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Disasters, Displacement and Human Rights Program

The Disasters, Displacement, and Human Rights Program (DDHR) promotes holistic training, collaborative research, rigorous theoretical approaches, and applied work on historical and contemporary problems broadly associated with human rights concepts and norms. DDHR faculty and students study global and local issues in the past and present, including migration, displacement, trafficking/slavery, and refugees and asylum seekers; structural and political violence and dynamics of peace and justice; economic development, inequality, resource access/extraction, and food security; post-conflict investigations and transitional justice; identity and discrimination; and the causes and consequences of wars, (un)natural disasters, and climate change. We foster critical and nuanced perspectives on the substantive concepts of human rights and the international legal norms and institutions that embody and enact them. Through innovative, inter-subdisciplinary work in cultural, biological/forensic and archaeological anthropology we contribute to the development of anthropology as a science, as an art, and as a tool for improving the human condition.

DDHR_logoBeginning with the fall 2013 catalogue, UT Anthropology offers a graduate certificate and undergraduate concentration in DDHR. Required courses include the Anthropology of Human Rights, Forensic Science and Human Rights, and Disasters. A range of subdisciplinary electives allows students to specialize while fostering holistic training. Access to the department’s first-rate resources, such as the Forensic Anthropology Center and the Anthropological Genetics Lab, archaeological field schools, and ethnographic field research opportunities locally, nationally, and internationally, provide students with opportunities to develop knowledge and skills in-context.

Undergraduates who have completed the progression to the Anthropology major and wish to apply for the DDHR concentration, please click here.

Graduate students who wish to apply for the certificate program, please click here.


Stay current with the DDHR Newsletter!


Intersections: Adversity, Identity, Perspectives

54th Annual Conference, Southern Anthropological Society and

Fourth Biennial Conference on Disasters, Displacement and Human Rights (DDHR)

April 3-5, 2020

The Southern Anthropological Society and

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Deadline extended: Monday, February 24th, 2020

Intersections are a defining point of the human condition. The social constructs and material realities of race, gender, religion, nationality, ethnicity, and class frame the human experience from the everyday mundane to the highest levels of institutional and structural hierarchies. Intersections within the context of disasters, displacement, and human rights are crucial variables of analysis studied by a multitude of disciplines and can define both research methods and applications. Intersections can subvert race and gender binaries, and expose the underlying nuances of structural violence, post-disaster relief efforts, identity politics, rights-claiming, and legacies of exclusion of marginalized groups. A focus on intersections highlights the ways underlying vectors of identity formation and their material groundings both connect and divide communities, as well as support and deconstruct prevailing social structures. Similarly, the concept of intersections draws attention to the possibilities (and limitations) inherent in multidisciplinary research and in the relationships between research and practice, science and activism, and local and global, in the past and present.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Disasters Displacement and Human Rights (DDHR) Program issues a call for papers for its fourth biennial conference, organized in conjunction with the Southern Anthropological Society’s 54th annual meeting. Proposals for posters, papers, panels, roundtables, and workshops from all subfields of anthropology, and from related disciplines, are welcome.

Submissions that broadly address the theme of “Intersections” according to the above CFP are encouraged, with emphasis on the following topics or foci:

  • Race, racism, racial triangulation, and biracial and multiracial issues
  • Transnational identities, migration, immigration
  • Trafficking and other extralegal mobilities
  • Gender, sex, sexuality
  • Political economy and inequality in disaster relief
  • Indigeneity and DNA
  • Food security, hunger, and nutrition
  • Forensic science and human rights
  • Disaster victim identification and recovery
  • Biological and social profiles of race and gender
  • The social life of DNA and other biological materials
  • Race, class, and gender in the archaeological record
  • Climate change and its social and biological entailments
  • Multispecies approaches to research and advocacy
  • Humanitarian and human rights law
  • Natural resources and sustainable development
  • Migration, detention, and deportation
  • Peace and conflict
  • Transitional justice and alternative models
  • Natural and anthropogenic disasters
  • Refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced people
  • Decolonizing indigenous histories
  • Policy, politics, and international relations
  • Field methods and human identification