President’s Message

Michael F. BrownMichael F. BrownSAR PresidentMichael F. BrownSAR PresidentThe odor of burning juniper is the sweetest fragrance on the face of the earth, in my honest judgment; I doubt if all the smoking censers of Dante's paradise could equal it. One breath of juniper smoke, like the perfume of sagebrush after rain, evokes in magical catalysis, like certain music, the space and light and clarity and piercing strangeness of the American West.
—Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire

The smell of burning juniper and piñon is everywhere in Santa Fe as the city settles into the short days and bitter cold mornings of the new year.

But important ideas are heating up at SAR. Our Membership Lecture series for early 2015 continues Journey to Becoming Human, which tracks the rise of our species through key changes in the brain, transformations in child-rearing and other family relationships, and the impact of diet on human health and well-being. The third lecture of the series, “Grandmothers and Human Evolution,” will be given by Prof. Kristen Hawkes on February 19, 6:30 pm, at the New Mexico History Museum auditorium. Membership Lectures are free to SAR members; non-members pay a $10 entry fee.

As we ease into spring, SAR’s field trips begin anew, beginning on March 19 with guided tours of two historic homes of the Rio Grande Valley: the Gutierrez-Hubbell home in the South Valley and the La Quinta home and the Los Poblanos Property in the North Valley. On March 27, resident scholar Severin Fowles will show us little-known rock art created by Comanche and Ute raiders during their forays into northern New Mexico in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. These trips are likely to fill quickly, so reservations should be made soon.

We hope you will join us for these events and our regular colloquia and Sparks talks, schedules for which will be posted soon.

I wish you a happy and prosperous 2015.

Michael F. Brown, President

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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