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Facing Racism and the Moral Responsibility of Human Rights Knowledge


a Address for correspondence: Department of Anthropology, 250 South Stadium Hall, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-0720. Voice: 865-974-2912; fax: 865-974-2686.


Abstract: Anthropologists working in arenas of human rights advocacy must be prepared to negotiate dilemmas of human responsibility. Those focusing on racial discrimination as a breach of international human rights conventions must contend with trends in social research that feed into politically consequential claims that neither race nor racism exist as significant social facts. An examination of the global sociocultural and geopolitcal landscape, the human rights system, and models of change reveals that contemporary racism in both its marked and unmarked varieties warrants anthropologists' critical scrutiny and, depending on individual epistemological and political inclination, sociopolitical intervention.