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Department ofAnthropology


Shobha Joneja '24

Shobha Joneja '24

Where Anthropology and Ethics Collide

Shobha Joneja advocates for representation of Indigenous people in Santa Clara.

Shobha Joneja advocates for representation of Indigenous people in Santa Clara.

By Shantala Jennings '24

Archaeology has always fascinated Shobha Joneja ’24, a double major in Anthropology and Sociology. She chose her anthropology major early on at SCU because of that love. After taking SOCI 1 during her first year, she was convinced that sociology would be another great avenue for her. She expressed that she is grateful she was able to have studied both areas because it allowed her to meet so many incredible people.

During her time at Santa Clara, Joneja was quite active in the Anthropology Department. She served as president of the Anthropology Club, held a position at the Community Heritage Lab, and worked in both the Sociology and Anthropology Department offices. She also held the position of Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority.

Joneja intends to begin teaching English in Madrid this September, following her graduation. After a year in Madrid, she plans to attend law school with an emphasis on tribal law and indigenous rights.

Joneja is passionate about anthropology, but she also has a strong interest in social justice and community development. Find out more about her favorite spot to eat on campus, advice for new freshmen, and senior capstone!

What is your senior capstone and why did you choose that topic? What impacts do you want your project to have on the SCU community and others?

My capstone project for Anthropology focused on analyzing the extent to which three Bay Area universities—Stanford, SJSU, and SCU—have collaborated with the Muwekma Ohlone tribe to decolonize higher education spaces and center Indigenous demands and perspectives across campus. Because each university operates on the traditional homeland of the Muwekma Ohlone people, it is important to analyze what each institution is doing to actively engage with the tribal community and improve current approaches regarding tribal relations. I chose this topic because I am very passionate about Indigenous rights and believe it is extremely important that institutions like Santa Clara do their part to ensure ethical and meaningful collaboration with the Muwekma Ohlone tribe. I hope that my project will allow students, faculty, and university governing bodies to understand the connection to Indigenous land and ensure that Indigenous representation and perspectives are prioritized.

What advice do you have for incoming first years?

I think my biggest piece of advice would be to enjoy your time on campus and make the most of it! Whether that means joining new clubs, getting involved in your department, studying abroad, etc., there are so many ways to take advantage of all that Santa Clara has to offer. It goes by so fast, and I am constantly wishing I had more time here. Even though it might be hard at first to adjust to a new school and place, take every opportunity you can, and I guarantee you will be wishing you could stay longer too!

What’s your favorite place to eat on or around campus?

My favorite place to eat around campus is Orales Baja Grill; it is in Campbell, and they have the best Mexican food ever!

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