Toward a Radical Humanism in Anthropology

Since the earliest days of the discipline, anthropological knowledge production has been deeply rooted in a set of foundational distinctions that have been integral to the creation of regimes of domination, eradication, and extraction that continue to pose existential challenges to the entire globe. Eurocentric perspectives based on anti-Blackness and white supremacist, colonialist assumptions have long insisted upon the separation of “nature” and “culture” and “self” and “other.” These dichotomies have structured research, teaching, and the training of generations of anthropologists with far-reaching and often detrimental impacts on marginalized communities around the world. This panel serves to open a series of conversations dedicated to exploring the possibilities of an anthropology grounded in a commitment to “radical humanism.” In a radically humanist anthropology, equality, connection, and becoming serve as guiding principles that (1) disrupt predominant conceptualizations of a stable, knowable, liberal subject in “the field,” (2) recognize the many ways that humans and non-humans are entangled, and (3) center justice, equity, and the reduction of harm as key aims of the anthropological project.

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