Recently the University of Western Australia circulated a Change Proposal for a radical restructure of the School of Social Sciences. This has been met with widespread criticism and, like many, the ANSA Executive are outraged and saddened by the proposal to dissolve the discipline of Anthropology and Sociology. Below is the official statement that the ANSA Executive submitted to UWA Management. We encourage all who have not already done so to sign the petition and share your voice.
ANSA Executive’s Submission to UWA Management
Dear UWA Management,
We are writing as the Executive Committee of the Australian Network of Student Anthropologists (ANSA), which is a subsidiary of the Australian Anthropological Society (AAS). ANSA is an organisation for student anthropologists across Australia through which we aim to share knowledge, experience, and foster support.
ANSA implores the UWA management to reconsider the proposal to restructure the School of Social Sciences and dissolve the discipline of Anthropology and Sociology, and other significant areas. ANSA urges UWA to further consider the impacts of proposed changes on all students.
As current anthropology students, we reject the implication that the discipline is not valuable or desired. Rather, anthropology is needed now more than ever. Anthropology’s skillset promotes self-reflection, thinking about our positionality in the world and understanding it through the eyes of others. Further:
- Dissolving the discipline of Anthropology and related units will have long term effects and substantially impact the international standing of UWA as a university.
- The adverse effects on current and future students will further damage UWA’s brand.
- The quality and wealth of knowledge that currently exists within the UWA Anthropology department is nationally and internationally recognised, which will constitute a substantial loss for UWA in disestablishing the discipline.
Some of the challenges we are facing locally and globally are comprehensively considered by anthropologists in ways that seek to understand why and how things happen, and what we can do about it. Anthropologists (and sociologists) provide critical understanding to address challenges such as impacts of the COVID19 pandemic, vaccine hesitancy, the climate crisis, economic crises, inequality, systemic racism, the ongoing impacts of colonisation, social instability, and ‘fake news’ to name a few.
We reiterate that we firmly oppose the proposed changes. We urge UWA management to consider alternative avenues, which build upon the existing strengths of the highly regarded UWA anthropology cohort.
Tyler Riordan – Chairperson
Sarah Haggar – Secretary
Carolyn West – Media Officer
Traci Sudana – Committee Member
Liz Hydesmith – Committee Member