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

On Monday, April 26th, the New York Academy of Sciences hosted, “”Anthropological Perspectives on Race, Nation and for Whom Is American Great?” Watch it now!

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.

FEATURED SPEAKER

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.

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.

FEATURED SPEAKER

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.

DISCUSSANT

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.

Webinar 3/1: Anthropology and the Public: Pressing Questions, Responsibilities and Opportunities

On Monday, March 1st, 4PM – 6PM (EST), Cool Anthropology invites you to attend a virtual workshop, Anthropology and the Public: Pressing Questions, Responsibilities and Opportunities. 

What are the most critical questions for anthropologists right now? And in what spaces should we be answering them? This workshop seeks to ask — and go some distance to answering — these questions. Bringing together a wide network of anthropologists from across disciplines and around the world, this event will be a multi-roomed, interactive virtual event to workshop critical ideas and areas where anthropology and anthropologists can engage and offer a strong contribution to the public good.

Click here to register for this event.

This event is being sponsored by The Wenner-Gren Foundation, The New York Academy of Sciences, NYAS Anth, and Berghahn Books.

While Wenner-Gren is proud to be providing a platform for this event, the views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Foundation.

Watch Now! African Diasporic Activist Scholarship: Beyond the Enlightenment, Toward the Democratization of Science

On Monday, February 22nd, the New York Academy of Sciences hosted, “African Diasporic Activist Scholarship: Beyond the Enlightenment, Toward the Democratization of Science.” Watch it now!

The African Burial Ground National Monument is as much an edifice to the democratization of knowledge as it is to sacred space for the sanctity of black lives. New York’s African Burial Ground Project (1992-2009) took seriously the observable fact of intrinsic scientific subjectivity to enable its ethical choice to work on behalf of a descendant community’s research concerns regarding their past (the clientage model of public engagement). That Project did not default to the untestable but common notion of neutral knowledge as its authority and shield. Historically, black scholars have seen such notions as neutrality perform as a manifestation of the construction of Whiteness, arrogating to that group authoritative tools by which to ascertain universal, natural truths; truths which often empower the powerful and denigrate ‘the other.’ Recognizing that all research is socially-positioned (as Frederick Douglass argued it should be), the main branch of African diasporic intellectual traditions has deliberately informed restorative justice, historic vindication, and the human dignity of Blacks against an often dehumanizing and exclusivist White academic mainstream. These intellectuals simultaneously value and adhere to rules of evidence and experience to inform their critical humanism, social, and biological science approaches. The African Burial Ground, profound in its local historic and political setting at the turn of the 21st century, has also been a watershed of a new form of archaeology and historic interpretation, now codified by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, embraced by publics, and contested in the academic world. The discussion of this session revolves around the site’s impact on archaeological practice, academe, public education and memorialization.

SPEAKERS

Michael L. Blakey

National Endowment for the Humanities Professor of Anthropology, Africana Studies, and American Studies, and Founding Director of the Institute for Historical Biology at the
College of William & Mary

Peggy King Jorde

Cultural Projects Consultant, design professional, activist, and a Harvard Loeb Fellow

Rachel Watkins

Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of Graduate Studies at American University

FEATURED SPEAKER

Michael L. Blakey is National Endowment for the Humanities Professor of Anthropology,
Africana Studies, and American Studies, and Founding Director of the Institute for Historical
Biology at the College of William & Mary. Dr. Blakey was a Key Advisor of the award-winning
Race: Are We So Different exhibition of the American Anthropological Association, where
he held several offices including president of the Association of Black Anthropologists
(1987-1989) and member of the editorial board of American Anthropologist (2012-2016). Blakey represented the United States on the Council of the 4th World Archaeological Congress in Cape Town, South Africa (1999). He is a member of the Scholarly Advisory Committee of the National Museum of African American History and Culture of the Smithsonian Institution, where he previously held the position of Research Associate in Physical Anthropology at the National Museum of Natural History (1985-1994). He was Scientific Director of the New York African Burial Ground Project (1992-2009), the most extensive bioarchaeological project in the United States. The Manhattan site became a U.S. National Monument in 2007.

