Social Justice Colloquium Series: Igniting Conversations on Campus

It’s happening, all semester long: Gatherings of intellectual activists, sharing relevant work that furthers social justice.

Will you be there?

The College of Arts and Sciences and the AU Anthropology Department are excited to announce the start of the 2015 Fall Social Justice Colloquium series. This new series of seminars is designed to highlight the current research of public anthropologists—and of other scholars whose work combines theory with a strong commitment to social justice. These events are a rare opportunity to hear from and connect with like-minded individuals across disciplines.

Launched September 14 and running through Monday, November 23, the nine seminars will address issues and work spanning the globe. Each talk (with the exception of Becca Peixotto’s September 14 presentation) will take place Mondays, 12:00-1:30 p.m. in Kreeger 100, with light fare provided.

Below are some brief descriptions of what’s coming. You can also read the full abstracts here.


  • September 28 (in the Abramson Family Recital Hall, Katzen Center, at 12:30 p.m.): Rising Star Expedition: Human Origins and Open Science in a Cave in the Cradle of Humankind

AU MAPA graduate Becca Peixotto works as one of the six primary excavators with the Rising Star Expedition, 30m below the earth’s surface in a small cave chamber. The fossils they found there made groundbreaking headlines, identified as fragments of a new species of human relative called Homo naledi.

She will discuss the value of the exploration, the benefits of open access, and the role of Rising Star in highlighting women in science. Learn more about Peixotto’s work here.


  • October 12: The Experience of Selling Experiences: Work in a Casino Economy

Deborah M. Figart, Distinguished Professor of Economics, Stockton University, and Ellen Mutari, Professor of Economics, Stockton University, discuss their work examining the lived experience of selling experiences.


  • October 19: On the Scene: Doing Public Anthropology with Black Queer People in DC 

Nikki Lane, of the Department of Anthropology, will share ongoing projects that black queers in DC are engaging in to create and maintain “The Scene”—physically and symbolically secure spaces within the sometimes hostile urban landscape.


  • October 26: Ni Una Menos: The Performative Practices of Denouncing Gender-based Violence in Argentina 

Brenda Werth, of the Department of Languages and Cultures, will discuss Ni Una Menos, a recent movement that has had an enormous impact on public awareness of gender-based violence against women in Argentina, the South American country with the highest incidence of reported feminicides.


  • November 2: Drones and Systematic Extrajudicial Killings

Jeff Bachman, of the School of International Service, discusses the United States’ use of drones to conduct targeted killing operations—including the evolution of the debate around it and how the US Executive Branch has become the judge and jury in dealing drone-based executions.


  • November 9: Civil War Defenses in Washington, DC: The Untold Story of African American Freedom Seekers

Sue Taylor, of the Department of Anthropology, discusses her work toward providing an ethnohistorical account of the resilience and fortitude of the more than 30,000 freedom seekers including men, women, and children, who escaped enslavement and entered DC from Virginia and Maryland during the Civil War.


  • November 23: Interpreting Mérida: Can We Reconcile Theoretical Views with On-the-Ground Experiences?

Carolyn Gallaher, of the School of International Service, explores how closely theoretical views about US Security Arrangements in Latin America—such as Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative—match with the way law enforcement, federal agents, and others experience the agreements on the ground.

We anticipate that these seminars will go beyond sharing knowledge across fields—they will also serve to build community, allowing you to forge connections with scholars and activists interested in a range of public scholarship serving social justice causes.

We hope you’ll join us.


Join Us to Learn and Connect

Read the abstracts for all seminars.

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