News for Thursday, June 27, 2013

SAR President Steps Down to Concentrate on Research, Writing, and Educational Innovation

James F. BrooksJames F. BrooksPhotograph by Jason S. OrdazJames F. BrooksPhotograph by Jason S. Ordaz

Santa Fe, NM—The School for Advanced Research announced today the decision by President James F. Brooks to resign effective June 30, and to accept the offer of a research associate appointment with the School for the year ahead. During his research year, the award-winning ethnohistorian will complete long-delayed writing projects and explore new approaches to graduate training and public outreach with former colleagues in the University of California system.

Dr. Brooks departs at the conclusion of his eighth year as president, and eleventh year at SAR, as he first joined the staff in 2002 as director of SAR Press. His term coincided with the School’s Centennial in 2007, a momentous year in which it changed its name from the “School of American Research” to the “School for Advanced Research,” to better reflect the global reach of its support for scholarship in the social sciences and humanities. Other significant events under his leadership include the recruitment of new faculty like John Kantner, Cynthia Chavez Lamar, and Nicole Taylor, as well as appointments of senior scholars Dean Falk and the late Linda Cordell. New programs such as the Campbell Program for Women Scholar Practitioners—which has supported women from Morocco, Ethiopia, and Kenya in developing strategies for women’s economic and social empowerment—and an emphasis on collaborative research and exhibition projects with Native peoples also mark his tenure. Public outreach and education expanded considerably with the creation of the Southwest Crossroads educational website, used by more than 50,000 students and teachers each year; monthly Sparks Talks on local history and culture; and a fieldtrip program serving more than 200 participants annually, visiting locations as near as Pecos National Monument and as far as the borderlands of southeastern Turkey.

Dr. Brooks thanked the School’s board of directors “for the honor of allowing me to serve the School for more than a decade, during which I learned as much or more than our resident fellows. SAR is a crucible of thought and artistic expression, and any day on campus can inspire new insights. Only this month I published an essay in the American Historical Review in which I credited the ‘peculiar alchemy’ at SAR for the inspiration to write a 1,000-year history of evangelical movements in the Southwest. I am especially grateful for the opportunity to complete my scholarly work while associated with the School. My decision will allow the board to seek new leadership that can address the challenges of long-term sustainability that are so profound in the world of higher educational and charitable nonprofits today.”

Dr. Glen W. Davidson, chair of the board of directors, thanked Dr. Brooks for his leadership during a crucial time of SAR’s development as one of the country’s most significant centers of research. He stated that SAR wishes Dr. Brooks the best as he continues his distinguished scholarly career.

Born in Colorado, Dr. Brooks is an interdisciplinary scholar of the indigenous and colonial past. He has held professorial appointments at the University of Maryland, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Berkeley, as well as fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and as an SAR resident scholar from 2000–2001. The recipient of more than a dozen national awards for scholarly excellence, his 2002 book Captives & Cousins: Slavery, Kinship and Community in the Southwest Borderlands focused on the traffic in women and children across the region as expressions of intercultural violence and accommodation. His most recent publication, co-edited with Benedict Colombi, is Keystone Nations: Indigenous Peoples and Salmon across the North Pacific, which was published by SAR Press in 2012.