NYAS Lecture 4/26: Anthropological Perspectives on Race, Nation and for Whom Is American Great?

On Monday, April 26th, 6:30 PM (EST),  the New York Academy of Sciences webinar series returns with Dr. Yolanda T. Moses presenting, “”Anthropological Perspectives on Race, Nation and for Whom Is American Great?” A discussion and Q&A will follow the lecture.

To register for this event click here.

The resurgence of racial antipathy and policy surfaces at historical periods in the U.S. when there is a perceived threat to white male elite power structures, and to poor and working class “whiteness.” The contemporary rise of essentialist racial, homophobic and misogynist thinking and actors that want to “make America great again” are not new; witness Reconstruction after the civil war, exclusionist immigration policies in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and the rise of Jim Crow laws throughout the country in the early twentieth century; including the suppression of voting rights. What is new circa 2021 is that white racist ( white supremacist groups) have moved from the margins to the mainstream: witness the right wing media universe, Donald Trump, and his multitude of enablers. The deep-seated paradox of race and identity at the birth of this nation over 300 years ago is still being played out today. The basic questions then as now, are those of power, control and influence. Who is an American, and who gets to decide? Who decides how that is implemented is the story of structural racism within all our institutions in the U.S.? What does the present xenophobia and overt racism say about the state of marginalized populations of color in the United States? About government sanctioned racialized immigration and migration policies and practices? Do current anthropological theories of race, space, and intersectionality help tell those stories? Can anthropologists document and illuminate the historical story of the embeddedness of structural racism for a wider U.S. audience, and make the intersection of race, power, and hegemony more transparent? This presentation will challenge anthropologists through their research and practice to frame the “Disruption” that must challenge the growing national re-energizing of racial hatred and dehumanization of the “other.” Our survival as a democratic nation depends on it.


Dr. Yolanda T. Moses currently serves as Professor of Anthropology and former Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Excellence at the University of California, Riverside. Dr. Moses’ research focuses on the broad question of the origins of social inequality in complex societies using comparative ethnographic and survey methods.  She has explored gender and class disparities in the Caribbean, East Africa and in the United States.  More recently, her research has focused on issues of diversity and change in universities and colleges in the United States, India, Europe, South Africa, Israel, and Australia.

Moses served as President of the American Anthropological Association (1995-97), Chair of the Board of the American Association of Colleges and Universities (2000), Past President of City University of New York/ The City College (1993-1999), and President of the American Association for Higher Education (2000-2003). She was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Ford Foundation from 1996 to 2008.

She has been involved on the steering groups of several U.S. National higher education projects with the National Council for Research on Women, Campus Women Lead and The Women of Color Research Collective. In addition, she was Chair of the National Advisory Board of a multi-year national public education project sponsored by the American Anthropological Association and funded by NSF and the Ford Foundation on Race and Human Variation. See: www.understandingrace.org. The goal of the project was to change the way the nation understood and talked about the meaning and consequences of “race.” She was Co-PI on a Ford Foundation grant that sponsored phase two of that work.

She was the PI on an NSF ADVANCE Grant, (2011 to 2015) to advance the role of women faculty in the STEM Fields; an NEH Grant (2011-12) to create a national educational network for educators to develop a bio-cultural approach to the teaching of race in high school and in undergraduate social science and biology classes.

At the University of California, she was a co-founder and on the Steering Committee of the UC wide research project, UCCNRS (University of California Center for New Racial Studies). The mission of the Center is to support innovation in UC-based race/racism research and teaching and to encourage interdisciplinary and collaborative work focused on advancing social/racial justice in an era of changing racial dynamics and persistent racial/ethnic conflict and inequality.

She is the co-author also with Carol Mukhopadhyay and Rosemary Henze, Professors at CSU San Jose of the book: How Real is Race: A Sourcebook on Race, Culture and Biology. (2007) Rowman and Littlefield; (2014) Altamira Press. She is also co-Author along with Alan Goodman and Joseph Jones, of the book, Race: Are We So Different? published by Wiley-Blackwell (2020).

She is currently a faculty member in the Salzburg Global Seminar‘s ISP Global Citizenship Program in Salzburg, Austria, and a faculty member in their on-going Mellon Fellows Program on Global Citizenship.

In 2009, she was named an AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) Fellow. She received the American Anthropology Association Franz Boas Award in 2016 for Distinguished Service to the Field of Anthropology. And Lifetime achievement awards from The Association of Black Anthropologists, and the Society for the Anthropology of North America in 2016. Moses served as a Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Cultural Competence at the National Centre for Cultural Competence, at the University of Sydney, Sydney Australia in 2017.

Webinar 4/15: Can Anthropology Be Radically Humanist? Part 1: Toward a Radically Humanist Anthropology


On Thursday, April 15th, 12:00 – 1:30 PM (EDT) you won’t want to miss part one of the new webinar series, “Can Anthropology Be Radically Humanist?” To register for this event click here.

