President’s Message

Michael F. BrownMichael F. BrownSAR PresidentMichael F. BrownSAR PresidentAs I write, an unusual spring thunderstorm is rumbling through Santa Fe, presaging the July-August monsoon season to come. SAR is shifting into summer mode, with our nine-month scholars sadly watching their fellowship term enter its final weeks and SAR staff preparing for the arrival of our summer scholars and artists, who this year will include a Lannan Indigenous Writer-in-Residence.

Kicking off spring/summer events was an SAR Distinguished Lecture by Oxford University-based Nick Bostrom on June 7. The title of his lecture, “Can We Reshape Humanity’s Deep Future? Possibilities and Risks of Artificial Intelligence, Human Enhancement, and other Emerging Technologies,” built upon Bostrom’s work as founding director of the Future of Humanity Institute. His speculative research on the risks of artificial intelligence earned him a place on Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers list. Special thanks go to the Vera R. Campbell Foundation, Susan L. Foote, and Merrilee Caldwell and Marcus P. Randolph for underwriting this special event and the campus reception that followed it.

The Bostrom lecture is the first in a series of occasional events that we’re calling “Dispatches from the Edge,” talks that explore the frontiers of work in the social sciences and humanities. This series will complement our well-established membership lectures and colloquia. The event also marks a first step toward increasing SAR’s summer offerings to make our programs more available to Santa Fe’s many visitors and part-time residents. Other summer events will be posted on the SAR website as they are announced.

With the SAR campus beginning to show off its summer colors, we hope that you’ll consider contributing to the Spring Appeal, which is focused on SAR’s historic campus and its needs.


Michael F. Brown

About Michael F. Brown

Raised in upstate New York, Dallas, Texas, and Kansas City, Missouri, Michael Brown received his AB degree from Princeton and a PhD in cultural anthropology from the University of Michigan. His research has covered a broad range of topics, including the indigenous peoples of Amazonia, new religious movements, and the global challenge of protecting indigenous cultural property from misuse. He has been awarded research fellowships by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Institute for Advanced Study. At SAR, he has been a resident scholar and a participant in two advanced seminars.

In addition to scholarly articles, Brown is the author of six books, including The Channeling Zone: American Spirituality in an Anxious Age (1997), Who Owns Native Culture? (2003), and Upriver: The Turbulent Life and Times of an Amazonian People (2014). He has also published general-interest articles and reviews in Natural History, Smithsonian, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and the New York Times Book Review. A list of his publications, many downloadable as full-text PDF files, is accessible here.

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