Task Force Goals

The Task Force on Race and Racism in Anthropology has a number of goals that we will implement on an ongoing basis:

  • Work to develop a survey instrument to measure and analyze the current status of racialized anthropologists in the profession with sections, committees and others groups.
  • Work with the AAA staff to develop and maintain a website that will serve as a central place for information about and links to AAA publications, committees, task forces, pertinent sections, internships, mentoring, grant programs that have to do with race and racism in anthropology. We envision this to become a permanent and ongoing project.
  • Suggest specific policies and practices to implement the recruitment of students of color through new or existing pipeline programs, summer programs, or internships.
  • Work with sections to increase recruitment in subfields such as biological anthropology and archeology where racialized groups are severely underrepresented.
  • Serve as a source of information for students, faculty, and interested parties to learn about initiatives directed at students and faculty who are racialized minorities in anthropology.


The task force is made up of a diverse group of anthropologists who represent the various subfields. We attempt to address issues of race, racism, and diversity in the discipline from the perspective of faculty, practitioner, and students.

  • Karen Brodkin

    Co-chair (2012-2013)


    Photo of Karen BrodkinKaren Brodkin is Research Professor at UCLA, a former Director of the Women’s Studies Program, and Professor of Anthropology and Women’s Studies at UCLA. She teaches and writes about race, gender, labor and grassroots activism. Her books include Caring by the Hour: Women, Work and Organizing at Duke Medical Center; How Jews Became White Folks and What that Says about Race in America; and two recent books on activism in Los Angeles: Making Democracy Matter: Identity and Activism in Los Angeles and Power Politics: Environmental Activism in South Los Angeles.

  • Raymond Codrington

    Co-chair (2012-2013)


    Photo of Raymond CodringtonRaymond Codrington holds substantive experience in research, policy analysis, and program development and management. He is currently an instructor at the New York Hall of Science’s Innovation Institute. He held the position of senior research associate with the Aspen Institute’s Roundtable on Community Change. In addition, Codrington served as an independent curator and consultant with the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles. His work with museums includes positions as the founding director of the Julian C. Dixon Institute for Cultural Studies and curator in the Department of Anthropology at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the Sandy Boyd Postdoctoral Fellow at the Field Museum’s Center for Cultural Understanding and Change.

  • Lee Baker

    Appointed Member  (2012-2013)


    Photo of Lee BakerLee D. Baker is a cultural anthropologist, author, and Duke University faculty member. His current titles at Duke are Professor of Cultural Anthropology and African & African American Studies as well as Dean of Academic Affairs. He taught at Columbia University from 1997 to 2000. Baker has authored two books and more than sixty academic articles, reviews, and chapters related to cultural anthropology, among other fields.

  • Michael Blakey

    Appointed Member  (2012-2013)


    Dr. BlakeyDr. Blakey is an American anthropologist who specializes in physical anthropology and its connection to the history of African Americans. Since 2001, he has been a National Endowment for the Humanities professor at the College of William & Mary, where he directs the Institute for Historical Biology. Previously, he was a professor at Howard University and the curator of Howard University’s Montague Cobb Biological Anthropology Laboratory.

  • Pem Buck

    Appointed Member  (2012-2013)


    Pem Davidson Buck is a Professor of Anthropology at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College in Kentucky.  Her work has focused on whiteness, on the discourses of inequality, incarceration, and most recently on the relationship between state formation and punishment.   She is the author of Worked to the Bone: Race, Class, Power, and Privilege in Kentucky (Monthly Review) and of an introductory textbook, In/Equality: An Alternative Anthropology (CAT Publishing).

  • Elizabeth Chin

    Appointed Member  (2012-2013)


    Pem BuckElizabeth Chin is an anthropologist specializing in the critical study of children and childhood, consumption, and social inequality. She has conducted research in the United States, Latin America, and Haiti (where her work focuses on dance and politics). In 2006, she was named to the Young America’s Foundation “Dirty Dozen” list for her course “The Unbearable Whiteness of Barbie,” which they found to be an exemplary instance of “bizarre, leftist activism in the classroom.” She is at work on a large scale project on Katherine Dunham’s anthropological contribution, and is currently developing a demonstration of the Jefferson/Hemings family across six generations, using Barbie dolls to illustrate the complex ties of descent, race, affinity, and power.

