Experiencing the paradox of both physical distancing and social linking during the current and former pandemics, problems exacerbated by increasing inequalities and extractive politics, our lives have never felt as excruciatingly connected yet far apart. In spite of, or perhaps in response to these problems, civic actions are leading some to create solidarities against all forms of inequalities and oppression, while others retreat to xenophobia, racism, and hate crimes. In this year of profound social change, we explore how anthropological research and knowledge can contribute to understanding this era of intensive civic engagement and also estrangement, alienation, and despair. What are the contexts that contribute to our sense of empowerment and which drive us away from civic engagement? What historical analogies and bio-cultural examples might we use to further our understanding of how differences and recoveries have been negotiated regionally and over time? How can we come together locally, nationally, and globally to build a world that meets collective needs, and how do we know what those needs are?
Our programming will feature scholars engaging with themes of reimagining resilience, including topics of recovery, marginalization, political consciousness, representation, and estrangement. This series builds on our previous theme, Sustainable Humanity, to now explore Sustainable Sociality, opening up inquiries into how engagement, estrangement, and the politics of choice can inspire or preclude sustainable futures and senses of belonging. The 2020-21 programming will include lectures, interactive workshops, and exhibitions allowing us to focus on how anthropological research and knowledge can contribute to helping resolve these salient and pressing sociopolitical issues