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2021 Executive Programming Committee

2021 Theme: Truth and Responsibility

EPC Chair, Bianca C. Williams (she/her) is an associate professor of anthropology at The Graduate Center CUNY, where she is the Faculty Lead for the PublicsLab. Williams examines the strategies Black people develop for maintaining emotional wellness while surviving and resisting the effects of racism and sexism. Her research focuses on Black women, happiness, and travel; race, gender, & equity in higher education; feminist pedagogies; and emotional labor within leadership and organizing spaces. Williams is the author of The Pursuit of Happiness: Black Women, Diasporic Dreams, and the Politics of Emotional Transnationalism (Duke U Press, 2018).

Cory-Alice André-Johnson is a PhD candidate at the University of Virginia Department of Anthropology. Her dissertation, entitled “Between Birth and Bones: Not-Knowing in the Madagascar Sand,” engages the ways that lying, misinformation, the unknown, and the unknowable constitute positive forms of self and social construction rather than lacuna or deficits. As knowledge accumulation and production remain privileged spaces within colonial ontologies, André-Johnson asks how being and becoming might instead be lived through “not-knowing,” which encompasses a wide range of practices geared towards reducing, restricting, or withholding knowledge from others as well as from oneself.

Whitney Battle-Baptiste is an associate professor of archaeology and Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Center at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Her research is primarily focused on how the intersections of race, gender, class, and sexuality look through an archaeological lens. Her book, Black Feminist Archaeology (Left Coast Press, 2011), outlines the basic tenets of Black feminist thought and research for archaeologists and shows how it can be used to improve contemporary historical archaeology as a whole.

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Catherine Besteman is a professor of anthropology at Colby College and a curator. Her ethnographic and theoretical work focuses on militarism, security, borders, race, migration, and intellectual and creative alterity, subjects she tries to bring to various publics through books as well as local and statewide curatorial projects involving performance, art, film, and collective actions. Recent work includes Militarized Global Apartheid and Security EmpiresMaking Refuge, and Life by Algorithms, as well as the curatorial projects Making Migration Visible and Freedom and Captivity.

Rita Denny, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of EPIC (Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Community), an anthropologist in and of business and a founding partner of Practica Group LLC, a consulting firm. She is co-author, with Patricia Sunderland, of Doing Anthropology in Consumer Research (2007) and co-editor of the Handbook of Anthropology in Business (2014).

Kelly Fayard, a citizen of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians,  is an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Denver.  Her research includes Indigenous anthropology (specializing in Native North America), Indigenous methodologies,  kinship, race/biology, stereotypes, Indigenous film and media, interactions between tribal nations and the federal and state government, relationships between museums and Indigenous communities, and Indigenous feminisms.

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Justin Hosbey is an assistant professor of anthropology at Emory University. His research explores the rise of educational privatization in the Mississippi Delta and Gulf Coast regions of the United States, and the responses of local Black communities to this transformation in public education.

Angela C. Jenks is an Associate Professor of Teaching in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine. Her research examines how biomedical institutions construct and reinforce understandings of human difference and how these understandings shape responses to health inequities. She is the editor of the Teaching and Learning Anthropology Journal.

Andrea Morrell is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Guttman Community College CUNY. She writes about the carceral state, whiteness, and prison expansion in the US. Her work has been published in North American Dialogue and Transforming Anthropology.

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Robin Nelson is an assistant professor of anthropology at Santa Clara University. She is a biocultural anthropologist who studies familial relationships, parental investment, adult health, and child growth and development in the Caribbean and Caribbean Diaspora.

Jennifer Raff is a geneticist and an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Kansas. She studies the population history of Indigenous American peoples, and writes for the general public about issues in genetics and science literacy.

Ashanté Reese is an assistant professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Her work examines how anti-Blackness shapes the food system and how urban residents navigate these constraints. Her first book, Black Food Geographies: Race, Self-Reliance, and Food Access in Washington, D.C.,  was published by UNC Press in April 2019.

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Damien Sojoyner is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of California Irvine. He researches the relationship among the public education system, prisons and the construction of Black masculinity in Southern California. His book, entitled First Strike: Educational Enclosures in Black Los Angeles, was released by the University of Minnesota Press.

Deborah A. Thomas, past Executive Co-Chair of the 2009 AAA conference, is the R. Jean Brownlee Professor of Anthropology, and the Director of the Center for Experimental Ethnography at the University of Pennsylvania.  She is the author of Political Life in the Wake of the Plantation, Exceptional Violence, and Modern Blackness.  Thomas co-directed the documentary films Bad Friday, and Four Days in May, and she is the co-curator of a multi-media installation titled Bearing Witness:  Four Days in West Kingston.  She is the editor of American Anthropologist.  Prior to her life in the academy, she was a professional dancer with the New York-based Urban Bush Women.

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Local Site Committee in Baltimore


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