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Students, faculty member present paper at prestigious anthropology conference

From left, Marilyn Carteno, Megan Hinrichsen and Maria Magallon pose with cardboard cutouts of famous anthropologists Margaret Mead, Franz Boas and Zora Neale Hurston.
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MONMOUTH, Ill. – Two Monmouth College students and a faculty member recently presented a paper at the “most prestigious” anthropology conference.

The three presented at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association, the largest anthropological association in the world, with more than 10,000 members.

Held earlier this month in Washington, D.C., the conference is the “most prestigious” in anthropology, said Assistant Professor of Anthropology Megan Hinrichsen.

Hinrichsen presented a paper that she authored along with Monmouth students Marilyn Carteno ’18, a sociology and anthropology major from Chicago, and Maria Magallon ’18, an educational studies major from Melrose Park, Ill.

Titled “Whiteness as Liberation, Whiteness as Oppression: Education and Racial Hierarchies in Ecuador,” the paper was based on Hinrichsen’s research and an interdisciplinary travel course that Carteno and Magallon took with her in Ecuador last January. It was presented during a panel called “Everyday Calculations of Whiteness in Latin America.” Seven other papers were presented on the panel, mostly from senior scholars.

“The paper was a collaborative effort that began with my own work in Quito (the capital of Ecuador), beginning in 2011,” said Hinrichsen

Hinrichsen collaborated with Assistant Professor of Educational Studies Michelle Holschuh Simmons on the travel course, combining her research in Ecuador with theories and ideas from education. Titled “Barriers and Opportunities: Education in Ecuador and Beyond,” the course will be taught again by the pair this January.

“The students wrote research papers based on their coursework and observations with an NGO in Quito,” said Hinrichsen. “One emphasized education as oppression, the other as liberation. They both also engaged the ideas surrounding whiteness in Latin America and how whiteness, also, is an instrument of oppression occasionally expressed as liberation.”

Hinrichsen explained that Latin America has a “really complex system of race that is fluid and more connected to class than our perception of race in North America. Though their arguments differed and appear contradictory on the surface, they had the same underlying message.”