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Department ofAnthropology


Community Standards Statement


As Anthropologists at Santa Clara University, we first acknowledge that our campus was built on Ohlone land and that our teaching and local research takes place on unceded territory. Second, as anthropologists, we continue to examine the history of our field and move forward with a commitment to antiracism and decolonization. We must maintain and demonstrate commitment to our ethical standards regarding human and nonhuman subject research, research protocols, diversity and equity, collaboration, and community engagement. Finally, as anthropologists, we will uphold these community standards at our home institution and in the communities where we work or visit. The Department prohibits any discrimination regarding race, color, gender identity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, socioeconomic status, and age. In order to uphold an atmosphere of mutual respect within our department, and with the communities we work alongside, we must be culturally sensitive—and respectful—in all aspects of our work as anthropologists.



As anthropologists, valuing diversity in all its human manifestations is a way of life as much as it is an intrinsic aspect of our discipline. We make clear wherever and whenever, regardless of background, all community members are respected and acknowledged. Our communities include the department, the campus, the surrounding neighborhoods, and the communities that generously host us while conducting research, without which our teaching and learning would be impossible. We commit to creating a diverse and inclusive environment that provides a safe space for all people. Although white, cis-gender voices currently dominate the field of anthropology, we are committed to changing this paradigm by supporting and increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion both within our department and throughout our campus. Here we actively acknowledge and celebrate the multiplicity of perspectives, experiences, and voices that altogether constitute a truly diverse community.

SCU’s Anthropology Department is dedicated to ensuring that all students have equal access to all of our resources, opportunities, and educational programs. Faculty and students are encouraged to work to understand different backgrounds and experiences and to making educational experiences equitable. We can do this by ensuring that all resources are attainable in various formats to each individual’s needs, regardless of age, education, ethnicity, language, income, physical limitations or geographic barriers. In this way, our department aims to proactively foster a more optimal and just environment that prioritizes often erased or omitted voices, especially of research participants with whom we collaborate.


Acknowledging the racist foundations that the field of anthropology rests upon, we commit to actively pursue and promote antiracism throughout academia and beyond. We will prioritize antiracist research and teachings in the hopes to further unlearn the societal values that are rooted in white supremacy. We challenge ourselves to reflect on how biases and stereotypes operate in our daily lives and in the context of our academic work. We will assure that BIPOC both within and associated with our department feel valued, respected, and heard. The department will continue to advocate and support the lives of our Black faculty members, majors, and minors. When our Department falters or fails, we commit to being pro-active in our response to amplify the voices of our Black faculty, students and staff and to support transparent and meaningful calls for transformative justice.

Sexual misconduct and gender discrimination

Anthropologists have a zero-tolerance for any form of sexual misconduct or harassment. You may find various sources of information at the SCU’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX website. Harassment can also include any kind of verbal stereotyping or prejudice displaying discriminatory perspectives in terms of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, abilities, etc. Please report any type of inappropriate encounters at this link.


Academic disciplines thrive when scholars, researchers, community members, learners, and volunteers work together. We value the notion that ‘we think better together’. In order to succeed in our endeavors, we realize that it is critical to account for all involved voices. In our research and educational endeavors, we must foreground collaboration and address a variety of perspectives and opinions. This also means we must be open to accepting and valuing different forms of knowledge production in our interdisciplinary environments and collaborative environments. As we conduct our work, we must always be cognizant of the inherent imbalance of power between researcher (a temporary visitor) and our community of research participants. Not acknowledging our privileges to be in researcher position, the outcomes of our research, as well as our effect on the community, could lead to serious and injurious consequences. Because anthropology is rooted in colonialism, an important step to improving our field is to commit to research that values the communities and individuals where we work. We are aware that we do not own or control the images/knowledge of these communities, and we must work with them as equals to share/distribute the work we create. We will only share images of other human individuals with written or verbal consent.


Compassion and Empathy

We strive to bring compassion and empathy into our daily engagements and everyday encounters with neighbors, co-workers, staff, educators, students, and colleagues. We are especially mindful of these values as we work with vulnerable and marginalized populations. We will approach each encounter with open minds that are free of judgment. We acknowledge that Anthropology engages in many topics that may be sensitive, challenging, or personal to our faculty members and students. We hope to provide mutually respectful spaces for discussion and academic growth in our courses. A priority for this department is to recognize the diversity of all backgrounds and positions from which our faculty and students come from, therein further cultivating an environment of acceptance and support.

Practicing Ethical, Respectful, and Sustainable Fieldwork and Lab Research

The Anthropology Department at SCU is committed to ensuring that its faculty and students follow state, country, and university guidelines regarding human and nonhuman research. We are scholar-advocates, and our work is shaped by complex political and cultural dynamics. When possible, research will be oriented toward public service and the benefit of the communities we work with. We follow key Anthropological tenets of “do no harm”. In many cases, our field site is someone else’s home and we often work on land that does not belong to us. As such, research teams must minimize their ecological footprint imposed by travel, waste, research equipment, and/or research methods. Sustainable teaching and research practices must be normalized throughout all of our research communities, especially in light of the growing social consciousness around global warming and climate change.

Informed consent must be given before beginning any work, and at any time consent may be reversed without discussion and should be revisited often. The form and format of consent forms can vary by community but must be understood by affected community members to proceed with research. If not, all activities should cease immediately until informed consent is restored. Please read an in-depth version of informed consent and honesty here. IRB is essential and systematic to investigate projects before research begins. When studying nonhuman primates, all students and researchers must file an Animal Care and Use (ACUC) protocol. The Santa Clara Research and Compliance information can be found here.