DISCUSSANTS

Peggy King Jorde is a Cultural Projects Consultant, design professional, activist, and a Harvard Loeb Fellow recognized for her extraordinary efforts to preserve New York City’s African Burial Ground. As Director of Memorialization, King Jorde spearheaded efforts for the national monument & historic district, the Interpretive Center, and the reburial of more than 400 African ancestors. Harvard Magazine’s article “Life By Design” chronicles Peggy’s journey from her native Albany, Georgia, to her academic pursuits at Harvard School of Design. King Jorde brings a wide range of experience in civic development, from providing project oversight for New York’s most iconic museums and cultural institutions to chairing blue-ribbon committees, including the Malcolm X Memorial with the late Dr. Betty Shabazz to being a key influencer on art panels tasked with commissioning art for public spaces. Formerly a special adviser to NYC Mayor David N. Dinkins, King Jorde currently lends considerable focus to campaigns that protect disenfranchised histories. She is working with global stakeholders to preserve an African Burial Ground on St. Helena, UK, in the South Atlantic. She is an impact producer & film participant for a London based documentary about preserving the Liberated African Burial Ground and Depot.

Rachel Watkins is a biocultural anthropologist with an emphasis on African American biohistory and social history, bioanthropological research practices and histories of (US) American biological anthropology. Initially trained in skeletal biology, her work focused on looking at relationships between health, disease, and social location in people whose remains are in the W. Montague Cobb anatomical collection and interred at the New York African Burial Ground. Studies were carried out in the scholar-activist tradition of deconstructing racialized interpretations of human biology, and the centering of Black bodies in constructing racial categories and hierarchies. This research led to a broader interest in how African American skeletal remains and living populations were centered in the development of research practices and racial formation in US biological anthropology. Current projects continue to draw on intellectual and political work tied to Cobb and his laboratory from 1932 to the present as sites for understanding science as a social practice. This includes: 1) traditions of Black scholar-activism contesting scientific racism; 2) our field’s efforts toward critiquing scientific racism without attending to structural racism; and, 3) the positionality of scientific researchers.

NYAS Lecture 11/9: What Is the Utility of Anthropology in This Moment of Emergency?

On November 9th the New York Academy of Sciences hosted the lecture, “What Is the Utility of Anthropology in This Moment of Emergency?” Watch it now.

Emergencies push people to reflect on what is meaningful, to become clearer about who they are (individually and collectively), and to figure out what they need to survive. They are reckonings. They demarcate who is included and who is excluded, who has access – to rights, to the “good life,” to living at all – and who doesn’t. In this conversation, Deborah Thomas and Bianca Williams will draw from their own experiences in and of the discipline to reflect upon the extent to which anthropology offers tools to make sense of, and find our way out of, emergencies. They will discuss what drew them to the field, what their continued investments are, and how they attempt to make the discipline accountable to who they are. If the urgency of this moment demands that anthropologists use our tools not only “out there” (in some faraway place that is the “field”), but also right here in the places we work, sleep, and eat, then anthropologists must be prepared to turn the lens on themselves, their departments, their professional organizations, and their funding agencies. How might contemporary discussions about white supremacy, anti-Black violence, and class disparity allow us to do deep thinking about estrangement, alienation, and engagement “at home?” Are anthropologists ready for this kind of radical honesty?

SPEAKERS

Deborah A. Thomas

Jean Brownlee Professor of Anthropology, and Director of the Center for Experimental Ethnography at the University of Pennsylvania

Bianca C. Williams

Associate Professor of Anthropology, Women & Gender Studies, and Critical Psychology at The Graduate Center, CUNY

About the Speakers:

Deborah A. Thomas is the R. Jean Brownlee Professor of Anthropology, and the Director of the Center for Experimental Ethnography at the University of Pennsylvania.  She is also a Research Associate with the Visual Identities in Art and Design Research Centre at the University of Johannesburg.  Thomas is the author of Political Life in the Wake of the Plantation:  Sovereignty, Witnessing, Repair, Exceptional Violence:  Embodied Citizenship in Transnational Jamaica and Modern Blackness:  Nationalism, Globalization, and The Politics of Culture in Jamaica; and co-editor of the volume Globalization and Race:  Transformations in the Cultural Production of Blackness.  Her articles have appeared in a diverse range of journals including Cultural Anthropology, American Anthropologist, Radical History Review, Anthropological Theory, small axe, Identities, Interventions, and Feminist Review.  Thomas has also co-directed and co-produced two documentary films:  BAD FRIDAY:  RASTAFARI AFTER CORAL GARDENS, which chronicles violence in Jamaica through the eyes of its most iconic community; and FOUR DAYS IN MAY:  KINGSTON 2010, which explores the effects of the “Tivoli Incursion” in May 2010, when Jamaican security forces entered West Kingston to arrest Christopher Coke, wanted for extradition to the United States, and killed at least 75 civilians.  Thomas is also the co-curator of a multi-media installation titled Bearing Witness:  Four Days in West Kingston, which opened at the Penn Museum in November 2017.  Thomas edited the journal Transforming Anthropology from 2007-2010, and currently sits on the editorial boards of Social and Economic Studies and Anthropological Theory.  From 2016-2020, she was the Editor-in-Chief of American Anthropologist, the flagship journal of the American Anthropological Association.  She has served on the executive boards of the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD), the Caribbean Studies Association, and the Society for Cultural Anthropology.  Prior to Thomas’s life as an academic, she was a professional dancer with the New York-based Urban Bush Women.

