Resident Scholars

2009–2010 Resident Scholars2009–2010 Resident Scholars2009–2010 Resident ScholarsThe 2009–2010 resident scholars worked on topics as varied as the dramatic transformation of the governance of reproduction in Latin America to how lost elements of an indigenous culture are encoded in magnificent painted coats.

President James Brooks found inspiration in this 1894 quote from Jane Addams when framing this year’s annual review theme, “Work that Matters”:

The virtues of one generation are not sufficient for the next. It is the responsibility of each generation . . . to claim the knowledge developed by its predecessors; that is what college is for. But to preserve this knowledge, merely to echo the virtues received from our parents, is not enough; any more than the accumulations of knowledge possessed by one age are adequate to the needs of another. … A task is laid upon each generation to enlarge their application, to ennoble their conception, and above all, to apply and adopt them to the peculiar problems presented to it for solution.

To elaborate on the theme of “Work that Matters,” we asked this year’s resident scholars to reflect on the practical contributions their research makes to finding solutions for our generation’s “peculiar problems” and on the work of other scholars in their cohort. Click below to hear their comments and to enjoy one of the new dimensions of our Annual Review in its digital form.

Charles L. Briggs

Charles L. Briggs

“Bats, Rabies, Reporters, and the Wrath of the State: On the Limits of Anthropological Knowledge”
With Clara Mantini-Briggs, an SAR Visiting Research Associate this year, Charles Briggs worked on a book about “an epidemic of an unknown disease, a mysterious disease that emerged in 2007 in a rainforest area of eastern Venezuela called the Delta Amacuro,” he said. “It’s a book that thinks about how people facing the worst health conditions in the world have been able to imagine a best case scenario and to work valiantly toward that goal and how they recruited us along the way to diagnose the disease, to document it, to bring together anthropology, indigenous leadership, the way in which families had seen the death of their children, and epidemiology and clinical medicine, and to take this to the national government.”

Lynn M. Morgan

Lynn M. Morgan

“Reproductive Governance in Mexico and Central America”
“I’ve been working here at SAR on changes in reproductive health policy in Latin America over the last ten to fifteen years or so. The changes that have been going on in reproductive health policy have been dramatic and very quick and very transformative for the society, or societies, as a whole, and have been making an enormous difference in the lives of women and men in those societies. So I’ve been interested in documenting as a social scientist how those changes are happening and why they’re happening the way they are, which in many cases is quite different from what might be expected given the political parties that are in office in the countries where these things are transpiring.”

Sherry Farrell Racette

Sherry Farrell Racette

“Material Culture as Encoded Objects and Memory”
The long, intricately painted hide coats at the center of Sherry Farrell Racette’s research project were created between 1780 and 1920 and are scattered among museum collections in Europe and North America. They are no longer being made. “I started working with the coats because they kept turning up in museum exhibitions and they seemed to have contradictory information,” she said. “There is no memory of the coats in First Nations communities, and with rare exceptions, they have little provenance.” She began an inventory of existing coats in 2006 and has located nearly 30 coats, about a dozen of which are from the late eighteenth century. She has found references to the coats in a variety of archival sources, including those of Hudson’s Bay Company, which controlled the fur trade in much of North America for several centuries. Many of the traders married indigenous women and forged relationships with Métis and First Nations peoples. “The coats present an opportunity to explore the complex social networks that emerged during the fur trade, and the male body as a site for female artistic expression,” said Racette.

Christopher B. Teuton

Christopher B. Teuton

“Cherokee Stories of the Turtle Island Liars’ Club”
“I came to SAR to complete a book project called ‘Cherokee Stories of the Turtle Island Liar’s Club,’ and with the support of the Katrin H. Lamon Fellowship, I’ve been able to accomplish that task. Cherokee Stories of the Turtle Island Liar’s Club is a collection of stories and teachings from four Cherokee elders—Mr. Hastings Shade, Mr. Sequoia Guess, Mr. Sammy Still, and Mr. Woody Hansen. It’s a seven-chapter work that tells oral traditional stories and oral traditional teachings, and it’s based on several years’ worth of oral recordings that I accomplished when going back home to Oklahoma to work with the Liar’s Club.”

James A. Trostle

James A. Trostle

“Illness on the Road: The Political Ecology of Remoteness in Esmeraldas, Ecuador”
“This is an ideal site in which to assess the health-related effects of rapid social change,” said James Trostle about a road completed in 2001 linking the northern Ecuadorian coast with the highland sierra. Trostle’s project at SAR was writing a book about a long-term, multifaceted, interdisciplinary research project on the effects this road had on disease risk and transmission. Begun in 2003 and refunded through 2012, the project is funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

Follow us: