The De-Colonization Committee of the University of Alabama recognizes the anti-Semitic speech recently found in our community as a symptom of the underlying structural racism found here in the US and around the world. We reissue our mission statement in recognition that silence is violence but also call for action and dialogue to interrogate why these structural divides persist. Towards this end, we offer the following resources and opportunities for education and investigation:
National Science Foundation Grant Awarded!
Our very own Dr. Katherine Chiou and Dr. Dru McGill of North Carolina State University received an NSF Ethical and Responsible Research Grant ($318,276) to fund the three-year project "Collaborative Research: Enacting Professional Ethics and Disciplinary Transformation through the Promotion of Evidence-based Training and Education Initiatives in Archaeology." Funding for this project begins on January 1, 2023.
This project will advance knowledge on a scientific ethics training intervention known as Ethics Bowls, which employ competitive case study-based debate to immerse participants in ethical issues, frameworks, and problem-solving strategies in active-learning environments. Ethics Bowls, particularly the Society for American Archaeology Ethics Bowl (SAA EB), have been used to train students in the discipline of archaeology over the last 18 years, resulting in the participation of hundreds of individuals and establishing a baseline dataset for assessing long-term effects of this training activity. As archaeologists grapple with intersecting ethical crises, the SAA EB is one of the few formal ethics education opportunities in the field. Moreover, the SAA EB, in contrast to other discipline-specific Ethics Bowls, is designed to target graduate students preparing to enter archaeology professions as research scientists.
Using a combination of (1) quantitative and qualitative data from a mixed-methods survey, (2) interview data from former SAA EB participants and archaeologists with no Ethics Bowl exposure, and (3) consultations with diverse practitioners, relevant community partners, and Advisory Boards with expertise in archaeological ethics and interdisciplinary approaches to ethics and responsible conduct of research (RCR) trainings, the research team will: identify successful aspects of Ethics Bowl training; redesign and debut an improved Ethics Bowl model; and craft deliverables that contribute to establishing and maintaining a disciplinary culture of ethical research and practice within archaeology and other STEM fields. Specifically, this project’s broader contributions include (1) creating indexes of ethics case studies; (2) documenting challenges in disciplinary-centered, active-learning science ethics trainings; (3) emphasizing archaeologists’ responsibilities to the diverse publics they serve through effective, widespread ethics training; and (4) supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion goals by funding and mentoring early career scholars from minority-serving institutions. The research team anticipates that this intervention will lead to an increase in the retention and recruitment of students and early career professionals from backgrounds that have traditionally been underrepresented both in archaeology and other STEM fields. Overall, the transformation of ethical preparation amongst early career researchers will benefit society by preparing scientists to be aware of—and responsive to—changing social needs, values, and norms.
Congratulations, Drs. Chiou and McGill!
Dr. Holly Horan Featured for Collaborative Research Into Racial Disparity in Infant Mortality
Dr. Holly Horan, our own Decolonizing Committee Chair, has been profiled in UA News and the College of Arts & Sciences Desktop News for her research with collaborators David Albright and Natalie Malak on reducing infant mortality with a special focus on racial disparities. This work was recently funded by a $250,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, on which Dr. Horan serves as Co-PI. In his congratulatory announcement to Dr. Horan, UA Anthropology Department Chair Jason DeCaro states, "We are reminded yet again about the opportunity for anthropology, as part of interdisciplinary collaborations, to meaningfully and positively affect lives." Read the full article here:
Congratulations Dr. Horan!
Dr. Katie Chiou of the De-Co Committee was recently featured in the January 2022 edition of the Society of American Archaeology's Archaeological Record for her outstanding work and leadership with the ethics bowl. The article features Dr. Chiou's volunteer work over the years in working with SAA in organizing the annual debate. The Ethics Bowl is a competitive debate based on hypothetical cases developed for teams of undergraduate and graduate students from different universities to solve ethical dilemmas faced by archaeologists in their day-to-day lives. Dr. Chiou was introduced to the Ethics Bowl as a student while attending the University of California, Berkeley where she competed on the university’s ethics team from 2009-2014. She joined SAA's Ethics Committee in 2017 and continues to serve in organizing and mentoring the annual event. The next Ethics Bowl debate will be held during the 87th Annual Meeting of the SAA, March 30 - April 3, 2022, in Chicago, Illinois. Congratulations and Thank You for your service and important work Dr. Chiou!
More information on SAA's Ethics Bowl can be found here: https://www.saa.org/annual-meeting/ethics-bowl.
The new De-Co Logo designed by Anthropology PhD student Camille Morgan featuring a raised fist and olive branch will be featured on all De-Co sponsored events. Camille received a $50 gift certificate and bragging rights for her submission. Congratulations Camille on a job well done!
Dr. Holly Horan discussed decolonization during her interview by the University of Alabama’s student news The Crimson White. “Decolonization is, at minimum, a twofold process. The first is intention, and the second is action,” Horan said. “The intention of decolonization is to approach our work as anthropologists, being moral, being ethical and with a sense of justice, especially given the history of our discipline. The second piece of that is action. Decolonization is actively resisting oppressive systems in research, teaching and service. Decolonization is decentering standards and expectations that reinforce oppressive hierarchies.” Read the full article here: https://cw.ua.edu/83310/culture/we-do-not-live-in-a-post-colonial-world-ua-professors-talk-decolonization-in-academia/
Meet Micknai Arefaine. She is a cultural organizer, consultant, and facilitator. She is a founding member of the Radical Imagination Collective and lead organizer of its annual gathering Opening Space for the Radical Imagination. She has received several awards for her culturally aware and equity-focused leadership.Micknaiis a doula with the Community Doula Program (CDP)and a curriculum developer with the CDP-Community College Democratizing Doula Training Project.She has Masters in Applied Anthropology from Oregon State University where she was instrumental in launching AYA-Womxn of Color Initiative, served as Vice President of the Black Graduate Student Association, and Vice President of Social Justice for the Coalition of Graduate Employees (Local 6069). Her graduate research was conducted with her community of women in Northern Ethiopia where she learned how they model, express,and reflect the values of community, trust, care,stability,and futurity through their perceptions and sentiments regarding social and political change. She enjoys her trips to Ethiopia, reading comic books and speculative fiction, long phone calls with friends and family and spending time in the forest, river, and ocean.
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