This page hosts the active Faculty Collaborative Projects, Collectives and Centers in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

The Center for Indigenous Science

faculty discuss learning outcome goals targeted toward general education classes in order to identify ways to strengthen the general education curriculum.
Image courtesy of UI Public Affairs: Fred Zwicky.

Co-chaired by Jenny L. Davis and Ripan S. Malhi.

The Center for Indigenous Science is a partnership between the American Indian Studies program and the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB). The Center also works closely with the Associate Vice Chancellor for Native Affairs Office. This partnership and multi-unit approach allow the Center to fully utilize campus resources to complete its goals and have transformative impacts. The Center brings together Indigenous Nations and UIUC expertise for the co-production of knowledge and solutions that support tribal sovereignty and Indigenous needs in areas such as health, history and the environment.

The Center also provides a university sponsored space that allows citizens of Indigenous Nations to work in partnership with university faculty on projects of interest. Importantly, the Center for Indigenous Science is a place to participate in cutting-edge science with and by Indigenous scholars and communities on local, regional, and global scales.

Collaborative for Cultural Heritage Management and Policy (CHAMP)

Directed by Helaine Silverman.

CHAMP is a strategic research unit dedicated to the critical study of cultural heritage and museum practices around the world. CHAMP offers an outstanding education in these areas with almost three dozen faculty members who teach a range of courses and conduct research across the globe, including in the United States. CHAMP's Associate Director is Paul H. Kapp (School of Architecture)

CHAMP is the Collaborative for Cultural Heritage Management and Policy. It is a research center at the University of Illinois that is housed in the Department of Anthropology. CHAMP is dedicated to the critical study of cultural heritage and museum practices on a worldwide scale. CHAMP has exceptional faculty strength with more than two dozen faculty affiliates. At any time ten or more graduate students work with CHAMP faculty by pursuing the interdisciplinary graduate minor in Heritage Studies and/or the interdisciplinary graduate minor in Museum Studies minor en route to their disciplinary doctorates. Through coursework and practicums CHAMP faculty are training a new generation of heritage scholars, heritage managers and museum professionals capable of dealing with complex realities and of articulating progressive policies to local and national governments and other agencies. CHAMP advocates engagement between theorists and heritage managers so as to achieve best practices.

CHAMP is especially interested in cultural governance and policy; heritage management at sites of all kinds; and the landscapes on which displays and contestations of identity, ownership, and ideology are inscribed and mediation takes place. CHAMP is similarly concerned with museums as heritage sites and major tourist destinations serving as dynamic engines for economic development in their regions: object collections contained within a building, open-air historic sites, homes, world's fairs, theme parks, reenactments, and other kinds of performances.

The Human-Animal Studies Initiative at Illinois

Directed by Jane Desmond.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a premiere public research institution, is rapidly becoming one of the nation’s leading homes to work in Animal Studies or “human-animal” relations––drawing on faculty experts from all across the university, including the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the College of Law; the College of Agriculture, Consumer Economics and Environmental Studies; the College of Fine and Applied Arts; and the College of Veterinary Medicine. With a university-wide Research Cluster, cross-campus Courses, conferences, and a Summer Institute in Human-Animal Studies, the Animal Studies Initiative at Illinois integrates the dynamic complementary realms of teaching, research, and international outreach to address the needs of research faculty, graduate students, undergraduates, and the wider public, and expand our understanding of human relations with non-human animals.

The Indigenous Languages on the Move Collective

Directed by Korinta Maldonado, co-director of the Native American and Indigenous Language Lab. 

The Indigenous Languages on the Move Collective (ILM) emerges out of a need to create language access protocols that support the rapidly growing Indigenous communities from Abiayala in the area, and the local institutions that serve them. However, beyond the immediacy of collaborating in the training of Indigenous interpreters to alleviate the institutional language barriers Indigenous communities face, the language justice collective aimed to provide a critical perspective on language work: one that is accountable to the Native communities of these lands and their specific history of removal, as well as to the Indigenous migrant communities whose histories are deeply linked to settler and imperial logics of dispossession. Recognizing these logics requires that we engage in sustained language work through a reclamation framework that incorporates community knowledges that gives life and meaning to these languages in their lived contexts. By privileging and centering the voices of these communities through a careful work of “acompañamiento” (accompanying and supporting community ways of knowing and doing), the collective aims to support processes of Indigenous sovereignty and, at the same time, decenter extractive logic of knowledge production that in many works tend to disassociate “Indigenous languages'' from their communities and their histories.

Our goal as a collective is to support the creation of a sustainable infrastructure that assists community-based language work alongside Indigenous migrants, specifically the large community of Maya Q’anjob’al residents of the area, interested in documenting, analyzing, and fostering processes integral to language justice and language reclamation in Indigenous communities in contexts of high mobility. This project in collaboration with Pixan Konob' Q'anjob'al Language Justice Collective (PK), and Migrant serving organizations under Champaign Immigration Collaborative aims to build capacity through (1) Indigenous-led workshops on issues of language vitality and maintenance, training for Indigenous interpreters, and Q’anjob’al literacy and, (2) the creation of resources with and for community language workers.

ILMC and PK are currently working on a regional community-based, collaborative project "Maya in the Global Midwest" alongside Maya community members, immigrant-serving organizations in Ohio and Champaign, and Dr. Maria García (UEM) and Dr. Laura Horton (UW) and graduate student Nathalie Martinez under the Humanities Without Walls research grand challenge grant sponsored by the Humanities Research Institute @ UIUC.

You can keep up with the Pixan Konob’ Language Justice Collective on their Instagram and read about this collaboration via the Illinois News

The Indigenous Languages on the Move Collective offers student volunteer opportunities. Please see the following opportunity for the 2023 - 2024 Academic Year. 

Mayan Languages on the Move: Building Indigenous Language Activism and Cross-Community Support

This project seeks student volunteers to train as community-based language activists that can provide infrastructure to develop and strengthen Maya intellectuals, interpreters, and artists key in the promotion of Indigenous languages. This semester we will work on supporting Pixan Konob's Mayan Languages Interpreters Collective work translating and producing materials on COVID19 for the Champaign area and beyond. We will also work with the Maya Heritage Community Project at Kennesaw State University. 

We understand that Indigenous languages constitute critical vehicles of knowledge, cultures, and values that hold communities together. Their promotion, preservation, and revitalization is a crucial right that should be protected.

This project is looking for students interested in language activism. Expectations are for students to work gathering information on language access programs and to help design a language survey for the Champaign area.

Some level of Spanish speaking is preferred but not required. Interested students must be able to work independently.

If interested, please contact Dr. Maldonado at