Last April, over 40 anthropology students, along with Department Chair Janelle Taylor, Director of Student Services Diane Guerra, and Academic Advisor Joni Marts, convened for an inaugural meeting to resurrect the University of Washington anthropology club. At this meeting, students expressed a desire for increased opportunities for social and academic networking, in order to transform a collection of students who are studying anthropology into a community of engaged and involved anthropologists. Renamed “The UW Anthropological Society,” the anthropology club has addressed student interest in creating a sense of “home” within their department through regularly held meetings, social mixers, field trips, informational events, and lectures. Student enthusiasm for making connections beyond the classroom led to the realization that networking occurs not only through interpersonal relationships, but also through the rich and vibrant exchange of ideas that lies at the heart of any intellectual community. The idea for a University of Washington anthropology journal was, therefore, born out of a belief in the need to create a space where diverse student perspectives on topics of anthropological interest could be shared.
Anthropology is a four-field discipline that sees the exploration of humanity as incomplete if the world is not viewed simultaneously through prisms of the past, the present, biology, language, and social and material culture. However, despite this belief in a holistic approach to the study of humankind, it is all too common for students of anthropology to become so specialized in one particular sub-discipline that they lose the ability to consider and value the contributions made by theories and methodologies of the other sub-disciplines. In creating a forum that encourages students to share their work and read and reflect on the works of other students, the anthropology journal speaks to this deficiency by allowing conversations to take places across sub-disciplines. Inspired by the need to respond to the fissures that historically have been created between the sub-disciplines, we decided to name the journalHeterotopia. Foucault’s term for places of “difference” or “otherness” captures our wish that the journal will be a place where differences can co-exist, both challenging and supporting one another. As a place where both contradiction and reconciliation are possible,Heterotopia will create intellectual bridges while showcasing the provocative, insightful, analytical, and critical work of students whose audience is too often limited to the professor from whom they receive a grade.