection and cultivating their sensitivity to the competing, often mutually contradictory needs and interests of multiple stakeholders. The former orientation makes it seem reasonable to approach ethics education as "training", such as is offered by the widely adopted Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative or "CITI" system that allows ethics instruction to be administered in the form of short, discrete, conveniently auditable online modules that can be perfunctorily completed and then forgotten. Furthermore, in anthropology and other fieldwork-based disciplines, ethics education tends to focus disproportionately on the treatment of fieldwork participants, even though professional practice here, as in all disciplines, presents ethical challenges across a range of areas, such as data sharing, management, and ownership; authorship, peer review, and other matters related to publishing; adviser-student relations; and colleagueship. Unfortunately, recent Federal policy initiatives to promote student learning of "responsible conduct of research" in this broader sense have had little impact on instructional practice (Phillips et al. 2017).
We bring together faculty and students from two departments, one a three-field anthropology department (University of Virginia) and the other a linguistics department with strength in sociocultural linguistics (University of California, Santa Barbara), to describe and appraise models of department-based ethics education that give students an active role in designing, planning, and implementing the curriculum and approach. In each case, the goal is to create an environment in which ethics education is rich, explicit, engaging, and integrated into the overall life of the local academic community. The UVa Anthropology Department has been experimenting with a primarily student-led workshop series on topics in fieldwork, ethics, and ethnographic writing that runs parallel to the department speaker series. At UCSB, student-led research and initiatives are prompting ethics discussions across the curriculum as well as in other departmental forums such as colloquia and student-led conferences. The roundtable chairs will begin the session by sharing the histories of these experimental programs. Following this, students from each institution will speak about their experiences designing and running their respective programs. Finally, the floor will be opened to audience discussion about how best to prepare the next generation of scholars and practitioners to be reflective and responsible in all aspects of the work that they do.