metooanthro is a collective of anthropologists* from around the world committed to making our discipline a safer and more just space by combatting sexual assault and harassment. This collective grew out of a meeting of anthropologists at the Shifting States conference for AAS/ASA/ASAANZ in December, 2017.
Anthropologists face unique working conditions – both inside and outside the university – that increase our exposure to the risk of sexual assault and harassment. We want to create a safer culture at our conferences, campuses, field sites, and all spaces in which anthropologists work.
We begin by acknowledging that that many groups in our community are disproportionately affected by assault and harassment, and are further discriminated when attempting to seek redress.
“Solidarity does not assume that our struggles are the same struggles, or that our pain is the same pain, or that our hope is for the same future. Solidarity involves commitment, and work, as well as the recognition that even if we do not have the same feelings, or the same lives, or the same bodies, we do live on common ground.”
― Sara Ahmed
We are currently working on three main actions and collecting personal stories of harassment in the discipline.
We need to hear from more voices, not the same voices, in this work. We encourage all to participate.
* The metooanthro collective is a broad and evolving group. At the moment, our emails, social media and website are run by Esther, Hannah and Mythily, who are all based in Australia.
Here you can find a collection of resources about the issue of sexual assault and harassment in anthropology. If you know of any other resources that could be useful, please email metooanthro.
How to respond to and support others:
Naomi Quinn – ‘What do do about sexual harassment: A short course for chairs’
Laura A. LeVon – ‘Teaching fugitive anthropology with Maya Berry and colleagues’
Kristen Drybread – Writing about violence Part I; Writing about violence Part II
Anthropology blogs and popular reporting on anthropology and sexual assault:
The New Ethnographer – ‘Gendered Bodies’
Cynthia Mahmood – India’s shame: The personal ordeal of Cynthia Mahmood
Ann Gibbons & Elizabeth Culotta – ‘Anthropologists say no to sexual harassment’
Alix Johnson – The Self at stake: Thinking fieldwork and sexual violence; Paranoid reading, writing, and research: secrecy in the field; Violence and vulnerability in anthropology
Megan Steffen – Doing fieldwork after Henrietta Schmerler
Bianca C. Williams – MeToo: A crescendo in the discourse about sexual harassment, fieldwork, and the academy Part I; MeToo: A crescendo in the discourse about sexual harassment, fieldwork, and the academy Part II
Kate Clancy – ‘I had no power to say that’s not okay: Reports of harassment and abuse in the field’
Mingwei Huang – ‘Vulnerable observers: Notes on fieldwork and rape’
Nell Gluckman – How Henrietta Schmerler was lost, then found
Melissa Demian – Anthropology after #MeToo
Danielle Bradford & Charlotte Payne – Fieldwork safety, or: ‘don’t grab my pussy’
Lexie Onofrei – #MeToo in anthropology: A call for updating codes of conduct in the field
Elizabeth Beckmann – #MeToo in Anthropology (on the origins of a movement, and its future)
Holly Walters – #MeToo Anthropology (reflecting on stories and potential responses)
Anthropology News #MeToo series:
Mingwei Huang, Vivian Lu, Susan MacDougall & Megan Steffen – Disciplinary violence
Cheryl Rodriguez – Black women and the fight against sexual violence
Gil Schmerler & Megan Steffen – The disavowal of Henrietta Schmerler
Shan-Estelle Brown – #MeToo conversations on campus
Kathleen S. Fine-Dare – The long view on #MeToo
Mariam Durrani – #MeToo, believing survivors, and cooperative digital communication
MeTooAnthro with Mythily Meher, Hannah Gould, Martha McIntyre & Tanya King for Anthropology @ Deakin: Episode #13
Emma Louise Backe for This Anthro Life – ‘#MeToo: Stories in the age of survivorship’
Elizabeth Watt (interviewed by The Familiar Strange) – ‘Ep. #9 Calculated risk: Elizabeth Watt talks sexual power, politics, and vulnerability in the field’
A bibliography of writing on anthropology, sexual assault, gendered harassment, and identity:
Berry, MJ, Chávez Argüelles, C, Cordis, S, Ihmoud, S & Velásquez Estrada, E 2017, ‘Towards a fugitive anthropology: Gender, race, and violence in the field’, Cultural Anthropology, vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 537-565.
