Statement from the CSUN Department of Anthropology
The faculty, staff, and counselors of the Department of Anthropology at CSUN stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and all Black members of our CSUN family who demand justice, equality, and an end to police brutality. We mourn the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade, and countless other Black members of our society who have died and continue to die at the hands of the criminal justice system. We condemn this inhumane oppression, and support all efforts to transform the criminal justice system, to rid our society of systemic racism, and to restore dignity and respect for all human beings.
As a collective devoted to the study of humanity—its origins, diversity, forms of cooperation, and cultural expressions—we reflect on the long history that lurks beneath today’s acts of devaluing, criminalizing, and over-policing Black people. We are upset that after much writing, teaching, discussing, and protesting, racism persists. It is deeply ingrained in many of our institutions, including academic institutions, and continues to be present in our daily lives and interactions. It is painful, burdensome, and debilitating. We are far from qualifying as a post-racial society. There is more work to be done, especially in the area of critically examining white privilege and power, and encouraging those with privilege and power to use it to firmly and openly defend the need for equality and justice, and to affect positive change.
A call to critically examine privilege and power necessitates reflection on Anthropology’s past, its role in the legacy of colonialism, racism in science, and the egregious treatment of indigenous people. The loss of human life, culture, and dignity continues to weigh heavily on our minds, despite many examples of early activism in the discipline. Reckoning with this dishonorable past has become essential to the discipline’s efforts to improve and to become more inclusive. Our current world's ongoing violence and discrimination necessitates reckoning with the past in a deeper way, with a concerted effort to address injustices both within our discipline and more broadly in our society. We are committed to doing the work.
In our strong support of the Black Lives Matter movement, we pledge to combat systemic racism and to work to create an inclusive and just society.
Welcome to the CSUN Department of Anthropology!
Anthropology is the academic study of the bases and forms of human diversity, and the innovative ways humans have sought to meet their needs over time. Anthropology is also a practice that is used to generate solutions to contemporary human problems, such as access to decent work, shelter, healthcare, and the right to enjoy one’s cultural heritage. Academic and applied studies of Anthropology promote respect for cultural difference and human dignity.
Our faculty and students are recognized leaders whose research and community engagement comprise a long list of significant accomplishments and accolades. They engage in field experiences together and that collectively span the world including projects in the Channel Islands, Southern California, New Mexico, Baja California, Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, Peru, Belgium, France, Scotland, Senegal, Botswana, the Philippines, Thailand, and Yap. They also contribute their expertise to many local community organizations, museums, schools, non-governmental organizations, and businesses in the San Fernando Valley and greater Los Angeles.
The Department offers the following array of programs: