Moderated by Shanti Parikh (Washington Univ. in St. Louis) and Carole McGranahan (Univ. of Colorado Boulder)
The 2016 election of Donald Trump surprised and gravely disappointed many anthropologists and academics. We were stunned by the inaccuracies of the pre-election polls, as well as the fact that 46% of voters felt Trump’s lack of qualifications, misogyny, rejection of science and fact, and pathological lying could be overlooked. Trump’s election certainly revealed anthropology’s own liberal blind spots to the pervasiveness in the U.S. of racism and sexism, resentment toward discourses of multiculturalism, white rural economic disenfranchisement, and our own elitism. The election also served as a wake-up call when it comes to activism. It has galvanized communities across the United States--and around the world--to form grassroots progressive resistance movements. Anthropologists and anthropological organizations have responded forcefully, getting involved in street protests, social media, local political events, and releasing statements condemning hateful policies such as the Muslim travel ban. The election has further clarified how easily power structures texture internal workings of activism in the U.S., and reaffirmed that progressive actions must work harder at garnering a broad base of support. This Town Hall provides a forum for AES17 conferees to discuss how we got here and to think out loud about what we as anthropologists can do in our roles as scholars and community members.