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Open Anthro Vol 3-3 Race, Racism and Protesting Anthropology



Open Anthropology, Race, Racism, race and racism, protest, anthropology


The Editors’ Note
Jason Antrosio & Sallie Han

Race has been central to the emergence and development of anthropology in the United States. Anthropologists have used a critique of racialized biological determinism—by either emphasizing cultural explanations or attempting to deconstruct the very notion of a biological basis for racial classifications—as a means to confront the structured racism of American society. In its focus on muting race and racialized explanations, U.S. anthropology has historically paid less attention to racism. Racism was viewed as primarily an illusion about race, overlooking that structured racism itself gives importance to race. While anthropology has therefore often been used to protest structured racism, its institutional position as an anti-race science has often also insulated it from a necessary self-critique of the discipline’s own silences, exclusions, and practices around race.

This issue of Open Anthropology provides a selection of articles which tackle the themes of race, racism, and protest. We open recent work by scholars applying anthropology to contemporary protests, examine the foundational but often muted contributions from anthropologists of color, and feature pieces that ask anthropology to be more self-critical. The articles reveal that although anthropology’s reflections on race and racism may yet be too modest, a potent public anthropology is still possible.
The issue begins with two articles focused on contemporary events and protest. “#Ferguson: Digital protest, hashtag ethnography, and the racial politics of social media in the United States” by Yarimar Bonilla and Jonathan Rosa is a penetrating social analysis of the aftermath of the fatal police shooting of unarmed African American Michael Brown.


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