Decolonizing Anthropology for Global Racial and Transformative Justice
Rachel Chapman is a Black feminist activist anthropologist who uses alternative and native (alter/native) anti-racist approaches, and an associate professor of Anthropology at the University of Washington, and adjunct associate professor in Global Health and Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies. Professor Chapman’s research focuses on global health disparities, suffering and resistance through an inter-sectional transformative justice lens, as well as identifying and addressing the effects of systemic racism in health institutions, policies and practices on communities of color. Her expertise encompasses race, racism and reproduction; survivance and liberation practices among African and African Diaspora communities; impact of structurally violent economic austerity policies on health and decolonization movements; and reproductive health trauma. She has conducted research in Los Angeles, Cleveland, Mozambique, and Seattle. Her core projects include Black women’s reproductive care-seeking; the impact of gender violence on health; HIV treatment during pregnancy; perinatal care-giving in refugee and immigrant communities; teen peace-making and restorative justice in urban communities.
Her ethnography, Family Secrets: Risking Reproduction in Central Mozambique (2010), documents a decade of women’s post-civil war pregnancy and birth experiences as the HIV/AIDS epidemic exploded. She has published in numerous journals including Social Science and Medicine, Medical Anthropology, and the Journal of AIDS and Society. Since then, she has focused on understanding community and clinic influences of the HIV epidemic on pregnant women and infants; developing models to improve maternal antiretroviral care; and evaluating the impact of new AIDS service delivery models, funded by a competitive three year National Institute of Health (NIH) RO1 grant. Two new grants document Seattle’s East African refugee and immigrant community health needs and test a community-based model of innovative perinatal care with these families. Her latest grant seeks to improve management maternal pre-eclampsia, stress and depression during COVID-19 quarantine.
In her teaching and research, Chapman utilizes community-driven, participatory action and performance methodologies to create classrooms as sacred circles that are also “Freedom Labs.” She calls her approaches to teaching "Alter/Native Anthropology", “Liberation Methodologies”, “Embodied Pedagogy of Engagement” and "Activist Performance."