Drs. Kamela Heyward-Rotimi and Rachel Watkins will offer an active learning presentation to students in the after school program on Nov. 16 at the Phyllis Wheatley Community Center, 1301 10th Ave. N. at 4p.m.
Heyward-Rotimi and Watkins are co-chairs of the Anthropologists Go Back to School initiative for the American Anthropological Association (AAA), the flagship professional organization for anthropologists nationally and internationally. The organization will hold its annual meeting in Minneapolis this November.
Heyward-Rotimi is the founder and executive director of the Knowledge Exchange Research Group (KERG), and visiting research fellow in the Department of Cultural Anthropology, Duke University. An activist anthropologist, Heyward-Rotimi’s research focuses on understanding people of color and their relationship to new media, science and technology and presenting global solutions to unequal access to digitized knowledge.
Watkins is associate professor of Anthropology at American University whose research focuses on social and the biological history of African-Americans. She is dedicated to scholar-activism that helps to identify and address racial inequalities and their negative impact on the health of Black communities.
The Anthropologists Go Back to School initiative of the American Anthropological Association was spearheaded by Dr. Johnnetta Cole, former president of Spelman College and Bennett College, and director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. Heyward-Rotimi and Watkins have assumed the charge to encourage anthropologists to bring the knowledge of anthropology to America’s young learners.
“(I am) committed to using my research and expertise to engage in interdisciplinary and public discussions about race, health disparities and science as a social practice,” said Watkins. “This includes speaking to elementary, middle and high school students about anthropology in a way that relates it to social studies and science topics they are covering in their classes.”
She also participates in events focused on the history of race in science at museums and other institutions for the general public.
Heyward-Rotimi’s work challenges often overlooked disparities of people of color and their access to information technology and scientific knowledge. Her international research group KERG presents collaborative solutions to unequal access to knowledge, such as the project the West African eLibrary Collaborative to improve eLibrary access for West African universities. Heyward-Rotimi’s outreach extends to speaking to elementary, middle and high school students from both traditional and homeschooling learning communities.
University of Minnesota graduate student Caroline Rowe will take students through some exercises on the AAA Race website after the presentation by Heyward-Rotimi and Watkins.