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Wars. Major storms. Terrorist attacks. With all of these making frequent headlines, UT is hosting a timely two-day multidisciplinary symposium on disasters, displacement, and migration, and human rights.

“Framing the Field” is the first symposium planned by the Department of Anthropology’s Disasters, Displacement, and Human Rights Program. It will take place February 8 and 9 at the College of Law and bring together faculty, students, and visiting researchers.

Symposium topics will include

  • Disasters, displacement, and resettlement
  • Triggers and results of modern disasters and conflicts
  • Cultural meanings for personal identification of remains
  • Forensic and humanitarian investigations
  • Culturally specific practices of justice and human rights

Two leaders in the field will deliver keynote addresses on February 9.

Richard Wilson, founder and director of the Human Rights Institute at the University of Connecticut, will speak at 8:45 a.m. and Stefan Schmitt, international forensic program director for Physicians for Human Rights, will speak at 1:00 p.m.

Wilson is the Gladstein Chair of Human Rights and a professor of anthropology and law at the University of Connecticut. Focusing on international human rights, truth commissions, and international criminal tribunals, he has drawn upon anthropological and empirical approaches to understand the ways in which national and international legal institutions write historical accounts of human rights violations and pursue reconciliation.

Schmitt’s background is in forensic anthropology and crime scene analysis. He has worked for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and before that lived in Guatemala, where he founded the country‚Äôs first forensic anthropology team. He has worked for the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia and as a forensic consultant to the United Nations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Liberia. He also has helped document human rights abuses in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Colombia, Algeria, Russia, and Kyrgyzstan. Most recently, Schmitt has been part of a multi-year project on achieving transitional justice in Afghanistan.

The symposium also will include a poster session; panel discussions; a roundtable; and tours of the W. M. Bass Forensic Anthropology Building, the Frank H. McClung Museum, and the Molecular Anthropology Laboratories.

An opening reception will be held in the rotunda of the College of Law.

Click here for a full schedule of events and other details, including registration information.

The event is being co-sponsored by Africana Studies; the Center for the Study of Social Justice; the College of Law; the Forensic Anthropology Center; Global Studies; and the philosophy, political science, religious studies, sociology, and geography departments.

C O N T A C T :

Tricia Redeker Hepner (865-974-8962,

Tanya Brown (865-974-6788,