The Graduate Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto established its Diversity & Decolonization Committee in 2017 in an attempt to grapple with issues related to equity, diversity, inclusion, and justice within our own ranks as well as to find ways to foster an inclusive and equitable environment within the discipline, among Anthropology staff, students and faculty, and throughout the communities in which we live and work.
The committee meets several times per year to discuss such issues as broadening and deepening the pool of diverse applicants and avoiding unconscious bias during hiring, improving our graduate curriculum through such practices as diversifying syllabi, improving our sense of community in the context of diversity, and much more. The committee also sponsors occasional lectures or workshops on these issues.
Membership and how to contact us:
Membership in the DDC varies from year to year but always includes both faculty and graduate students. Whenever possible, the committee will be convened by two co-chairs from the graduate department, one from SCL and the other from ARC or EVO. The current members can be found here, and you can contact the committee directly with your comments, questions, or concerns by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Importance of Diversity
To embrace diversity is not only a matter of equity and justice; it is also a matter of taking one’s role as an educator or scholar seriously. By increasing diversity, we necessarily better our discipline by producing better research. Unfortunately, the value of diversity has not been fully recognized, in part due to the flawed view that increasing diversity leads to a decrease in research excellence. Too often, initiatives under the banner of diversity devote insufficient attention to institutional, disciplinary, and structural change. Many peer-reviewed studies indicate that diverse research teams, departments, and student cohorts foster the development of more creative and novel questions, contributions, and approaches (e.g., Antón et al. 2018; Apfelbaum et al. 2014; Freeman & Haung 2014; Hong & Page 2004). With a diverse representation of people, we are creating an intellectually dynamic environment with a diversity of perspectives and ideas needed in our efforts to decolonize our discipline. To embrace diversity is to strive for excellence.
Antón, S. C., Malhi, R. S., & Fuentes, A. (2018). Race and diversity in US Biological Anthropology: A decade of AAPA initiatives. American journal of physical anthropology, 165, 158-180.
Apfelbaum, E. P., Phillips, K. W., & Richeson, J. A. (2014). Rethinking the baseline in diversity research: Should we be explaining the effects of homogeneity? Perspectives on Psychological Science, 9(3), 235-244.
Freeman, R. B., & Huang, W. (2014). Collaboration: Strength in diversity. Nature News, 513(7518), 305.
Hong, L., & Page, S. (2004). Groups of diverse problem solvers can outperform groups of high‐ability problem solvers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 101, 16385–16389.