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This month we’ll take a look at the candidates.
Today’s feature are the candidates for the linguistic seat of the Committee on Ethics. The objective of the Committee on Ethics is a standing committee of the Association, which is responsible for the design and implementation of the Association’s ethics education and advisory program. The objectives of the ethics education program are (1) to increase the number of candidates for all degrees in anthropology receiving training in ethics before graduating; (2) to provide ongoing education in ethical issues for all AAA members; (3) to provide advice to AAA members facing/raising ethical dilemmas, and (4) to provide guidance to the Executive Board about AAA codes and guidelines.
Click here to learn more about the Committee on Ethics.
The recent revision of the American Anthropological Association’s Ethics Code presents new opportunities for the Committee on Ethics’ education and advisory programs. I aim to contribute to implementation of ethics education within the discipline and beyond, as well as continuing development of ethical guidelines for professional conduct. In particular I bring to the committee expertise on the specific ethical issues raised by research involving language, including student research conducted with non-native speakers of English, professional member research in diverse sociolinguistic scenes, and the difficulties of informed consent and linguistic translation. I am a linguistic anthropologist who conducts field research with speakers of indigenous languages of Latin America and with Japanese speakers in rural Japan. My research experience has influenced my commitment to the construction of ethical models for the representation of language and other forms of expression within anthropology and in public discourse. This is reflected in my writing on endangerment of indigenous languages as well as social and political inequalities experienced by speakers of marginalized varieties of dominant state languages. I am also committed to building ethical awareness into undergraduate and graduate curriculum involving ethnographic and related research methodologies.
My scholarship, based on ethnographic research with marginalized Zulu speaking South Africans living with HIV/AIDS amid stigma, includes a focus on ethical practice in data analysis, publication, and fieldwork. In my work I have become familiar with how South Africans face stigma through language and music. These communicative processes are inherently ethical. In my scholarship I address questions of how morality and ethics are constituted in everyday lives and how neoliberal discourses shape understandings of ethical action. In addition to shared anthropological concerns about research participant anonymity, in publications I am cognizant of the problem of showing faces of people who might be stigmatized as a result. This is a difficult issue given the central use of visual materials in my data analysis. During fieldwork, I face issues such as how to truthfully represent my work to South Africans who might stigmatize research participants and questions about how the mantra “do no harm” should be interpreted in this context. I also work to contribute to the lives of the marginalized, stigmatized individuals with whom I work. I feel that linguistic anthropology offers unique viewpoints on ethics, and I would welcome the opportunity to represent these perspectives on the ethics committee.
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