News for Thursday, March 28, 2013

New Books from SAR Scholar Alumni

Congratulations to eight former resident scholars who, with the support of SAR fellowships, recently completed years of research and writing and now bring their knowledge to the wider world.

Disquieting Gifts: Humanitarianism in New Delhi

Erica Bornstein, SAR and Social Science Research Council Resident Scholar, 2006–2007
Erica Bornstein continues the trajectory of her work in her new book, Disquieting Gifts: Humanitarianism in New Delhi. During her residency at SAR, Bornstein’s research project was titled “The Orphan: A Cultural Account in New Delhi,” in which she studied charitable giving and what she refers to as “the perplexing category of the orphan.” Her new book is the product of her research and her continued exploration of the nature of humanitarianism and what inspires people to give in New Delhi.


Life in Crisis: The Ethical Journey of Médecins Sans Frontières

Peter Redfield, Weatherhead Resident Scholar, 2007–2008
During his fellowship at SAR, Peter Redfield used his nine months to deepen his understanding of the complex issues faced by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), or Doctors Without Borders. In his latest book, Life in Crisis: The Ethical Journey of Médecins Sans Frontières, Redfield explores what he calls “an essential tension between ethics and action, protesting the very conditions in which it [MSF] seeks to effectively intervene.” Redfield was also co-chair, with Erica Bornstein, of an SAR advanced seminar, which resulted in the book Forces of Compassion: Humanitarianism Between Ethics and Politics, published in 2011 by SAR Press.


Wayward Shamans: The Prehistory of an Idea

Silvia Tomášková, Social Science Research Council Resident Scholar, 2007–2008
While at SAR, Silvia Tomášková’s research project was titled “Traveling Spirits: The History of Shamans and the Gender of Prehistory.” The result is her recently released book, Wayward Shamans: The Prehistory of an Idea, which examines the concept that humanity's first expression of art, religion, and creativity found form in the figure of a proto-priest known as a shaman. In this book, Tomášková also traces the history of shamans in terms of gender.



Moral Ambition: Mobilization and Social Outreach in Evangelical Megachurches

Omri Elisha, Social Science Research Council Resident Scholar, 2007–2008
Omri Elisha’s book, Moral Ambition: Mobilization and Social Outreach in Evangelical Megachurches, is the evolution of the project he worked on while at SAR: “A Movable Faith: The Moral Ambitions of Evangelical Activism and Cultural Christianization.” In Moral Ambition, Elisha examines two Tennessee mega-churches and takes a look at the disagreement and uncertainty among evangelicals about the social role of the church.



The Fossil Chronicles: How Two Controversial Discoveries Changed Our View of Human Evolution

Dean Falk, SAR Resident Scholar, 2008–2009
Dean Falk’s latest book, The Fossil Chronicles: How Two Controversial Discoveries Changed Our View of Human Evolution, looks at two discoveries of early human relatives—the Taung child in 1924 and Hobbit in 2003—and how they radically changed scientific thinking about our origins. During her residency at SAR, Falk studied the brain casts of both Taung and Hobbit and considered the question, “How … could a hominin [Hobbit] with such a small cranial capacity have been smart enough to make stone tools, hunt, and use fire?” Like Taung, “Hobbit violates current scientific mindsets.” In The Fossil Chronicles, Falk reveals new evidence crucial to interpreting both discoveries and proposes surprising connections between this pair of extraordinary specimens who, so long after their deaths, stir such controversy in scientific, academic, and religious communities.


The War Machines: Young Men and Violence in Sierra Leone and Liberia

Daniel J. Hoffman, Weatherhead Resident Scholar, 2008–2009
Daniel J. Hoffman recently released his new book, The War Machines: Young Men and Violence in Sierra Leone and Liberia. During his fellowship at SAR, Hoffman continued work on his research addressing the question, “What are the processes by which young men’s lives become militarized?” Before his residency, he lived for more than seven years with combatants in the ruins of the Brookfields Hotel in Freetown, West Africa, traveled with militia units in Sierra Leone, and crossed the Guinean and Liberian borders with other regional fighters. In his new book, he continues to look at how large numbers of young men are used as mercenary labor in West Africa.


Ancient Bodies, Modern Lives: How Evolution Has Shaped Women's Health

Wenda R. Trevathan, SAR Resident Scholar, 2008–2009
As an anthropologist and a trained midwife, the field of evolutionary medicine is a natural fit for Wenda Trevathan. During her SAR fellowship, she worked on her book Ancient Bodies, Modern Lives: How Evolution Has Shaped Women's Health. According to Trevathan, “The goal of the book is an extensive coverage of all aspects of the female life course, integrating biological, evolutionary, cultural, and contemporary issues.” In Ancient Bodies, Modern Lives, Trevathan presents a compelling case that many of the health challenges faced by women today result from a mismatch between how their bodies have evolved and the contemporary environments in which modern humans live.


Cherokee Stories of the Turtle Island Liars’ Club

Christopher B. Teuton, Katrin H. Lamon Resident Scholar, 2009–2010
Christopher Teuton spent his time at SAR researching Cherokee stories and collaborating with the members of the Turtle Island Liar’s Club. Consisting of four men—Sequoyah Guess, Hastings Shade, Sam Still, and Woody Hansen—the Liars’ Club is a group of storytellers who have performed for more than twenty years and are recognized throughout the Cherokee Nation as traditional storytellers. Teuton’s book was recently published under the title Cherokee Stories of the Turtle Island Liars’ Club.

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