Bianca C. Williams (she/her) is an Associate Professor of Anthropology, Women & Gender Studies, and Critical Psychology at The Graduate Center, CUNY. She earned a graduate certificate in African & African American Studies and her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from Duke University. Her research interests focus on Black women and emotional wellness; race, gender, and equity in higher education; and Black feminist pedagogical and organizing practices. The investigative thread that binds Williams’ organizing, teaching, and research is the question “How do Black people develop strategies for enduring and resisting the effects of racism and sexism, while attempting to maintain emotional wellness?” In her award-winning book The Pursuit of Happiness: Black Women, Diasporic Dreams, and the Politics of Emotional Transnationalism (Duke University Press, 2018), Williams argues that pursuing happiness is a political project for Black women, while examining how African American women use travel to Jamaica and the Internet as tools for escaping U.S. racism and sexism. She is co-editor of Plantation Politics and Campus Rebellions: Power, Diversity, and the Emancipatory Struggle in Higher Education with Dian Squire and Frank Tuitt (SUNY Press, March 2021). Additionally, Williams has written about “radical honesty” as feminist inclusive pedagogy in the volume Race, Equity, and the Learning Environment, and published in the journals Souls, Cultural Anthropology, Teachers College Record, and on the blogs Anthrodendum and Anthropoliteia. She is a recipient of the American Anthropological Association & Oxford University Press Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching of Anthropology. Finally, Williams is Faculty Lead of the PublicsLab at The Graduate Center, and the Executive Program Chair for the 2021 meetings of the American Anthropological Association.

While Wenner-Gren is proud to be providing a platform for this event, the views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Foundation.

Watch Now: Migration through the Camera Lens: Ethnography, Film, and the Migration Crisis

On October 19th the New York Academy of Sciences hosted the lecture, “Migration through the Camera Lens: Ethnography, Film, and the Migration Crisis”. Watch it now.

Building on the long tradition of anthropological research in borderlands, questions of mobility have received heightened attention by scholars in recent years as migration crises make headline news. Alongside new works exploring the political and experiential elements of migration, some anthropologists are turning to filmmaking as an ideal ethnographic method for actively engaging migrant subjects in the research process, raising public awareness about the human rights of migrants, and building on existing theories of individual, group, and national identity construction in borderlands. Distinguished panelists will discuss their experiences documenting migration through the camera lens. Prior to the event, registered guests will have the opportunity to view Border South, which focuses its lens on the border space between the United States and Mexico, and selections from The Burning, which focuses on the southernmost borders to the European Union in North Africa; an email with the links and passwords to view the films will be sent to registered attendees 48 hours before the event. These films will set the stage for an engaging event on film as an ethnographic method, the ethics of doing research with migrant populations, and the politics of mobility in critical border regions with global health and humanitarian crises on the rise. Key questions center on how border crises are created and manipulated by those in power, and how governments use natural barriers, including deserts and seas, to reinforce the violent, traumatic, and even deadly experiences of border crossing.

