Workshop: Backlash!?! Tools for Managing Trolls in Biological Anthropology

The research, teaching, and outreach efforts of biological anthropologists often focus on complex topics such as human evolution, biological sex, sexual orientation, and race. Among public-facing scholars, biological anthropologists are among the vanguard who communicate regularly with broad audiences on these topics and others. The Internet age and the boom of social media platforms have enabled biological anthropologists to communicate with worldwide audiences in ways hardly imaginable a single generation ago. Additionally, the discoveries of biological anthropologists frequently make global headlines on topics that positively capture the public imagination and we have collectively made many important and necessary changes to the ways in which biological anthropology shapes our knowledge of the human condition. Despite the positive trend of expanding our discipline’s reach through the Internet and social media, biological anthropologists have experienced an uptick in backlash that has taken many forms in recent years. Internet trolls, savvy disinformation peddlers, and AI bots are becoming a thorny and sometimes unnerving reality for biological anthropologists. The purpose of this workshop is to provide a forum for AABA members to begin a dialogue about how to best handle these kinds of occurrences. Workshop participants will be provided with an opportunity to share their experiences with backlash, as well as information on how to best work through and process these kinds of experiences. Beyond biological anthropologists, workshop panelists will also include LA-based entertainment professionals who are well-accustomed to handling the underworld of internet tolls.

Friday, March 22, 2024, 12:15-2:15pm

Organized by Jonathan Bethard (University of South Florida), Michelle A. Rodrigues (Marquette University), Chris Stantis (University of Utah)