Making Research and Findings Widely Accessible

Anthropologists must ensure their research findings are accessible. We strive to make our work accessible, valuable, and beneficial for everyone who contributes to the process. We must collaborate with communities to ensure that our research accurately reflects their contributions, voices, and interests. However, it can be equally important to preserve anonymity and confidentiality of research materials (e.g., field notes, data) as well as the identities of individuals within the communities and research participants. This is especially important when working with vulnerable and at-risk or marginalized populations and, more specifically, in conditions wherein these groups remain vulnerable due to state violence, histories of colonization or discrimination, policing and surveillance, and structural violence.

Our scholarship must be comprehensible to a wide variety of audiences. Our methods training should include a focus on writing and producing media for different audiences. Papers and reports muddled with academic jargon alienate some readers and perpetuate gatekeeping in Anthropologist academia, narrowing the academic canon. We also acknowledge that it is necessary to engage with a wide range of audiences, including academic, where professional writing may be necessary. Accessibility also includes education and outreach initiatives, especially regarding educating future generations. Furthermore, we must be transparent with our methodologies and practices. Concealing the realities of fieldwork and anthropological research is harmful to the communities we work with and anthropology at large.



Honesty is critical to any scholarship (and to the wider spectrum of human activities) as is adherence to the highest standards of ethical principles and values within the research setting and classroom. For researchers, the department expects that there will be no engagement in data falsification or manipulation. Students are expected to hold high standards of integrity in all academic work and to follow the SCU code of conduct. Violations include plagiarism, duplication of work, cheating on examinations, false information, and the use of unauthorized tools or technology. The values of honesty and integrity are based upon the department’s desire for all students and faculty to provide an atmosphere of mutual trust, encouraging ethical behavior, and cultivating professional conduct.


Mentoring/ Leadership/ Role Modeling

Anthropologists have the privilege of educating the next generation of scholars. This privilege comes with the responsibility to positively shape the future, a process best accomplished when mentors and leaders actively bring students into ethical decision-making and their work whenever possible. This responsibility is manifested through increasing avenues for student-professor relationships and collaborations, as well as holding honest discussions between professors and students about ethical behavior (particularly before problematic situations arise). Students also share the responsibility of leadership and are expected to be leading ethical voices in their immersion activities, extracurricular activities, and other community spaces. We are committed to promoting the values described in this code by leading by example in the field, lab, classroom, and beyond.



We recognize that our curriculum and research intersect with every aspect of human (and non-human) life; therefore, it is our responsibility to prevent negative impacts on the communities with which we work and to actively challenge the systems that enable us to occupy our spaces of privilege. This includes challenging our own institutions and seeking positive change with disenfranchised communities. We seek to use our platform to amplify voices, from within our community and outside of it, that share their lived experiences in our unjust society.

As community advocates and allies, anthropologists are in a position to amplify and make room for marginalized voices and, within this, take steps towards decolonizing academia. We must use inclusive and thoughtful language, as opposed to terms with harsh and violent histories. This list provides examples of problematic terms and a related substitution. Being cognizant of the words we use and how we speak as anthropologists is the first of many important steps towards decolonizing academia.

As a department, we are dedicated to upholding a culture of respect and accountability, with zero tolerance of violence and/or harassment of any kind. We are committed to recognizing when a situation becomes dangerous, unjust, or inappropriate, and where there is a need to take the action necessary to improve that situation. We promise to prepare ourselves with the techniques needed to best promote safety for ourselves and others. We strive to normalize calling out words and behaviors that encourage violence, discrimination, or harassment, including, but not limited to comments about one’s physical appearance, sexist jokes, racial slurs, and sexually suggestive or explicit comments to or about someone else. By utilizing methods of intervention like de-escalation and delegation, we commit to offering support in whatever form most effectively promotes safety and transformative justice. We will work with those most harmed or at the center of the trauma/harm to find a resolution that is just and meets their needs, including notifying the Title IX office or other authorities when necessary.


Practicing Ethical Artifact Collection and Curation

Anthropological archaeologists must work with descendant communities and other stakeholders to formulate ethical policies for collections generated through field research and training. This includes preservation, curation, access, and display, among other considerations. Where relevant, archaeologists must do the work of repatriating wrongfully acquired artifacts to their rightful owners. Especially within the context of colonization and missionization of Native American land, collaborative research design, curation planning, and repatriation can be important steps towards righting past wrongs. Though not an excuse for past actions, present archaeologists can acknowledge these histories and create better standards for future archaeological work with communities. Learn more about ethical curation here, and ethical collection handling here.



SCU counseling and psychological services. CAPS Phone Number: (408) 554-4501

Ethics point: Report an ethical violation.

American Association of Anthropologists, ethical statement.

American Association of Physical (Biological) Anthropology Statement on Race.

Code of best practices in field primatology.

Society for American Archaeology: Principles on archaeological ethics.


Community Standards authored by ANTH 198 during Fall 2020. Bryan Altamirano-Gopar, Trizha Aquino, Trinity Billingslea, Asha Broetje Bairstow, Eleanor Carper, Olivia Carter, Emily Chung, Matthew Churchman, Larissa Fernandez, Tia Halsey, Katie Pearce, Briana Reynolds, Riley Scherr, and Kate Soifer. Edited by faculty in the Department of Anthropology