New perspectives on race, gender and human rights

Published: June 24th, 2008

Category: Spotlights

Faye Harrison

Faye Harrison

Professor of African American Studies and Anthropology
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Faye Harrison is celebrated in her field for changing the way anthropologists conduct their work in North America. Her 1991 book, “Decolonizing Anthropology,” has become required reading in anthropology courses all over the nation.

Through the publication of “W.E.B. Du Bois and Anthropology” and “African-American Pioneers in Anthropology,” as well as her upcoming “Resisting Racism and Xenophobia: Global Perspectives on Race, Gender, and Human Rights,” Harrison’s work has continued to engage the anthropological community. In 2004, she was named the winner of the Society for the Anthropology of North America (SANA) Prize for Distinguished Achievement in the Critical Study of North America, which is given annually in honor of a senior-level anthropologist who has made broad-based contributions to the field.

A Caribbeanist and African diaspora specialist, Harrison received her bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Brown University in 1974 and her master’s and doctorate in anthropology from Stanford University in 1977 and 1982, respectively. She joined the UF faculty during the fall 2004 semester, after spending 13 years at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Harrison, also a political anthropologist, is recognized internationally for her work on the political economy of social inequality and human rights. In 2001, she presented her work on race and gender at the nongovernmental forum organized in conjunction with the United Nations World Conference against Racism, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance. She is a former president of the Association of Black Anthropologists and currently chairs the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences’ Commission on the Anthropology of Women.

“I came to the University of Florida for three main reasons,” Harrison says. “First, the high caliber and national reputation of the Department of Anthropology was definitely a motivating factor. Secondly, I knew that UF would be an excellent place to train graduate students interested in the African diaspora and the entanglements of race, gender, and class that shape the contours of sociocultural life and political practices. Finally, I was excited about having the chance to bring my interests in diaspora, social inequality, human rights as well as intellectual history and social theory into the development of African American studies as a respected academic pursuit.”

Photo credit: Kristen Bartlett Grace — University Photography

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