Part 1: Toward a Radically Humanist Anthropology

Since the earliest days of the discipline, anthropological knowledge production has been deeply rooted in a set of foundational distinctions that have been integral to the creation of regimes of domination, eradication, and extraction that continue to pose existential challenges to the entire globe. Eurocentric perspectives based on anti-Blackness and white supremacist, colonialist assumptions have long insisted upon the separation of “nature” and “culture” and “self” and “other.” These dichotomies have structured research, teaching, and the training of generations of anthropologists with far-reaching and often detrimental impacts on marginalized communities around the world. This panel serves to open a series of conversations dedicated to exploring the possibilities of an anthropology grounded in a commitment to “radical humanism.”   In a radically humanist anthropology, equality, connection, and becoming serve as guiding principles that (1) disrupt predominant conceptualizations of a stable, knowable, liberal subject in “the field,” (2) recognize the many ways that humans and non-humans are entangled, and (3) center justice, equity, and the reduction of harm as key aims of the anthropological project.


Kelly Gillespie, PhD, Senior Lecturer, University of the Western Cape

Sheela Athreya, PhD, Associate Professor, Texas A&M University

Shadreck Chirikure, PhD, British Academy Global Professor, University of Oxford

Ora Marek-Martinez (Diné, Nimiipuu, Hopi), PhD, Assistant Professor and Executive Director of the Native American Cultural Center, Northern Arizona University

Facilitator:  Wayne Modest (Research Center for Material Culture)

Hosted by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research

Organized by the Association of Black Anthropologists, Anthropology Southern Africa, and the Center for Experimental Ethnography


Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study Call for Applications

Looking for funding? The Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study has just posted its call for applications for the following fellowship programs:

The General Fellowship Programme

The Barbro Klein Fellowship Programme

The Global Horizons Fellowship Programme

These three programs offer residential Fellowships for senior and early-career scholars from across the world. The application deadline is June 1, 2021.

For more information about these programs and how to apply click here.

Webinar 4/7: Black and Indigenous Futures

On April 7, 2021 the Society of Black Archaeologists, Indigenous Archaeology Collective, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Cornell Institute of Archaeology and Material Studies, and The Andrew Fiske Memorial Center for Archaeological Research hosted“Black and Indigenous Futures”. Watch it now!

This virtual panel discussion is part of a year-long series that features transformational approaches to archaeological storytelling. More information on the event series can be found here: www.sapiens.org/futures.


Roundtable: Between Academic Theory-Building and Social Engagement

On Wednesday, March 24th, 14:00 (UTC+0), as part of the RAI Film Festival Mina Rad CEO of World Cultural Diversity (WCD), Federal University of Pernambuco, and Professor Renato Athias, Department of Anthropology and Museology and coordinator of the Visual Anthropology Laboratory (LAV)), Federal University of Pernambuco, will participate in a roundtable debate, “Between Academic Theory-Building and Social Engagement”.

The debate, according to Professor Athias, will center on a collaborative project in which an anthropologist, a filmmaker, and a specialist in archives worked together to create a documentary about an endangered indigenous group in the Brazilian Amazon. “Particular attention was paid to ethnographic information, cosmological narratives and traditional knowledge,” he says.

The film “The Enchanted Words of the Amazon Hupd’äh – Masters of Knowledge,” narrated by Renato Athias, was released in 2020 in Paris. The film is a World Cultural Diversity Production from the Franco-Iranian director Mina Rad, in partnership with the Laboratory of Visual Anthropology (LAV) of PPGA / UFPE, using ethnographic archives, films, photographs, field notebooks, which are now digitized by the University of Texas at the Latin American Indigenous Language Archives, AILLA (Austin campus).

To register for this event click here.

Proposal Writing for the Wenner-Gren Foundation: Dissertation Fieldwork and Post-PhD Research Grants

From the Covid-19 pandemic to the global struggle for racial justice, anthropology has not escaped 2020 unscathed. On Tuesday, March 30th Danilyn Rutherford, President of the Wenner-Gren Foundation, hosted a discussion of proposal writing in these tumultuous times. She discussed the Foundation’s approach to supporting anthropology worldwide, offered tips on succeeding in the competition for Dissertation Fieldwork and Post-PhD Research Grants, and described some of the Foundation’s new initiatives.

Watch it now!



NYAS Lecture: Evolutionary Perspectives on African North American Genetic Diversity: Origins and Prospects for Future Investigations

On Monday, March 29th, the New York Academy of Sciences hosted, “Evolutionary Perspectives on African North American Genetic Diversity: Origins and Prospects for Future Investigations”. Watch it now!

African-descended peoples of the Americas represent an amalgamation of West, Central, and Southeast African regional and ethnic groups with modest gene flow from specific non-African populations. Despite 16+ generations of residence in the Americas, there is a deficit of evolutionary knowledge about these populations. Focusing on Legacy African American, the African North American descendants of survivors of the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans, we report on emic evolutionary perspectives of their self-identity gleaned from our interviews of 600 individuals collected over two years. Gullah-Geechee peoples of Carolina Coastal regions are a model case study due to their historical antiquity, substantial African retentions, relative geospatial isolation, and proposed progenitor status to other Legacy African American microethnic groups. We identify salient research questions for future studies that will begin to bridge the evolutionary gaps in our knowledge of these diverse peoples and the historical evidence for specific evolutionary processes.


