President’s Message 2012–2013

Aerial View of Expanded SAR CampusAerial View of Expanded SAR CampusAerial View of Expanded SAR Campus

This year we welcomed a dozen new fellows to our campus at 660 Garcia Street. As we gathered over coffee in the “spiral garden,” I shared my gratitude that during the most troublous economic times in recent memory, the programs that sustain our mission—to understand and communicate the human experience—remain robust, and that we are fortunate to have expanded the campus through completion of a major land acquisition in September.

Many factors account for this success: talented SAR personnel who take the lead in crafting new initiatives that speak to issues at once urgent in their timeliness and profound in their timelessness; trustees who see the School as an indispensable “safe haven” for research, reflection, conversation, and creativity in a turbulent world; donors who find, in our 105-year history, evidence of faithful stewardship of philanthropic resources; and, finally, a simple blend of hard work and good luck.

Many things remain the same at SAR, of course. From formal colloquium discussions to informal exchanges over a game of billiards, artists and scholars engage in the exchange of ideas that have enriched human society for thousands of years. Year upon year, these exchanges ultimately find expression in particular forms—an essay, a painting, a monograph, a weaving. What sets SAR apart from our peers is the “peculiar alchemy” that transpires when exceptional people from widely different academic, artistic, and cultural roots meet in a single community.

Resident ScholarsCelebrating the Breadth of SAR Alumni (Membership Lecture Series)
Resident ScholarsCelebrating the Breadth of SAR Alumni (Membership Lecture Series)
Keystone NationsHisat'sinom
Keystone NationsHisat'sinom

This year, our 106th, finds our distinctive school of thought pursuing full maturity. Founded decades ago, flagship programs like the Advanced Seminars, Resident Scholars, and Artist Fellows find new varieties of expression, from the Anne Ray Fellow and Interns program, new fellowships from the Luce and Campbell Foundations and the NEH, as well as the Indigenous Writer-in-Residence and Literary Arts Programs sponsored by the Lannan Foundation. NSF Research Team Seminars will address topics like the successes and failures of microfinance enterprises, while the Anne Ray programs bridge the scholarly and artistic programs of the School through faculty mentorship of interns who aspire to advanced study in museum and heritage studies. The Luce fellowship provides long-term focus on Asia, this year devoted to understanding the relationship between Japanese corporate recovery strategies in the 1990s and the rise of women’s soccer leagues. And our emphasis on literary expression will see extraordinary writers like Karen Fisher and Casandra Lopez reading from their work in the boardroom in the year ahead. This year’s Membership Lecture Series casts back and draws upon alumni from many of these programs to celebrate the diversity of our reach, investigating topics from hominin evolution to New Orleans jazz to visual anthropology in east Africa.

Our research capacity has also grown stronger with appointments like that of senior scholar Linda Cordell, with two landmark publications in the last year. Given their other duties, our own faculty and affiliated researchers publish at commendable rates and serve as additional sounding boards for our resident fellows.

This vitality is evident, too, in SAR Press’s recent and forthcoming titles, with volumes like Keystone Nations: Indigenous Peoples and Salmon across the North Pacific, The Futures of our Pasts, which explores ethical and political dilemmas in the antiquities trade, and Big Histories, Human Lives, which tackles issues of scale in archaeology, to appear in coming months. SAR SpiralSAR SpiralSAR SpiralWe’ve also just seen the publication of our eighth volume in our popular archaeology series, Hisat’sinom: Ancient Peoples in a Land without Water.

Thank you for visiting this page, and I hope that we will see you in person at SAR soon. We look forward at the years ahead with real confidence that the course we’ve laid will continue to enrich our understanding of humankind’s past, present, and future.

—James F. Brooks, President & CEO

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