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Faye Harrison, Professor of African American Studies and Anthropology

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Faye HarrisonFaye Harrison

Faye Harrison is celebrated in her field for changing the way anthropologists conduct their work in North America. Her 1991 book, Decolonizing Anthropology, has become required reading in anthropology courses all over the nation.

Through the publication of W.E.B. Du Bois and Anthropology and African-American Pioneers in Anthropology, as well as her upcoming From the Outside Within: Reworking Anthropology as a Labor of Love, Harrison’s work has continued to engage the anthropological community. In 2005, she was named the winner of the Society for the Anthropology of North America (SANA) Prize for Distinguished Achievement in the Critical Study of North America, which is given annually in honor of a senior-level anthropologist who has made broad-based contributions to the field.

“She has the rare distinction of being a productive and respected scholar, an award winning teacher and a beloved mentor, and a skilled leader who never loses sight of engaged activism,” says Lee D. Baker, SANA president and Duke University cultural anthropologist. “I think if you look closely at the depth and breadth of her research, selfless service, and gallant leadership, there are very few scholars who can match her inestimable energy and impact on the discipline of anthropology.”

Harrison received her B.A. in anthropology from Brown University in 1974 and her M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology from Stanford University in 1977 and 1982, respectively. She joined the UF faculty during the fall 2004 semester, after spending thirteen years at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. A political anthropologist, Harrison is recognized internationally for her work on the political economy of social inequality and human rights. In 2001, she presented her work on race and gender at the nongovernmental forum organized in conjunction with the United Nations World Conference against Racism, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance. She is also the former president of the Association of Black Anthropologists.

“I came to the University of Florida for three main reasons,” Harrison says. “First, the high caliber and national reputation of the Department of Anthropology was definitely a motivating factor. Secondly, I knew that UF would be an excellent place to train graduate students interested in the African diaspora and the entanglements of race, gender, and class that shape the contours of sociocultural life and political practices. Finally, I was excited about having the chance to bring my interests in diaspora, social inequality, human rights as well as intellectual history and social theory into the development of African American studies as a respected academic pursuit.”

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