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‘Uncanceled’: Anthropology sex panel to be hosted online

Heterodox Academy will livestream the event Nov. 8

An education nonprofit will host a virtual version of a panel on biological sex in anthropology canceled last week by two major scholarly societies.

“The five scheduled panelists, all female professors in socio-cultural anthropology, archaeology, and biological anthropology, will use the virtual event to build a broader audience for their scholarly arguments,” Heterodox Academy posted in a Thurs. news release.

The nonprofit will livestream the virtual event, free to the public for those who register, on Nov. 8. The panelists will deliver five papers and take questions.

“Let’s Talk about Sex Baby: Why biological sex remains a necessary analytic category in anthropology,” a panel slated to be presented at an anthropology professional conference, was canceled Sept. 25 by the American Anthropological Association and the Canadian Anthropology Society, The College Fix reported.

“The decision was based on extensive consultation and was reached in the spirit of respect for our values, the safety and dignity of our members, and the scientific integrity of the program,” according to a letter submitted to the panelists from the two groups.

A Sept. 28 news release announcing the decision is titled “No Place For Transphobia in Anthropology.”

Members of the canceled panel included evolutionary psychologist Carole Hooven, Canadian anthropologist Kathleen Lowrey and anthropologist Elizabeth Weiss. All five panelists will speak virtually at the November Heterodox Academy event.

In an email to The Fix Tuesday, Weiss wrote that “anthropology conferences were once a place to hear new research, debate previously researched topics, and help move the field in a direction that could help us better understand humans.”

The panel’s cancellation shows there “is no room for debate and the false narrative of ‘harm’ is being used to silence scholars who view the world as complex and worthy of study,” she said.

The American Anthropological Association told The Fix the decision was based on the moral imperative to “do no harm.”

“The first ethical principle in AAA’s Principles of Professional Responsibility is to ‘Do no harm.’ The session was rejected because it relied on assumptions that run contrary to the settled science in our discipline, framed in ways that do harm to vulnerable members of our community,” the group said in a prepared statement. “It commits one of the cardinal sins of scholarship—it assumes the truth of the proposition that it sets out to prove, namely, that sex and gender are simplistically binary, and that this is a fact with meaningful implications for the discipline.”

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IMAGE: Heterodox Academy

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