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We Never Met Strangers—We Met People: Using Collaborative Anthropology to Uncover Hidden Histories of Race and Religion in an Indianapolis Neighborhood

White Hall Classroom Building, Room 102
Speaker(s) / Presenter(s):
Dr. Sue Hyatt, Deptartment of Anthropology, IUPUI

Please, join us in welcoming Dr. Susan Hyatt for a talk in the UK Appalachian Center Speaker Series!  Friday, October 16, 2015 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Dr. Hyatt will give a talk entitled We Never Met Strangers--We Met People: Using Collaborative Antrhopology to Uncover Hidden Histories of Race and Religion in an Indianapolis Neighborhood.  This will be held in the White Hall Classroom Building, Room 102 and is a free event, co-sponsored by African American and Africana Studies, Jewish Studies, and Anthropology.  All are welcome to join in a pre-talk conversation from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the UK Appalachian Center, 624 Maxwelton Court (across Limestone from the UK Law Building).  Please, see below for her talk abstract and a brief bio.


We Never Met Strangers—We Met People”: Using Collaborative Anthropology to Uncover Hidden Histories of Race and Religion in an Indianapolis Neighborhood

Susan B. Hyatt

Department of Anthropology, IUPUI

Collaborative ethnography, as defined by Luke Eric Lassiter, is "a very specific kind of ethnography that builds on the cooperative relationships already present in the ethnographic research process… and endeavors to engender texts that are more readable, relevant, and applicable to local communities of ethnographic collaborators (i.e. local publics)." Working with what Lassiter calls "local publics" involves not only making anthropological methods and insights "user-friendly"; it also involves developing and implementing interdisciplinary strategies, including archival work, mapping and various other technologies, in order to provide communities with products that are accessible and useful to them.   

In 2010, Applied Anthropology students from Indiana University in Indianapolis began collecting oral histories, photographs and other memorabilia from African-American and Jewish elders, who had once lived side-by-side in what had once been one of the most multi-ethnic neighborhoods in the city: the near Southside.  While the material setting of the neighborhood has largely been destroyed by successive waves of urban development, post-war upward mobility, and by the construction of an interstate in the early 1970s, its social landscape continues to be fondly recalled by its former inhabitants. In this talk, I explore the stories of those residents, their neighborhood and the project that brought them back together nearly 50 years after the neighborhood was dispersed.  I also describe the multiple products that were created and disseminated through this collaboration. 


Dr. Susan B. Hyatt

Dr. Susan Hyatt is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and Chair of the Anthropology Department.  She completed her MA in Anthropology at the University of Michigan in 1980.  From 1981-89, she worked as a community organizer in Southwest Chicago prior to returning to graduate school at the University of Massachusetts in 1989, where she completed her PhD in 1996.  As a result of her experiences in Chicago, she became interested in the impact of local-level campaigns for social justice on the low-income and working-class women who are often the backbone of such movements.  That was the topic of her doctoral fieldwork, which she carried out in a deindustrialized municipality in northern England in the early to mid-1990s. After 8 ½ years teaching at Temple University in Philadelphia, in 2005 she moved to the Indianapolis branch of Indiana University where she founded the state’s first MA program in Applied Anthropology.  In 2010, the Indiana Campus Compact awarded her with the Brian Hiltunen Award for the Outstanding Scholarship of Civic Engagement and in 2012, she received the Chancellor’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Civic Engagement. In the fall 2012 semester, she served as the second Robert Harman Distinguished Visiting Scholar in Applied Anthropology at California State University in Long Beach.