Dr. Fatimah Jackson received her Ph.D., M.A., and B.A. (cum laude with Distinction in all Subjects) from Cornell University. Her doctoral dissertation research was on The Relationship of Certain Genetic Traits to the Incidence and Intensity of Malaria in Liberia, West Africa. She has conducted research on (and is particularly interested in): 1.) Human-plant coevolution, particularly the influence of phytochemicals on human metabolic effects and evolutionary processes and 2.) Population substructure in peoples of African descent, developing Ethnogenetic Layering as a computational tool to identify human microethnic groups and differential expressions of health disparities. Trained as a human biologist, Dr. Jackson has published extensively in such journals as Human Biology, Biochemical Medicine and Metabolic Biology, Journal of the National Medical Association, American Journal of Human Biology, Annals of Human Biology, BMC Biology, American Journal of Public Health, American Journal of Human Genetics, and Nature. Dr. Jackson’s research has been funded by: USAID, Ford Foundation, Huber Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, NIH (NIMHD and NHGRI), Wenner-Gren Foundation, EPA, and National Park Service. Dr. Jackson has taught at Cornell University, University of California – Berkeley, University of Florida, University of Maryland – College Park (where she is Distinguished Scholar Teacher and Professor Emerita), University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (where she directed the Institute for African American Research) and now at Howard University. She has been a Visiting Scholar at University of Georgia and University of Khartoum in Sudan and she was a Senior Fulbright Fellow in Egypt. She has been awarded the Nick Norgan Award for 2009 Best Article Published in Annals of Human Biology. In 2012 she was the first recipient of the Ernest E. Just Prize in Medical and Public Health Research, Avery Research Institute, College of Charleston and Medical University of South Carolina (University of South Carolina). In 2012, she was also Coined by Rear Admiral Dr. Helena Mishoe, National Institutes of Health, NHLBI and US Public Health Service. In 2017 Howard University named her STEM Woman Researcher of the Year. In 2020 the American Association of Physical Anthropologists awarded Dr. Jackson the Charles R. Darwin Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Jackson is a Senior Scientist at QuadGrid and CEO at the Dumont Institute, a multidisciplinary think tank.


Dr. Robin Nelson is a biological anthropologist who utilizes evolutionary theory in studies of family dynamics and health outcomes for adults and children. Having conducted a decade of research in Jamaica, her more recent work explores the relationship between growth outcomes and residential context for Jamaican children. She examines what happens to the social and physical health of children when the home, as it is articulated in West Indian communities, is not available to them. She is currently developing a project exploring the lives of Caribbean immigrants and their children in Toronto, Canada. With a focus on critical periods of growth and development, she investigates culturally salient forms of social and financial capital and the health of peoples from the Caribbean. In addition to this primary research, Robin and colleagues have worked extensively on issues surrounding sexual harassment and assault in field settings.

Call For Papers Patchwork Ethnography Webinar June 24-25, 2021

We are pleased to announce an opportunity to participate in an exciting initiative.  The collaborative research project by Saiba Varma, Chika Watanabe, and Gokce Gunel known as Patchwork Ethnography is announcing a call for papers for a webinar to be held on June 24 – 25, 2021. The deadline for submissions is April 1, 2021. For more information about this event and how to participate click here.

Patchwork ethnography seeks to bring blackboxed and delegitimized ethnographic practices out of the closet. Working against the masculinist and ableist assumptions that undergird fieldwork, patchwork ethnography recognizes that researchers — particularly women, BIPOC, queer, trans, and disabed folx — have always constructed their ethnographic work through patchwork, whether due to personal obligations, issues of accessibility, or the neoliberal, precarious academic labor market. In this virtual conference, we seek to understand patchwork ethnography as the product of what feminist anthropologists have described as “intersecting responsibilities” in relation to the structural constraints of racism, sexism, and classism that researchers are entangled in and which shape our choices.

Annnouncing the Wenner-Gren Foundation Engaged Research Grant Program

We are proud to announce the creation of a new grant program designed to support and celebrate research partnerships that blend the skills and knowledge of anthropologists and activists and community leaders from minoritized and marginalized groups.

The events of 2020 have forced anthropologists to reckon with their discipline’s history and the nature of the relationships they forge through their research.  They are finding themselves asking themselves hard questions about the ethical implications of the work they do.   The best way to advance knowledge in anthropology is to draw on new sources of insight.

The best way to ensure anthropological research has an impact is to make sure projects are meaningful for everyone involved.  By supporting projects that are collaborative from the get-go, Wenner-Gren hopes to demonstrate the value of this new approach to research for the field.

The deadline for applications is August 1, 2021. The online application will be made available two months before the August 1 deadline.

You will find further information and instructions on how to apply at Wenner-Gren Engaged Research Grants.