 

SPEAKERS

Jason De León

Professor of Anthropology and Chicana, Chicano, and Central American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles and Executive Director of the Undocumented Migration Project (UMP)

Isabella Alexander-Nathani

Founder and Executive Director of Small World Films

Raúl O. Paz-Pastrana

Independent Filmmaker and Cinematographer

MODERATOR

Naeem Mohaiemen

Filmmaker, Author and Mellon Fellow at Heyman Center, Columbia University

About the Speakers:

Jason De León is Professor of Anthropology and Chicana, Chicano, and Central American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles and Executive Director of the Undocumented Migration Project (UMP) Inc., a 501(c)(3). The UMP is a long-term anthropological study of clandestine migration between Latin America and the United States that uses a combination of ethnographic, visual, archaeological, and forensic approaches to understand this violent social process. He has published numerous academic articles and his work with the UMP has been featured in a variety of popular media outlets. He is the author of the award-winning book “The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail” (featuring photos by Michael Wells) and Head Curator of the forthcoming global exhibition Hostile Terrain 94. De León is President of the Board of Directors for The Colibrí Center for Human Rights and a 2017 MacArthur Foundation fellow.

Dr. Isabella Alexander-Nathani is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, educator, and human rights activist. Trained as a cultural anthropologist, her work is motivated by her belief that storytelling has the power to humanize complex political issues. Her latest book Burning at Europe’s Borders (Oxford University Press, 2020) and related documentary film The Burning (Small World Films, 2020) uncover the human sides of our global migrant and refugee crisis. Alexander-Nathani’s work has been featured on BBC, CNN, NPR, PRI, and Al Jazeera, and she is a regular contributor to SAPIENS, where she writes a monthly column called “Borders.” Her speaking programs have brought her to stages around the world, including the United Nations General Assembly and the Parliament of the World’s Religions, where she has delivered keynote addresses to audiences of more than 10,000. The American Anthropological Association presented her with the “Emerging Leader in Anthropology” award in 2016, and her latest project has been supported by multiple grants from The National Science Foundation. She has held faculty positions in the Departments of Anthropology and Film Studies at Emory University and the Department of Social Sciences at Morocco’s national university. She currently serves as Founder and Executive Director of Small World Films, a non-profit production studio. She uses grounded social science research and storytelling to lift the voices of marginalized populations to the global stage and fight for international policy change.

Raúl O. Paz-Pastrana is a Mexican immigrant filmmaker and cinematographer. His work intersects contemporary art, political documentary, and visual ethnography to explore themes of belonging, alienation, and the concept of “home.”  His last feature film Border South follows the migrant routes from southern Mexico to the U.S.-Mexico border. The result is a close-up, nuanced, and highly original view of the migrant experience, one fraught with risk and danger but also camaraderie, ingenuity, and humor. Border South had its world premiere at the 2019 Sheffield Doc/Fest in the U.K., its U.S. premiere at the AFI Docs Film Festival in Washington D.C. and its Latin American premiere at the 2020 Guadalajara International Film Festival (FICG) in Mexico. Raúl is a Princess Grace Awards Special Project Grantee, a Camargo Foundation Cassis France Artist Alumni, a Tribeca Film Institute grant recipient, a 2018 IFP Filmmaker Labs fellow, a 2018 BAVC MediaMaker Fellow, a 2018-20 Firelight Media Documentary Lab Fellow, a 2020 New America National Fellow, a 2018-20 Ford Foundation, JustFilms grantee, a 2020 Colorado Humanities grantee, and a 2020-21 Sundance Institute grantee.

MODERATOR
Naeem Mohaiemen makes films and writes essays about rhizomatic families, malleable borders, and socialist utopias – beginning from Bangladesh’s two postcolonial markers (1947, 1971) and then radiating outward to transnational linkages. He is author of Midnight’s Third Child (Nokta, forthcoming) and Prisoners of Shothik Itihash (Kunsthalle Basel, 2014); editor of Chittagong Hill Tracts in the Blind Spot of Bangladesh Nationalism (Drishtipat, 2010); and co-editor with Eszter Szakacs of Solidarity Must be Defended (Tranzit, forthcoming) and with Lorenzo Fusi of System Error: War is a Force that Gives us Meaning (Sylvana, 2007). Naeem is Mellon Fellow at Heyman Center, Columbia University, New York, and Senior Fellow (non-residential) at Lunder Institute of American Art, Colby College, Maine. He is on the board of the Vera List Center for Art & Politics, New School, New York, and the film council of ICA, London.

While Wenner-Gren is proud to be providing a platform for this event, the views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Foundation.

 

NYAS Lecture 9/21: Making your Research Make a Difference: Designing a Strategy to Engage the Public with Social Media

On September 21st the New York Academy of Sciences will be hosting a webinar entitled, “Making your Research Make a Difference: Designing a Strategy to Engage the Public with Social Media”. Kristina Baines, Associate Professor at Guttman Community College, “Director of Anthropology” at Cool Anthropology, and Victoria Costa, Creative Technologist, “Director of Cool” at Cool Anthropology will be speaking. Baird Campbell, Public Scholarship Graduate Assistant at Cool Anthropology, and Hannia Delgado, Social Media Manager at Cool Anthropology will be co-facilitating.

