Diversity and Inclusion

Notre Dame Department of Anthropology Statement on Diversity and Inclusion

The Anthropology Department at the University of Notre Dame is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive community of scholarship, as well as promoting anti-racism in society. We recognize the intersectional compounding of discrimination based on race, gender, class, disability, and immigration status, among other factors. We act to promote inclusion in our departmental relationships, the discipline of Anthropology, and the communities within which we live and work. Anthropology is at its heart an intellectual engagement with human diversity and potential. That said, the discipline emerged in the second half of the 19th century in the context of colonialism as expanding states sought to divest indigenous people of their lands and autonomy. Much anthropological knowledge was collected to document the practices and lifeways of people perceived as being in danger of disappearing due to colonialism, or to aid in controlling and governing indigenous peoples. In particular, we acknowledge the Pokagon Potawatomi as inhabitants of South Bend/Notre Dame historically and their continuing attachment to the land on which our university and department are located.

Anthropology also played a key role in promoting scientific racism, including playing a formative role in the eugenics movement. This is not solely a phenomenon of the past; some anthropological practice still contributes to oppression and hurts communities. At the same time, Anthropology has served as a powerful critique of these systems of oppression, and we recognize the promise of anthropology as the science of human culture and diversity to combat racism, exclusion, and continuing inequities in society. Our discipline has empirically demonstrated the biological unity of humanity, and also how race as a social construct continues to privilege some and disadvantage many others, especially Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities.

We are committed to combating racism, nationalism, climate injustice, and all forms of structural violence in our scholarship, teaching, service, and community engagement. We recognize that there is much work to do, and we strive to continually improve our ethical practices in research and fieldwork, particularly with underprivileged and historically excluded people, including making our research relevant to the needs of the communities we work with.

We are also committed to building a more diverse and just community in our department through hiring, mentoring, and teaching. This includes educating our students as to the possibilities of human life and society, as well as the problematic history of colonialism and racism in our society. We are also committed to ensuring equitable opportunities for all our students and faculty regardless of sex, race, ethnicity, language background, gender identity, religious or spiritual beliefs, sexual orientation, abilities, age, or economic background.

Graduate students in our department have formed the Notre Dame Anthropology Anti-Racism Group, worked together with faculty in anti-racism workshops, and developed an assessment tool to guide our present and future action. Our students and faculty are also committed to collaborative community engagement in our home of South Bend, Indiana. As we periodically revisit and update our policies and departmental structures to address issues that may arise to ensure that we are meeting these goals to the best of our ability as a department, we maintain a broad vision of what Anthropology can contribute to improving our community and world.