Anthropology Department

Reed College Department of Anthropology Statement Against Police Violence and Anti-Black Racism

In solidarity with the Association of Black Anthropologists, the Reed College Department of Anthropology condemns the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Rayshard Brooks, Layleen Xtravaganza Cubilette-Polanco, and other victims of police and vigilante violence. We stand in solidarity with the ongoing uprising against state-sanctioned murder and affirm with those protesting that Black lives matter. These protests both remind us of those who have been lost and point the way to a decarceral future.

Many of us came to anthropology through a commitment to understanding and working against inequality in all its forms. The movement for Black lives intersects with all of these: it intersects with a commitment to indigenous, queer, and trans lives, with a commitment to economic justice, and with the ongoing project of decolonization. At the same time, anthropology as a discipline has been complicit in the reproduction of inequality. The discipline has a well-documented history of implication in colonial projects and race science. Black anthropologists have been central to the discipline since its founding and yet are all too often erased from its canons and under-represented in its citations. 

As a department, we commit ourselves to using our teaching, scholarship, and daily practice to learn from and stand with this movement for a more just society. We ask of ourselves and one another that we weigh our citational practices, our syllabi, our teaching, and our practice in the world in relation to the declarative statement and the imperative of these protests: that Black lives matter.

The Department of Anthropology will be taking a number of steps to respond to the questions raised by the protests over the coming year. A list of courses offered in the 2020-2021 academic year addressing race, racism and anti-racism is below. As a constituent department of the CRES program, we will be participating in a CRES Black Studies colloquium in the coming year. Further, the theme of the Department of Anthropology’s Roundtable Symposium series this year will be ‘Comparative Race and Racisms’. The Anthropology Roundtable Symposium will combine student-organized events and presentations with a series of speakers whose scholarship is at the cutting edge of explorations into the transregional and transnational politics of race and racism in the United States and around the world.

Some Resources, in Portland and Nationally

Summer Reading: Anthropology Resources on Police, Incarceration, and the Black Lives Matter Movement

American Anthropological Association Statements

2020-2021 Reed Anthropology Courses Addressing Race, Racism and Anti-racism

  • Fall 2020
    • Anth 343: African Pasts, African Futures (B. Brada)
    • Anth 351: Postcolonial Europe (P. Silverstein)
    • Anth 366: Black, Indian, and Other in Brazil (L. Sullivan)
  • Spring 2021
    • Anth 201: Language, Culture, Power (C. Makley)
    • Anth 201: Anthropology of Global Health (B. Brada)
    • Anth 345: Black Queer Diaspora (L. Sullivan)
    • Anth 363: Race and Transnational China (C. Makley)