The lecture will begin at 6:30 EST. Click here to register.

A live stream will be on Facebook and YouTube.

Social media platforms can be both a democratizing force and a dismissive space, simultaneously making research accessible and applicable to a wide audience while also rendering it reductive and dangerously generalized. In this workshop participants will develop a step-by-step plan to engage a wide audience with their research and applied projects without compromising rigor or grounded discussion. With the often complicated power dynamics inherent in Anthropology, to remain silent about political matters is, in itself, a political act. It is increasingly urgent that anthropologists think of themselves as engaged citizens, not simply researchers and practitioners. This workshop invites participants to expand their perspective on how their work is relevant to the public, and helps build the toolkit required to reach people outside of our discipline.

About the Speakers:

Kristina Baines is a sociocultural anthropologist with an applied medical/environmental focus. Her research interests include indigenous ecologies, health, and heritage in the context of global change, in addition to publicly engaged research and dissemination practices. She is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the City University of New York (CUNY), Guttman Community College, and the Director of Anthropology for Cool Anthropology.

Victoria Costa is a creative innovator who leverages her skills in design thinking, program management, technology and collective action to build community around projects supporting more just societies. Her interests include social permaculture, rethinking education and breaking down the walls of academia to provide wide access to research ideas. She is co-founder and principal strategist at Cool Anthropology, research scholar at the Ronin Institute, and serves on the advisory board of the Oglala Lakota Economic and Cultural Revitalization Initiative (OLCERI).

NYAS Lecture 4/20: COVID-19 and Anthropology: Disease, Social Justice, and Well Being

Image “COVID Message in chalk on pavement” from March 31, 2020 by Ballofstring. File licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. Full information on wikimedia commons page for the image.

On April 20th The New York Academy of Sciences will be hosting a webinar entitled “COVID-19 and Anthropology: Disease, Social Justice, and Well Being” featuring the following panelists:

Shirley Lindenbaum

Merrill Singer

James H. Jones

Thurka Sangaramoorthy

Amber Wutich

Tonya Taylor, Assistant Professor, PhD/MS, College of Medicine, SUNY Downstate will serve as moderator.

The lecture will begin at 6:30pm (ET). Webinar access via RSVP, live stream on Facebook.

Join us for a webinar focused on our current pandemic (COVID-19), contextualizing the global comparative, disease and treatment, issues of social and economic inequity, immigrant health, questions of stigma, and policy.

Panelists:

Shirley Lindenbaum (Professor Emerita, Department of Anthropology, The Graduate Center, CUNY), Merrill Singer (Professor Emeritus of Medical Anthropology, The University of Connecticut and in Community Medicine at The University of Connecticut Health Center), James H. Jones (Associate Professor of Earth System Science & Senior Fellow, Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University), Thurka Sangaramoorthy (Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Maryland), and Amber Wutich (President’s Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for Global Health in Arizona State University’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change).

NYAS Lecture 2/24: Forest for the Trees: Spirit, Psychedelic Science, and the Politics of Ecologizing Thought as a Planetary Ethics

On February 24th The New York Academy of Sciences lecture series returns when Dr. Eduardo Kohn, Associate Professor of Anthropology at McGill University, presents, “Forest for the Trees: Spirit, Psychedelic Science, and the Politics of Ecologizing Thought as a Planetary Ethics”. Dr. O. Hugo Benavides, Department Chair and Professor of Anthropology, Fordham University, will act as discussant.

The event will be held at 5:45 PM at the Roosevelt House, 47-49 E 65th St, New York, NY 10065.

Please note: the lecture begins at 6:30 PM, and while the event is free to attend pre-registration is required for entry into the building. Early registration is strongly recommended, since seating is limited. For the buffet supper, registration is also required.

What kind of guidance can those worlds I call forests provide for living well on Earth in times of planetary ecological trouble? I approach this question as an anthropologist. That is, as someone who is committed to cultivating forms of radical listening as I move among modes of being that can, at times, dissolve me in my quest to understand who I am amid a larger flow of life that vastly exceeds me. Reflecting on my ongoing anthropological, and increasingly collaborative, research in and around indigenous communities of Ecuador’s Upper Amazon, and drawing on and distorting immersive ethnographic technologies in the process, my goal is to use what I thus might learn to help find a path that can orient us (humans) in our attempts to live well in relation to the many kinds of others that make and hold us.

