Advanced Seminars

While resident scholar fellowships give individuals the rare opportunity to write in extended, unstructured solitude, the School’s Advanced Seminar Program creates a unique intellectual crucible in which groups of scholars can explore dynamic themes and issues at the forefront of anthropological inquiry. An optimal seminar format consisting of ten scholars in residence for a week emerged out of the program’s first years of experimentation. Throughout the week, participants eat, sleep, and meet in the Schwartz Seminar House, where they engage in structured discussions centered on precirculated papers as well as in informal brainstorming sessions. This deceptively simple format fosters ground-breaking insights into fundamental questions and encourages scholars with differing perspectives to examine cross-cutting themes.

Since the program began in 1967, the School has hosted 131 Advanced Seminars, encompassing 1,360 scholars. Two-thirds of the seminars have resulted in published volumes that allow individual papers and the results of the vigorous seminar discussions to be shared with the academic community and the general public.

Advanced Seminar: Nature, Science, and ReligionAugust 17–21, 2009Nature, Science, and Religion: Intersections Shaping Society and the EnvironmentChaired by Catherine M. Tucker, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Indiana University“Does religion shape or affect environmental practice, and if so, how?” Lynn White’s intriguing question, posed initially in a 1967 Science article, sparked this advanced seminar.
Toward a Global Human HistorySeptember 26–October 2, 2009Toward a Global Human History: Agency and the Explanation of Long-Term ChangeCo-chaired by Timothy R. Pauketat, Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Illinois and John Robb, Senior Lecturer, Department of Archaeology, Cambridge UniversityWhy do there appear to have been long periods of little change early in human archaeological history? Can we square such explanations with those we use to explain, say, the state?
The Difference Kinship Makes: Rethinking the Ideologies of ModernityMarch 21–25, 2010The Difference Kinship Makes: Rethinking the Ideologies of ModernityCo-chaired by Fenella Cannell, Reader in Social Anthropology, LSE, Department of Social Anthropology, London School of Economics and Political Science and Susan McKinnon, Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of VirginiaThis seminar questioned the distinction between “kin-based” societies and those based on “modern” organization has been fundamental to ideas of contemporary humanity.
Rethinking Race and Science: Biology, Genes, and CultureMay 2–6, 2010Rethinking Race and Science: Biology, Genes, and CultureChaired by John Hartigan, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Texas, AustinThe research of the biological anthropologists at the seminar looked beyond the realm of genetics to consider biological variation broadly in relation to race.
Indigenous Peoples and Salmon in the Northern PacificMay 15–21, 2010Indigenous Peoples and Salmon in the Northern PacificCo-chaired by Dr. James F. Brooks, President, School for Advanced Research and Dr. Benedict Colombi, Assistant Professor, American Indian Studies, University of ArizonaTwo years in the making, the seminar explored how indigenous societies across the northern Pacific Rim—from Sakhalin Island through Alaska and south to the Columbia River—built their distinctive cultures around wild salmon.
Katherine Dunham and the Anthropology of Dance: Theory, Experiment and Social EngagementJune 6–11, 2010Katherine Dunham and the Anthropology of Dance: Theory, Experiment, and Social EngagementChaired by Dr. Elizabeth Chin, Professor, Department of Critical Theory and Social Justice, Occidental College, Los AngelesPerhaps best known as the first African American to found a major modern dance company, Dunham counted Alvin Ailey, Eartha Kitt, and Marlon Brando among her students.
Follow us: