Public Anthropologies
In the 2019 cultural anthropology year-in-review essay in American Anthropology, titled “The Case for Letting Anthropology Burn,” Ryan Cecil Jobson wrote that we need to abandon anthropology’s liberal suppositions and adopt a radical humanism as its political horizon. This call for a renewed anthropology demands that anthropology eschew an “exceptionalism” that places itself outside its histories of violence and reckon with the way that anthropology, as a discipline, not only participated in particular exclusions to humanity but also continues to presume a coherent subject that can be known, documented and spoken for. Yet, with the COVID-19 pandemic upon us, the global call that “Black Lives Matter,” institutions pledging to address systematic racism, and students demanding change from their university leadership, contemporary anthropology could not be more suspicious for its enduring place in knowledge erasure. These commentaries are meant to accompany Jobson’s essay and the webinar that was co-sponsored by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research and UCLA’s anthropology department. Each builds on Jobson’s claims in different ways, questioning the unitary “we” held to stand in for anthropological practitioners from a variety of vantage points. Each also imagines new horizons for the discipline and insists that anthropology be done in the service of real-time material, affective, and ideological transformations.

American Anthropology, Decolonization, and the Politics of Location
Samar Al-Bulushi (UC Irvine), Sahana Ghosh (Harvard University), and Madiha Tahir (Columbia University)

A Different Kind of Unmooring
By Jatin Dua (University of Michigan)

Revisiting the “Field” of Black Internationalism
By Zachary Mondesire (UCLA)

After the Ash and Rubble Are Cleared: Anthropological Work for a Future
By Leniqueca A. Welcome (University of Pennsylvania)

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