President’s Message 2010–2011

James F. BrooksJames F. BrooksPresident and Chief Executive OfficerJames F. BrooksPresident and Chief Executive Officer

One year ago I wrote that the School, like so many of us personally, was experiencing the tumultuous forces of history in ways that seemed “sometimes cataclysmic, sometimes exhilarating.” Little has changed in the world at large to withdraw that assessment.

Yet, as we begin our 104th academic year within the smaller universe of SAR, I see the months behind us as a remarkable testament to the ability of a mature and energetic institution to weather change, and even grow stronger in the process. Our private, independent status—which might have been thought to signal vulnerability—now clearly seems a blessing. Public universities and research centers dependent upon state and federal funding find themselves in a deepening trough as the stimulus monies that supported them shrink. SAR, however, thanks in large part to a determined and dedicated Board of Managers, enjoyed our most robust fund-raising year since 2007, as well as a strong rebound in our endowment. The years ahead will continue to bear scars from the downturn, but our programs and the mission they fulfill display real vitality.

Even as our Summer Scholars depart campus, we delight in having been able to support seven researchers who engaged topics as various as violence and security on the US/Mexico border, the role of 19th-century military ethnographers in shaping northern India’s “tribal belt,” and the quest for “normalcy” by wounded soldiers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. We also added a fellowship, the Christopher Smeall Fellowship in Anthropological Linguistics, with which Erin Debenport continued her work on language revitalization at the southern Tiwa Sandia Pueblo.

Berber Village in the Atlas MountainsBerber Village in the Atlas MountainsPhotograph by Mikkel GerkenBerber Village in the Atlas MountainsPhotograph by Mikkel Gerken

With approaching autumn we welcome eight Resident Scholars and Visiting Research Associates, pursuing topics as varied as the archaeology of slavery, Omani colonialism in East Africa, Oneida history in the 20th century, and revitalization of the Southern Paiute Salt Song Trail. We also welcome a new fellow, Dr. Jamila Bargach from Morocco, who will be with us under the Campbell Fellowship for Women Scholar-Practitioners from Developing Nations, working on fog-harvesting technology for Berber women in remote villages of the Atlas Mountains. Even as these scholars are at work, we will be announcing competitions for two new fellowship positions, one supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, and one in East and Southeast Asian Studies sponsored by the Luce Foundation.

Eight gatherings of scholars will take place under our Seminar Programs, ranging from policy research on “managed migration” in the US and Canada to the experience of Muslim youth in the post-2001 world, from Indigenous curation practices in Australia, New Zealand, and the Americas to health and well being in Amazonia. Duane SlickDuane Slick2010 Ronald and Susan Dubin FellowDuane Slick2010 Ronald and Susan Dubin Fellow Four of these seminars are supported under our new NSF Team Research initiative, which allows scholars to synthesize, analyze, and discuss the results of their collaborative work and to develop plans for successful completion of their joint projects.

The Indian Arts Research Center will host three artists-in-residence – Mesqwaki painter Duane Slick, weaver Aric Chopito from Zuni Pueblo, and Chumash basketmaker Linda Aguilar – as well as Cherokee poet Santee Frazier under our new Lannan Indigenous Writer-in-Residence Fellowship. Two young Native museum professionals, Gloria Bell (Métis) and Teresa Montoya (Diné), will join the SAR community as part of the expanded Anne Ray internship program. Finally, the IARC Speaker Series will feature leading experts discussing "Getting Back to Basics: Practice and Process in Native Collections Care" over the course of the academic year.

In the Places of the SpiritsIn the Places of the Spirits
In the Places of the Spirits
Art in Our Lives: Native Women Artists in DialogueArt in Our Lives: Native Women Artists in Dialogue
Art in Our Lives: Native Women Artists in Dialogue

SAR Press has some great books in the pipeline for the coming year, led by David Grant Noble’s just-released In the Places of the Spirits, a stunning combination of photography and archaeological memoir by a Southwestern legend, and closely followed by Art in Our Lives: Native Women Artists in Dialogue, featuring eleven contemporary artists discussing the challenges and rewards of pursuing their passion in the 21st century. Several Advanced Seminar books will appear and inform our understanding of urgent issues around “embedded” anthropologists in military and national security agencies, the global circulation of psychopharmacological drugs, the emergence of ancient writing systems, and energy development in Indian country. Capping our list will be two new volumes from the Popular Archaeology series on ancestral Hopi peoples and the splendid Mimbres culture of southern New Mexico.

Fieldtrips will help our members appreciate in depth the wonders of the Southwest, from the Galisteo Basin to Zuni Pueblo, while our Membership Lecture Series on “The Visual and the Virtual” will expose the audience to breakthroughs in ethnographic film, photography, and digital archaeological reconstruction.

Little did (I, at least) imagine one year ago that we would be looking toward such a vigorous expansion in our programs, overseen and stewarded by a SAR staff of thirty of the most committed and enthusiastic professionals I’ve ever had the honor of leading. Thank you for taking the time to read this message, and for exploring the full depth of our programs in the associated links. When I think of the cycles through which we’ve moved in recent years, I am reminded of a statement by Anthony Dorame of nearby Tesuque Pueblo—“cycles are circles that travel in straight lines.” Our path ahead is unwavering.

—James F. Brooks

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