Diversity, Inclusion, Justice, and Equity

Mission statement

The department of anthropology sees an immediate need for action to advance diversity, inclusion, equity and social justice movements. We acknowledge the inequities and discrimination that have pervaded U.S. higher education and we acknowledge the colonial and racist past and present of our discipline. Within this framework, we realize the need to provide an enriching and inclusive learning experience for our students that allows them to be their complete selves and fulfill their goals and aspirations. Further, as a land-grant institution, it is our responsibility to be publicly engaged and educate and interact with our community and beyond.

To effectively achieve these goals, we are reflecting on and re-framing how we present course materials, as well as how we engage with our own research topics, collaborators and the public. We are committed to advancing an educational and working environment that recognizes and welcomes the strengths and individual experiences of members of our community. We aim to embrace our intersectional identities that include (but are not limited to) BIPOC, social race, undocumented/DACAmented, language, first-generation students, LGBTQIA+, ethnicity, religion, gender, ability status, veteran status, pregnancy/parental status and socioeconomic status.

This page will document the work we are undertaking and provide resources for research, engagement, general information, and events. Please check back often to see what we are doing and how we are working to engage with students, our community and the discipline in meaningful ways to enact social and academic change in terms of diversity, inclusion, justice and equity. Please hold us to account while we work toward these goals.

Land acknowledgement statement

The University of Nevada, Reno is a land-grant based institution situated on the homelands of the Numu (Northern Paiute), Wašiw (Washoe), Newe (Western Shoshone), and Nuwu (Southern Paiute) peoples who continue to occupy and engage with their homelands through ceremony, culture, and stewardship.

Details of efforts

  • Commitment to repatriation

    The Department of Anthropology recognizes the effect that mass exhumations and subsequent curation and collections of Indigenous ancestral remains and objects has had on these populations. This constitutes a form of structural violence, which must end. Consequently, we will no longer agree to curate additional ancestral remains and we are actively working to repatriate ancestors, funerary objects, sacred objects and objects of cultural patrimony that remain in our museum or laboratory collections. We will also continue to assist other agencies in their efforts to repatriate ancestral remains. This commitment will be carried out in collaboration with Indigenous stakeholders interested in monitoring these actions and policies. Please contact us with any questions or suggestions.

  • Expanded Black Lives Matter statement

    The Department of Anthropology at the University of Nevada, Reno stands in solidarity with our Black students, faculty and staff at this time and at all times. We unequivocally condemn the acts of police (both by those directly involved and by those who witness and say nothing) in the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and so very many others. We decry the murder of Ahmaud Arbery and all victims of racist hate crimes. We demand the perpetrators of these heinous acts be held accountable and we commit to extending that accountability toward those in our classes and on our campus who engage in any manner of racist behavior. We condemn the brutal use of force to dispel peaceful protestors and we abhor the increasing militarization of our police forces that is used to cow, humiliate and kill Black Americans. We will not stand for anti-Blackness in any way, shape, or form.

    As a discipline and as a department, we have not done enough to try to dismantle the structures of racism in this country and on this campus. Although we have contributed academically to demonstrating the fallacy of the notion of biological race and to documenting the terrible effects of individual and systemic racism on Black people in this country and in the world at large, we have not done enough to act on this knowledge. It must be our foremost responsibility to help change, dispel and dissolve the social, ideological and institutional structures that continue to devalue and dismiss Black lives. We are committing ourselves to action, not just academics.

    We urge all leadership and faculty on campus to reach out and offer solidarity and promise to take concrete action towards making a more just, a more equitable, and above all, a safer space for everyone at the University of Nevada, Reno. Returning to the status quo after this period of protest is unacceptable and we must move forward. Effecting this type of positive change will require active commitment and engagement from everyone, regardless of background, from across campus and throughout our community. As a department, we commit to doing exactly that to create and maintain meaningful change in our institutional and public spaces.

    We are listening and we promise to take action. Black Lives Matter.

  • Current activities
    • Working to recruit and retain students and faculty who are representative of the diversity of our communities
    • Diversifying course materials and syllabi
    • Decolonizing faculty and graduate student research
    • Sponsoring activities in the department to educate and promote collegiality (e.g., book/movie discussion clubs, trainings)
    • Inviting outside speakers to promote these efforts
    • Promoting professionalism in the discipline through training and teaching activities
    • Collecting and sharing resources to promote these efforts
    • Engaging in open dialogue surrounding these issues among faculty, staff and students
    • Initiating a new speaker series in our department featuring faculty and students engaged in these efforts
    • Evaluating policing on campus
    • Implementation of Anthropology Equity Scholarship
  • Resources