  • Joseph Jones

    Appointed Member (2012-2013)


    Jones photo_webJoseph Jones is Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the College of William and Mary. His teaching and research interests include African diaspora biohistory, race and racism, and science and public engagement. His current research involves biocultural analysis of lead exposure for enslaved Africans in early New York. He managed phase two of the American Anthropological Association’s RACE public education initiative and is co-author of RACE: Are We So Different?, a companion book to the program’s museum exhibit and website.

  • Agustin Fuentes

    Appointed Member  (2012-2013)


    Augustin FuentesAgustín Fuentes is a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame. His current research includes cooperation and community in human evolution, ethnoprimatology and multispecies anthropology, evolutionary theory, and interdisciplinary approaches to human nature(s).  Fuentes’ recent books include Evolution of Human Behavior (Oxford) and Race, Monogamy, and other lies they told you: busting myths about human nature (U of California).

  • Joe Watkins

    Appointed Member  (2012-2013)


    Joe Watkins, a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, has been involved in anthropology for more than forty-five years. He became the Supervisory Anthropologist and the Chief of the Tribal Relations and American Cultures Program of the National Park Service in Washington, DC, in 2013 after serving six years as the Director of Native American Studies Program at the University of Oklahoma. His study interests are concerned with the ethical practice of anthropology and anthropology’s relationships with descendant communities and populations. He has published numerous articles aimed at increasing the conversation between Indigenous groups and anthropologists.

  • Leith Mullings

    Ex-Officio  (2012-2013)


    Leith MullingsLeith Mullings is a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the City University of New York Graduate Center and President of the American Anthropological Association. She received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Chicago.
    Professor Mullings’ research and writing has focused on structures of inequality and resistance to them. Her research began in Africa and she has written about traditional medicine and religion in postcolonial Ghana, as well as about women’s roles in Africa. In the U.S. her work has centered on urban communities. Through the lens of feminist and critical race theory, she has analyzed a variety of topics including kinship, representation, gentrification, health disparities and social movements.

  • Monica Heller

    Ex-Officio  (2012-2013)


    Monica HellerMonica Heller is President-Elect of the American Anthropological Association. Dr. Heller is a faculty member at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto, where she is now Full Professor with a cross-appointment to the Department of Anthropology. She is also has a nominal appointment in the Département d’études françaises of the Université de Moncton. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and Vice-President and President-Elect of the American Anthropological Association. Her work focuses on transformations of ideologies and practices of language and nation in the globalized new economy, with an ethnographic focus on francophone North Canada and its transnational ties to Europe and the rest of the Americas, and more broadly on the role of language in the construction of social difference and social inequality.

  • Rayna Rapp

    Ex-Officio – Liaison with the AAA Executive Board


    Rayna RappRayna Rapp is professor and associate chair, Anthropology, New York University where she team-teaches with biological anthropologists on “biosocial intersections”.  Her books and articles focus on: assistive reproductive technologies, the politics of reproduction, gender, medical anthropology, science studies, and disability. She serves on the Editorial Board of the Annual Review in Anthropology and is the liaison for the Executive Board of the AAA to the Task-force on Race and Racism.

  • Elaine Lynch

    AAA Staff Liaison


    joseph-jonesDion P. Dears joined the AAA staff in 2007 and serves as Assistant Manager, Member Services.  Dion works closely with members on day-to-day customer service, membership benefits and renewals.  Dion also assists with management of the AAA online career center.  In 2012 Dion was designated staff liaison for the AAA Task Force on Race and Racism.  In this capacity Dion’s main responsibility is providing staff support to the Task Force, including research, scheduling and reporting, helping them to effectively carry out their charge.