Sitting at the Kitchen Table: Fieldnotes from Women of Color in Anthropology

 Abstract

This text explores the difficulties faced by faculty of color, particularly women of color, in the academy. Building on existing literature on these issues, the authors deploy their experiences in the academy to argue for transformative work to be done in order to make academia—and anthropology in particular—more inclusive.

Editorial Footnote

Cultural Anthropology has published articles on academic work in relation to anthropologists' identities, including Alexandra Bakalaki's "Students, Natives, Colleagues: Encounters in Academia and in the Field" (1997) and Virginia R. Domínguez's "For a Politics of Love and Rescue" (2000).  The journal has also published articles on workplace politics, such as Andrea Muelebach's "On Affective Labor in Post-Fordist Italy" (2011), Daena Aki Funahashi's "Wrapped in Plastic: Transformation and Alienation in the New Finnish Economy" (2013).

About the Authors

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Tami Navarro

Tami Navarro is a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in Anthropology at Rutgers University, after earning a B.A. from Wesleyan University as well as an M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University. Her research interests include Caribbean Studies, Gender and Labor, Development, Identity Formation, Globalization/Transnationalism, Capital, Neoliberalism, Race/Racialization, and Ethnicity. She is the recipient of funding from the Mellon Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the American Anthropological Association, and the Ford Foundation.

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Bianca Williams

Bianca C. Williams is an Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She received both her B.A. and Ph.D. in cultural anthropology at Duke University, with a Graduate Certificate in African and African American Studies. As a feminist cultural anthropologist, Williams’s research centers on the racialized and gendered experiences of Black American women in the U.S. and Caribbean, specifically focusing on their pursuits of happiness and strategies for maintaining emotional wellness. In her book, tentatively titled "Exporting Happiness," Williams examines how African American women use international travel and the Internet as tools for pursuing leisure, creating intimate relationships and friendships, and critiquing American racism and sexism. This multi-sited ethnography and interdisciplinary text is under contract with Duke University Press.

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Attiya Ahmed

Attiya Ahmad is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the George Washington University. Her research focuses on the interrelation between gender, labour migration, diasporic formations, and Islamic movements in the Inter-Asian region. Dr. Ahmad is developing a project focusing on halal tourism networks spanning the Gulf Cooperation Council states, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. Her articles have appeared in The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology and edited volumes focusing on labour migration in the Arab Gulf states, and Islamic reform in South Asia. She is currently revising her book manuscript, which focuses on the Islamic conversions of South Asian migrant domestic workers in Kuwait. She obtained her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology at Duke University, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for International and Regional Studies at Georgetown University.

Additional References

Sara Ahmed, On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012. (Review of Ahmed: Meryl Altman, "Mission Not Accomplished," Academe, January–February 2013.)

Karen Bodkin, Sandra Morgen, and Janis Hutchinson. "Anthropology as White Public Space." American Anthropologist 113, no. 4 (2011): 545–556.

Lynn Bolles, "Telling the Story Straight: Black Feminist Intellectual Thought in Anthropology," Transforming Anthropology 22, no. 1 (2013): 57–71.

Audrey Smedley and Janis Faye Hutchinson, ed. Racism in the Academy: The New Millenium. American Anthropological Association.

"Final Report of the Commission on Race and Racism in Anthropology." American Anthropological Association.

"Quality of Life Survey Follow-Up Study of Underrepresented Minority Faculty at Stanford University," Report from the Panel on Faculty Equity and Quality of Life, May 2013.

Short Reads

"Take Care: Notes on the Black (Academic) Women's Health Forum," Feminist Wire, November 12,2012.

Kate Clancy, "The Three Things I Learned at the Purdue Conference for Pre-Tenure Women: On Being a Radical Scholar," Context and Variation (blog), Scientific American, October 7, 2011.

Kate Clancy, "'I Had No Power to Say "That's Not OK"': Reports of Harassment and Abuse in the Field," Context and Variation (blog), Scientific American, April 13, 2013.

Nicole Truesdell, "Researching Race While Being Raced: Reflections on Race Politics in Anthropology," Anthropologies, May 24, 2013.

Conference Presentations

"Black Women Academics in the Ivor Tower," Conference held at Rutgers University, March 5–6, 2009.

Interactive Visualizations

"Gender Composition of Scholary Publications," www.eigenfactor.org.

Additional Resources

"Resources for Faculty of Color and Minority Faculty," Drexel University.

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