Bohannon, J 2013, ‘Survey of peers in fieldwork highlights an unspoken risk’, Science, vol. 340, no. 6130, p. 265.
Clark, I & Grant, A 2015, ‘Sexuality and danger in the field: Starting an uncomfortable conversation‘, Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford: Special issue on Sexual Harassment in the Field, vol. 7, no. 1, p. 1-14.
Congdon, V 2015, ‘The ‘lone female researcher’: Isolation and safety upon arrival in the field‘. Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford: Special issue on Sexual Harassment in the Field, vol. 7, no. 1, p. 15-24.
Isidoros, K 2015, ‘Between purity and danger: Fieldwork approaches to movement, protection and legitimacy for a female ethnographer in the Sahara Desert‘, Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford: Special issue on Sexual Harassment in the Field, vol. 7, no. 1, p. 39-54.
Johansson, L 2015, ‘Dangerous liaisons: risk, positionality and power in women’s anthropological fieldwork‘, Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford: Special issue on Sexual Harassment in the Field, vol. 7, no. 1, p. 55-63.
Kloß, ST 2017, ‘Sexual(ized) harassment and ethnographic fieldwork: A silenced aspect of social research’, Ethnography, vol. 18, no. 3, p. 396-414.
Krishnan, S 2015, ‘Dispatches from a ‘rogue’ ethnographer: exploring homophobia and queer visibility‘,Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford: Special issue on Sexual Harassment in the Field, vol. 7, no. 1, p. 64-79.
Lewin, E & Leap, WL (eds.) 1996, Out in the field: Reflections of gay and lesbian anthropologists, University of Illinois Press, Urbana.
McDougall, S 2015, ‘Will you marry my son? Ethnography, culture and the performance of gender‘, Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford: Special issue on Sexual Harassment in the Field, vol. 7, no. 1, p. 25-38.
Miller, T 2015 ‘‘Listen to your mother’: negotiating gender-based safe space during fieldwork‘, Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford: Special issue on Sexual Harassment in the Field, vol. 7, no. 1, p. 80-87.
Moreno, E 2005, ‘Rape in the field’, in D Kulick & M Willson (eds.) Taboo: Sex, identity and erotic subjectivity in anthropological fieldwork, new edn, Routledge, London, pp. 166-189.
Nelson, RG, Rutherford, N, Hinde, K & Clancy, KBH 2017, ‘Signalling safety: Characterizing fieldwork experiences and their implications for career trajectories’, American Anthropologist, vol. 119, no. 4, pp. 710-722.
Pandey, A 2009, ‘Unwelcome and unwelcoming encounters’ in P Ghassem-Fachandi (ed.) Violence: Ethnographic encounters, Berg, Oxford, pp. 135-144.
Pollard, A 2009, ‘Field of screams: Difficulty and ethnographic fieldwork’, Anthropology Matters, vol. 11, no. 2.
Scheper-Hughes, N 2016, ‘James X: A reflection on rape, race, and reception’, Anthropology Today, vol. 32, no. 5, pp. 21-25.
Schneider, LT 2020, ‘Sexual violence during research: How the unpredictability of fieldwork and the right to risk collide with academic bureaucracy and expectations’, Critique of Anthropology, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 173-93.
Williams, BC 2009, ‘”Don’t ride the bus!”: And other warnings women anthropologists are given during fieldwork’, Transforming Anthropology, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 155-158.
Willson, M 2005, ‘Afterword: Perspective and difference: Sexualisation, the field, and the ethnographer’, in D Kulick & M Willson (eds.) Taboo: Sex, identity and erotic subjectivity in anthropological fieldwork, new edn, Routledge, London, pp. 190-207.