1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Inequalities, Colonial Legacies, and the Politics of Difference

As a discipline dedicated to the study of human difference, Anthropology is foundationally concerned with cross-cultural comparisons of hierarchy and inequality in both ancient and modern societies. As a discipline that emerged from 19th century Euro-imperialism, Anthropology has continuously engaged with colonial and modern systems of inequality that turn on differences like race, ethnicity, language, nationality, gender, and sexualities. The discipline concerns itself with the dynamics of these systems, as well with ways in which they are resisted, reframed and co-opted . Anthropologists at UVA combine ethnographically and historically grounded comparative enquiry to illuminate the dynamics of these processes in particular local circumstances and across time and space. Their work reveals many facets of difference and inequality: overtly violent, institutionally insidious, and familiarly quotidian. It also attends to the power of everyday negotiations and resistance, as well as social movements operating at intersecting scales and locales. They also remain open to the multiple possibilities still expressive beyond anthropological thought, and pay as much to the process as to the product of the anthropological enterprise.