Politics Sits in Places: What Sacred Sites Can Teach Us about Policy and Practice

  • 08 Dec 2021
  • 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Online via Zoom (must register to receive log in information)


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IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This talk will be presented online using Zoom. Registration is required before 3:00 pm on Wednesday, December 08, 2021. Log in information for Zoom will be emailed to those who have registered with their registration confirmation as well as by 3:00 pm on Wednesday, December 08, 2021.

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Speaker: Adam Dunstan, PhD, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Kenai Peninsula College, University of Alaska Anchorage

Date: Wednesday, 08 December 2021
Location:  Online meeting via Zoom
Time: 7:00 pm

Politics Sits in Places: What Sacred Sites Can Teach us about Policy and Practice

About the Talk:

Many peoples across the globe visit sacred sites to gain insight into the world around them. Anthropologists can also learn important insights from sacred sites; these sites in which people find so much significance provide us lenses to consider how it is that land become meaningful; what assumptions we bring with us into environmental politics; and our unique cultural modes of knowledge. In this talk/discussion, Adam Dunstan – assistant professor of anthropology at Kenai Peninsula College – will discuss several of his projects involving Native American sacred sites, as well as work on Christian historic site tourism and environmental organizing. He will provide some thoughts on what this can teach us about the practice of anthropology, as well as elements we need to take into consideration to craft policy which truly promote justice amid deep cultural differences.

About the Speaker:

Adam Dunstan is a “three-field” anthropologist (cultural, linguistic, and archaeology, in that order) who does both academic and applied work at the nexus of environment, religion, and policy. He has done fieldwork with struggles to protect Indigenous sacred sites in the American Southwest, focusing on what this can teach us about environmental organizing; blindspots of environmental and religious freedom policy; and the unexpected victims of climate change policy. More recently he is involved in two projects: one investigates the experiences and perceptions of tourists at Latter-day Saint historic sites in New York; the other involves Indigenous Knowledge about salmon sustainability in southcentral Alaska. Many of his projects have applied or engaged dimensions, and he has consulted with a number of tribal, governmental, and religious organizations. Adam is an assistant professor of anthropology at Kenai Peninsula College, where he teaches courses in a variety of topics such as Culture and Ecology and Alaska Native Cultures. He earned his PhD in 2016 from the University at Buffalo; prior to his current position he taught at University of North Texas, where he mentored masters students in an applied anthropology program who have gone on to governmental and other environmental anthropology work.

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