About the Speaker:

Eduardo Kohn is Associate Professor of Anthropology at McGill University. He studies the intimate relationships that the indigenous peoples of Ecuador’s Upper Amazon have with one of Earth’s most complex ecosystems. Focusing on how they understand and communicate with rainforest beings through hunting and gathering, as well as through dreams and psychedelic plant use, has led him to the audacious conclusion that complex living systems manifest “mind” at a variety of scales and in a variety of ways.  From this he develops an empirically robust framework to understand our broader relationship to such mind-like phenomena with the goal of rethinking how to live in the face of unprecedented anthropogenic climate change. His prize-winning book How Forests Think has been translated into nine languages and has inspired the planetary ecological imaginary in a surprisingly diverse number of ways ranging from an eponymous symphony premiering at Lincoln Center to international museum exhibits.

All talks in this series take place at Roosevelt House, 47-49 E 65th St, New York, NY 10065. A dinner and wine reception will precede the talk: Buffet dinner at 5:45 PM. ($20 contribution for dinner guests/free for students).  Lectures begin at 6:30 PM and are free and open to the public, but registration is required

 

NYAS Lecture 1/27: On the Infectious Affinities of Viruses, Plants, and Dying Human Bodies: Species’ Shifting Boundaries and Uncertain Futures

The New York Academy of Sciences brings us another great installment of its lecture series on January 27th when Dr. Charles L. Briggs, Alan Dundes Distinguished Professor, Department of Anthropology
University of California, Berkeley, presents, “On the Infectious Affinities of Viruses, Plants, and Dying Human Bodies: Species’ Shifting Boundaries and Uncertain Futures.” Dr. Jennifer Telesca, Assistant Professor of Environmental Justice, Pratt Institute, will act as discussant. The event will be held at 5:45 PM at the Roosevelt House, 47-49 E 65th St, New York, NY 10065.

Please note: the lecture begins at 6:30 PM, and while the event is free to attend pre-registration is required for entry into the building. Early registration is strongly recommended, since seating is limited. For the buffet supper, registration is also required.

This presentation charts the emergence of precarious futures by conjuring a space between medical anthropology, multispecies ethnography, linguistic anthropology, and zoonosis (exchanges of pathogens between humans and nonhumans). Its analytic task is akin to tossing a deck of cards into the air and trying to grasp how different beings would read their novel configuration. Here the entities unpredictably thrown together include humans, plants, bats, chickens, and viruses, and the forces that induce unforeseeable rearrangements include state efforts to turn environmental destruction into social justice, alternative indigenous socialisms that grant plants agency in imagining futures, and climate change. By tracing how assemblages of rabies viruses and human nerve cells occasion more-than-human speech acts and plants sensorily move between healers’ and patients’ bodies, it pushes against boundaries that would isolate species, ontologies, and subdisciplines.

About the Speaker:

Charles L. Briggs is the Alan Dundes Distinguished Professor in the Department of Anthropology, the Co-Director of the Medical Anthropology Program, Co-Director of the Berkeley Center for Social Medicine, and Chair of the Folklore Graduate Program at the University of California, Berkeley. His books include The Wood Carvers of Córdova, New Mexico; Learning How to Ask; Voices of Modernity (with Richard Bauman); Competence in Performance; Stories in the Time of Cholera (with Clara Mantini-Briggs); Making Health Public (with Daniel Hallin); and Tell Me Why My Children Died (with Clara Mantini-Briggs). He has received the James Mooney Award, the Chicago Folklore Prize, Edward Sapir Book Prize, the J. I. Staley Prize, the Américo Paredes Prize, the New Millennium Book Award, the Cultural Horizons Prize, the Robert B. Textor and Family Prize for Excellence in Anticipatory Anthropology, and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Lichtenberg-Kolleg, and the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences.

All talks in this series take place at Roosevelt House, 47-49 E 65th St, New York, NY 10065. A dinner and wine reception will precede the talk: Buffet dinner at 5:45 PM. ($20 contribution for dinner guests/free for students).  Lectures begin at 6:30 PM and are free and open to the public, but registration is required.