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It’s time to vote in the 2014 Elections

Cast your vote by logging in to AnthroGateway, click on the “My Information” page, and then click on the “Vote Now!” button. The deadline to vote is May 31st at 5pm ET.

This month we’ll take a look at the candidates.

Featured today are the candidates for the Committee on Human Rights Undesignated Seat #8: Nicholas Copeland and Alayne Unterberger.

Responsibilities of the committee members include:

  • To assist in organizing human rights forum, sessions, workshops or other events at AAA Annual Meeting;
  • To consider and respond to cases of alleged human rights abuse;
  • To educate anthropologists on human rights;
  • To educate policy makers and others outside of anthropology on anthropology’s perspective and contributions to human rights;
  • To work in coalition with other professional and human rights organizations to promote human rights.

Click here to learn more about the Committee for Human Rights.


Nicholas Copeland

Copeland_NickAs an anthropologist and activist, I am attuned to the politics and anti-politics of human rights in the neoliberal present. I have studied how the violence and exploitation built into liberal socio-economic orders and corporate business models are lived by rural Mayas and Wal-Mart employees, and how communities and activists creatively appropriate human rights discourse to press political demands, articulate distinctive conceptions of justice, valorize radical difference, and imagine alternate futures. I also investigate how states and other sovereigns selectively deploy human rights discourses to justify imperial interventions, pursue profit, manage critique, and to discredit and disperse dissent, and how these strategies create trade offs between individual and political rights on the one hand, and collective and material rights on the other. In my scholarship, activism, and instruction, I affirm a vision of human rights fundamentally incompatible with routinized inequality and material deprivation and emphasize connections between structural and political violence. I believe anthropologists can and should take a prominent role in public debates about human rights. Anthropological methods and analysis are uniquely suited to show connections between diverse struggles for rights and to contextualize conflicting rights claims by illuminating their histories, ethical foundations, and often very contradictory political effects.

Alayne Unterberger

Unterberger_AlayneMy platform rests on the importance that anthropology, especially applied and practicing anthropological projects, can and should play in protecting human rights. Human rights are fundamental to civil society, yet all too often anthropologists stand witness to flagrant human rights violations that include abuses such as sexual and human trafficking, wage theft/economic abuse, physical and emotional abuse. These violations happen in the US and not just in far-away lands as is often depicted in the media. As such, anthropologists have the unique responsibility, and power, to not only highlight such abuses but also their causes, consequences and prevention. As a member of the Committee for Human Rights (Undesignated Seat #8), I propose a two-fold approach to enhancing our contributions to human rights. First, I would highlight the important contributions of fellow anthropologists and how their work – often in collaboration with non-anthropologists – results in strengthening human rights, locally and globally. Secondly, since I have learned that most of my undergraduate students do not know about the UN Declaration on Human Rights, or what is protected therein, I feel that this committee is poised to take a lead in expanding students’ knowledge and appreciation for human rights as a matter of basic local and global humanitarianism and scholarship.

Log-in to AnthroGateway to vote today!


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