Open Letter to Anthropology Department Faculty and Colleagues

Current Graduate and Undergraduate Students

This open letter commends the faculty for their response of solidarity in response to the issues of police violence against Black people following the killing of George Floyd. The letter asserts the students’ commitment to seriously investigating and interrogating ways in which “scholarship is cultivated and produced.” This serves as the students’ initial mode of action and culminates with two actions: (1) a detailed report on departmental syllabi between 2010 and 2019, analyzing the authors’ represented and their various characterizations and (2) creating a virtual bookshelf to house timely and important work addressing systemic oppression.

The letter urges consideration of the following:

  1. What concrete actions can we as a department and as individual scholars take to actively support the BLM movement, in accordance with President Eisgruber’s and  our own departmental statements of solidarity?
  2. How will we expand anti-racist pedagogy into our curriculum, incorporating more attention to issues of race, indigineity, gender, sexuality and inequality?
  3. How can we continue to diversify hiring strategies of graduate students and faculty  members and address the current obstacles that hinder diversification (e.g.  through elimination of the GRE as a requirement for graduate admission as 14 other departments of Princeton University have done in 2019)?
  4. How can we reckon with the way white supremacy, neo-colonialism, and hetero-sexism have been shaping the discipline, the department as an institution, its faculty, the student body, and organizational policies and practices?
  5. How do we as a department determine what a decolonized or anti-racist syllabus should look like?
  6. How can we better address other forms of discrimination and the interconnected nature of different forms of discrimination?

Top Level Findings from Syllabi Report:

  1. 70% of assigned authors were men
  2. 81% of assigned authors were white
  3. 88% of assigned authors come from the Global North
  4. 3 Black professors, out of 27 in total, assigned 48% of the Black authors assigned

The complete findings, as well as the methodology, of the detailed report can be found at the link below.

Princeton University is located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of Lenapehoking and the Lenape people. We pay respect to Lenape peoples past, present, and future and their continuing presence in the homeland and throughout the Lenape diaspora.