Diversity & Inclusion

Statement on diversity, equity, and inclusion

The IU Department of Anthropology is committed to promoting respect for human diversity, nurturing civil society, and constructing social justice in our research, our classes, and our relationships with our students and the public. We believe that expressions of gender, race, heritage, class, and ethnicity are fundamental to human rights, and we strive to protect and celebrate the unique identities and group affiliations of all people both within and outside the academy. We also believe that the future of our discipline depends on a diverse constituency and we strive to contribute to that future with our teaching, our policies, and our projects.

The discipline of anthropology is founded intellectually and historically on the study of human diversity. While anthropology traces some of its heritage to the rise of respectful empirical science, community engagement, and humanitarianism, we recognize that much early anthropological work had colonial, racist, classist, and sexist motives and consequences. Some of these linger in contemporary literature and practice so, like practitioners in all fields of intellectually rigorous human endeavor, anthropologists continually rethink, redesign, and reimagine what we do. Most importantly anthropologists have learned to turn the study of other cultures onto ourselves to work for a more responsible role in the world.

We know that the strength of our field is proportional to the inclusivity of our efforts. The statement on race by the American Anthropological Association provides an explanation of how racial constructions came to be and endure and we are aware that we must confront these issues in our teaching and research. A commitment to diversity maintains a distinction between intellectual freedom and intellectual license. Expressions of identity that disrespect or threaten the freedom and safety of others are not acceptable; we seek to overturn incivility by offering education and broadening experiences. As anthropologists we are committed to encouraging active dialogue and interventions to address injustices and inequities and to create an inclusive environment for all.

Our department’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee works to translate these principles into specific actions. In doing so, the Committee acknowledges its emergence at a time when the Black Lives Matter movement has challenged us all as a discipline and as a society into a renewed recognition of the complex and insidious operations of systemic racism, and its bearing on the lives of black peoples in particular. The Committee recognizes and seeks to address the ways in which black students have had to contend with forms of anti-blackness deeply entrenched within the institutions and practices of this nation, state, city, campus and department.

Engaging in this urgent work of fighting anti-black racism fully on its own terms, the Committee also wishes to engage the diverse experiences within the department, including Latinx, Indigenous, South Asian, Middle Eastern and Asian American, diversities of sexual orientation, nationality, class, age, and able-bodiedness, among others. The committee invokes these diversities not to privilege one group over another. Rather, the Committee’s efforts are informed by a recognition of where the need for its intervention is most urgent at any given moment. Apropos of the disciplinary and departmental context in which it conducts its work, the ultimate goal of Anthropology’s DEI Committee is to foster and put into sustained and meaningful practice a departmental culture of respect for diversity, equity and inclusion in their many registers.

With these concerns in mind, the Committee presently places several critical issues at the center of its activities. These include: (1) addressing the concerns of BIPOC students, (2) international students, (3) students with disabilities, and, more broadly, (4) issues of graduate student equity; (5) “decolonizing” our course offerings; (6) developing administrative mechanisms for intra-departmental advocacy as well as clarifying avenues for recourse beyond the department; (7) NAGPRA; and (8) Title IX-related concerns. In addition, the Committee offers DEI perspectives on undergraduate affairs, the specific concerns of our four subfields, faculty and staff hiring, and admissions.