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This month we’ll take a look at the candidates.
Featured today are the candidates for the Ethics Committee Biological Seat: Julie Lesnik and Bethany Turner
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.
I have a broad professional history in anthropology, which has furnished me with the experience necessary for a position on the Ethics Committee. I have taught at many different schools in Chicago including small, private establishments, large research-driven public universities, and a minority-serving institute. The student body as well as the faculty at every type of school faces their own challenges. Having worked in many different academic environments, I have an understanding of the challenges that need to be overcome in order to implement ethics training in various anthropology curricula. I have also worked on four field schools on three different continents. I have experience navigating many ethics problems that can present themselves in these settings, such as research team power dynamics, relations with local populations, and ethical treatment of human remains. I am able to advise AAA members who may be currently encountering these issues. Finally, I have been active in the AAA since 2008 and I look forward to contributing more in the years to come. Serving on the Ethics Committee would be a great way to engage with the membership and help promote awareness of the ethical dilemmas we all face in our chosen field.
I am a social bioarchaeologist working primarily in the Peruvian Andes to study patterns of diet, mobility, health, and identity among indigenous groups who lived in ancient imperial states such as the Wari and Inca, and under Spanish colonialism. I have also collaboratively studied human remains from archaeological contexts in Middle Woodland-Period Florida, Medieval Mongolia, Early-Christian Sudanese Nubia, and Emancipation-Period Georgia. All of these research contexts involved explicit and sustained efforts to engage in context-specific best practices, from excavation to compliance with NAGPRA and museum policies, to engagement with descent communities, to ongoing dialog regarding intrusive analysis and repatriation.
My training involved a strong and consistent focus on skeletal ethics and public engagement, which I now infuse into training and mentoring students in the field and lab. I believe that studying human remains is a privilege, one that imparts a heavy responsibility on the researcher to commit to the nuanced and dynamic nature of ethical practices. Because of this, I have published peer-reviewed book chapters centered on the ongoing negotiation of ethical issues in the study of ancient human remains in the US and abroad. I would translate these experiences and perspectives into productive contributions as a member of the AAA Committee on Ethics.
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