Anthropology major Elizabeth Bauer and faculty member Amanda Poole traveled to New York City on April 18 and 19 to present at the Society for the Anthropology of North America 2015 conference. They presented on their work with the Appalachian Teaching Project as part of a panel focused on mentoring undergraduate anthropology research on social justice and inequality.
Poole and Bauer described their work with the Appalachian Teaching Project. For the past three years, the Anthropology Department at IUP has partnered students with community organizations to work on projects related to sustainable development and social justice in the region. These projects have involved exploring issues of food justice, connecting youth to rural communities, and examining the role of grassroots organizations in the struggle to shape the legacy of hydraulic fracturing.
Based on these projects, they reflected on the challenges and successes that emerge from a partnership model of community-based research on social justice issues.
They also addressed the questions: What are the particular perspectives, sensibilities, and ideas that are most important to teach and demonstrate through our work together? What are the challenges we (faculty and students) face in doing this kind of work together? What do we hope will emerge from such engagement? What impacts have we seen in our experience with engaging students in social justice-oriented education?