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This month we’ll take a look at the candidates.
Today’s feature are the candidates for undesignated seat #1 of the Committee on Minority Issues in Anthropology (CMIA). Committee member objectives are to: promote participation of underrepresented populations in anthropology by creating a climate where ideas from all individuals are equally considered, rather than viewed through a racialized frame; foster professional advancement by minorities in anthropology; promote intellectual awareness within the discipline and Association of issues that face minority anthropologists; and help define anthropology’s role in national discourse on cultural diversity.
Click here to learn more about the Committee on Minority Issues in Anthropology.
As a cultural anthropologist and archaeologist, I specialize in Africa and the African Diaspora. I focus on the heritage and culture of African Americans, Gambians, South African Xhosa, and Filipino Americans. I also bridge historical archaeology, heritage management, and international development. Throughout my work, I support community-driven initiatives, focus on minority concerns, and participate in activities geared towards increasing diversity in our profession. As a faculty member at Howard University, an HBCU, I have made concerted efforts to actively recruit Africans, African Americans and other minority students into anthropology. I have organized conferences and workshops, raised funds for scholarships and assistantships, and developed field schools and student internships. I have also built a consistent service record devoted to diversity issues. As Chair of the Gender and Minority Affairs Committee for the Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA), I have attended workshops on diversity and anti-racism to generate new programmatic strategies. I have also supported a successful mentorship program. A seat on the AAA Committee on Minority Issues in Anthropology (CMIA) will allow me to continue similar work and make significant contributions in minority affairs. My experiences and goals mirror the agenda of the CMIA: to encourage more minorities to join the AAA, inspire all AAA members to actively strive towards a diverse community, and define anthropology’s role in the discourse of cultural diversity.
Over 15 years of professional experience in academia blended with a practitioner role as the director of research and evaluation centers have provided me with a unique perspective on challenges facing minority scholars, not only within the discipline but also in other practitioner roles. It continues to be a daunting task for the discipline to attract minorities, both locally and globally. Equally, we still find ourselves bewildered as to how to actively include minorities at all levels of training, research, and teaching and to create space for their voices as part of the sustained intellectual discourse. Needless to reiterate, it is a moral responsibility for us to recognize and amend the situation by constructively engaging and acting on these issues. By its very nature of the discipline, we must embrace diversity, not only rhetorically but in all our actions. If elected, I will actively promote engagement with international scholars and students through focused outreach efforts, facilitate minority student mentoring and shadowing, and advocate for exchange programs among national and international minority scholars. Given my lived experiences as an Asian American, I will bring additional insights and commitment to these issues and help devise innovative ways to engage ourselves with all segments of the population.
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