EVENT: Scientific sovereignty in palaeoanthropology

How contemporary events are exposing systemic inequalities

The pandemic of 2020 is wreaking havoc on the scientific enterprise – for palaeoanthropologists, altering everything from where and how we give lectures, to whether we travel to conduct fieldwork or access fossils. But the pandemic is also highlighting underlying systemic issues in the way we do science and develop collaborative partnerships, including the persistence of racist, patriarchal and colonial practices, issues which have similarly animated the #BlackLivesMatter and #RhodesMustFall movements. These issues have been with us since the time of Raymond Dart (and before), and persist in our practices and scientific narratives, determining who maintains status and authority.

Join Professor Rebecca Ackermann from the University of Cape Town for this discussion recorded on 17 September 2020 on how do we turn the current crisis into what Arundhati Roy calls a “portal moment,” where we transform palaeoanthropology into something better and move our scientific practices beyond what they were?

Presented by Griffith’s Australian Centre for Human Evolution.

Date: Thursday 17 September 2020
Time: 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Location: Live webstream

Professor Rebecca Ackermann

Rebecca Ackermann is a biological anthropologist, Professor in the Department of Archaeology, and Deputy Dean of Transformation in the Faculty of Science at the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa.

She was the founding Director of UCTs Human Evolution Research Institute, and is currently its Deputy Director. Her research focusses on evolutionary process, and specifically how gene flow, drift and selection interact to produce skeletal diversity through time in our human ancestors. Her research is illuminating the complex origins of our species.

Rebecca is an acclaimed lecturer and recipient of the UCT Distinguished Teacher Award and is engaged in discourse and policy development around sexism, racism and transformation of her discipline more broadly.

The Raymond Dart Lecture series

Born and raised in the Brisbane suburb of Toowong, Raymond Dart is one of Australia’s most celebrated palaeoanthropologist. Raymond is best known for his involvement in the 1924 South African discovery of the first fossil ever found of Australopithecus africanus, an extinct hominin closely related to humans.

The Raymond Dart Lecture is an annual Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution event paying homage to Raymond Dart by presenting some of the brightest minds and newest research in paleoanthropology.