MHC to host artist-anthropologist-activist

Anthropological activist Gina Athena Ulysse explores the impact of historical injustice on the treatment of individuals in society.

By Xiomara Núñez '20

Examinations of social injustice and inequality often lack artistic elements. However, anthropologist Gina Athena Ulysse strategically fuses performance and other forms of ethnography to investigate social circumstances.

Ulysse, a professor of anthropology at Wesleyan University, leads complex discussions about history with her unique methods of expression. Her synthesizing of anthropological research and artistic presentations reveals new perspectives of injustice.

She will be giving talk at Mount Holyoke College, entitled “Crossings and Rasanblaj: Performing Anthropological Interventions,” that combines excerpts from three of her performance projects to confront the remaining ramifications of oppression.

The event is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m., in Hooker Auditorium.

This event is the first in the Collective Visions series, created and sponsored by the sociology and anthropology departments. The series features the contributions of leading sociologists and anthropologists in understanding social occurrences.

The goal is to inspire the audience to explore innovative methods when analyzing past and present disparities, said Lynn Morgan, chair of the sociology and anthropology department. 

“As educators, we are committed both to rigorous social analysis and to imagining creative ways to foster community, resist inequality, nourish well-being and self-care, and build resilience toward a better future,” she said. This event is one method of achieving these goals.

Ulysse’s presentation will stress the importance of anthropological research and demonstrate the benefit of synthesizing performance and research. A Q&A will follow and copies of her latest book, a written form of her performance art, “Because When God Is Too Busy: Haiti, Me & the World,” will be available for sale.

This event is co-sponsored by the critical social thought, theatre arts, gender studies, English, politics, international relations, sociology and anthropology departments, the dean of faculty, and the Odyssey Bookshop.