I wanted to write you and tell you how much I was looking forward to going to Minneapolis this week, because I would see you there, and we are anthropologists of a purpose.
I wanted to write you, and I got derailed.
I wanted to tell you where to find me, find us, find each other. I wanted to tell you to come to the late-breaking session, Towards An Unapologetically Black Anthropology: Reflections on Grief and Rage, on Thursday, November 17th at 4:00 pm, to learn from our colleagues, Savannah Shange, Alix Chapman, Courtney Desiree Morris, Ashante Reese, Christen Smith, Brittany Webb, and Bianca Williams.
I wanted to tell you that on Thursday night, from 6:00 to 8:00, there is a panel at the Minneapolis Central Public Library where we can hear Christen Smith speak about Afro-Paradise: Blackness, Violence and Performance in Brazil with Angela Stuesse, who will talk about Scratching Out A Living: Latinos, Race and Work in the Deep South, their new books on race, immigration and war.
I wanted to tell you that the Association of Black Anthropologists has organized a memorial for Prince on Thursday from 7:45-9:00 pm, to collectively grieve and celebrate while reflecting on Prince’s life and art, queer sexuality, spirituality, labor exploitation, popular culture, and #BlackLivesMatter.
I wanted to tell you, please come or send your allies to the APLA Business Meeting on Saturday, from 12-1:30, where the agenda includes a discussion led by Awa Abdi and Bianca Williams on “Racism, BLM, and Immigrant Rights: Activism in the Academy.”
I wanted to tell you to speak about your own work to other anthropologists who want to teach #BlackLivesMatter. Tell other anthropologists about this syllabus, and other syllabi, and the pedagogical approaches that we have collected here and will continue to add to for the rest of the semester. Tell other anthropologists to come get their people.
I wanted to tell you that last week, my colleague in Spanish taught a unit on Franco’s Spain and the rise of fascism, my colleague in composition gave students the opportunity to peer review speeches by Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton (they all chose Donald Trump), my colleague in American Studies taught about Standing Rock, and I spoke with my legal anthropology students about another of the big winners on election night, the death penalty, and who loses when we affirm the state’s right to kill.
I wanted to tell you that you are sustaining so many conversations, vigils, tears, silences and discussions this week, and that you are holding open spaces for our students, our communities, and for yourselves to survive. And that some of you, of us, have no choice, and are so tired and drained and tapped out, but keep going and going because not surviving is not an option.
Beloved, there is nothing romantic about surviving oppression and pain, and nothing romantic about resilience, courage or simmering rage. But I wanted to tell you that if you are reading this, I love you.Sameena Mulla is (still) Associate Professor in the Department of Social and Cultural Sciences at Marquette University, and co-chair of the Gender-Based Violence Topical Interest Group of the Society for Applied Anthropology. She is the author of The Violence of Care: Rape Victims, Forensic Nurses, and Sexual Assault Intervention (New York University Press, 2014), in which she explores the intersection of therapeutic and criminal justice regimes in U.S. post-rape care. The book was recognized for its contributions in research on gender and health with an honorable mention in the Eileen Basker Memorial Prize from the Society of Medical Anthropology. Her current research, funded by the National Science Foundation’s Law and Social Science Program, is a collaborative interdisciplinary ethnography on the use of professional expertise in sexual assault prosecutions. She has published numerous articles and book chapters on sexual assault and its relationship to visual technologies, kinship, and ethnographic insights into justice.