Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2454-0063

Year of Publication

2021

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department/School/Program

Anthropology

First Advisor

Dr. Ann Kingsolver

Abstract

This dissertation is an ethnographic case study of inequity and injustice in U.S. higher education built upon and organized by the logics of settler colonial white supremacism. Drawing on fifteen months of multimodal ethnographic research in the U.S., it focuses on racially minoritized students’ experiences of graduate education in U.S. anthropology that has contributed to and benefited from settler colonial white supremacism through its professionalization and (re)production of anthropological knowledge. The dissertation highlights how racially minoritized anthropologists across different generations and subdisciplines experience(d) marginalization and negotiate(d) social and institutional power relationships during their graduate training.

Central to the revelation coming through racially minoritized anthropologists’ narrated stories is that structural violence and everyday violence are intrinsically intertwined and co-constitutive. As I conceptualize this mutual co-construction as structural everyday and everyday structural violence, structural violence manifests in white professors and students’ harmful everyday practices, while also everyday practices enable and (re)produce structural violence without holding offenders accountable. Yet, despite anthropology’s methodological commitment to ethnographic accounts and theoretical emphasis on promotion of human diversity, historically white anthropology organizations dismiss and silence racially minoritized students’ everyday experiences of marginalization. These injurious incidents occur in quotidian and routinized moments and places in daily operations of anthropological organizations, such as classrooms, professors’ offices, email correspondences, departmental meetings and events, graduate student gatherings and offices, hallways, conference sessions, syllabi, (hidden) curricula, social media, and departmental policies and rules.

Through the stories from racially minoritized anthropologists, the dissertation illuminates the contradiction between U.S. anthropology’s claimed commitment to equity and its collusion and collision with settler colonial white supremacism dovetailed with U.S. exceptionalism, eurocentrism, and provincialization of anthropology. In so doing, the chapters in the dissertation show how the multifaceted structural everyday and everyday structural inequity come to materialize through everyday expressiveness of emotions, construction and everyday practice of institutional diversity policies, and U.S. anthropology organizations’ uncritical complacency to U.S.-specific racializing categories. At the same time, the racially minoritized anthropologists’ stories point to the absolute necessity for every member of U.S. anthropology organizations to engage in structural everyday and everyday structural praxis towards building equitable graduate training, particularly by interrogating whiteness and white supremacist ideologies in every daily aspect of the organizational operations.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/etd.2021.168

Funding Information

2019 University of Kentucky Women's Club Endowment Award

2018 Student Professional Development Grant, The Center for Graduate & Professional Diversity Initiatives, Office of Institutional Diversity, University of Kentucky

Available for download on Friday, May 26, 2023

Share

COinS