President’s Circle Virtual Happy Hour
Life Beside Itself: Imagining Care in the Canadian Arctic with Lisa Stevenson
As members of the President’s Circle, Founders’ Society, and Legacy Circle, you are cordially invited to attend a Virtual Happy Hour with President Michael F. Brown and 2020 Staley Prize Winner, Lisa Stevenson. Stevenson will discuss her latest book, Life Beside Itself: Imagining Care in the Canadian Arctic.
Stevenson’s Life Beside Itself examines two historical moments among the Inuit of northern Canada: a tuberculosis epidemic in the mid-twentieth century and an epidemic of suicides among Inuit youth today. Stevenson demonstrates how the Canadian state’s approach to care is in both cases shaped by a biomedical model inattentive to the realities of Inuit life in a settler colonial context. Although well-meaning and carried out by dedicated professionals, conventional biomedical care that seeks to extend life at all costs ignores the kind of life being preserved. Through richly textured analysis, she shows how suicide prevention programs disregard what makes life worthwhile to Inuit people. Stevenson’s evocative prose takes risks, asking readers to dwell alongside the author as she slowly reveals how to listen differently to her interlocutors. Life Beside Itself deftly weaves together ethnography, archival voice recordings, and images to raise new questions about life, death, and care. – 2020 J.I. Staley Prize Committee
SAR presents the J. I. Staley Prize to a living author for a book that exemplifies outstanding scholarship and writing in anthropology. The award recognizes innovative works that go beyond traditional frontiers and dominant schools of thought in anthropology and add new dimensions to our understanding of the human species. It honors books that cross subdisciplinary boundaries within anthropology and reach out in new and expanded interdisciplinary directions. By recognizing groundbreaking books and their authors through the J. I. Staley Prize, SAR seeks to stimulate the best in anthropological research and writing. Authors other than anthropologists are eligible to receive the Prize if their work has had a significant impact on scholars and practitioners in the field of anthropology. Learn more.
This event is free and open to members of the President’s Circle, Founders’ Society, and Legacy Circle. Please RSVP to Lindsay Archuleta at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will send you the instructions to join via Zoom. Space is limited, so please reserve your spot today.
Lisa Stevenson is an Associate Professor and William Dawson Scholar in the Department of Anthropology at McGill University. She received her PhD in 2005 from the University of California, Berkeley. In recent years a central focus of her work has been the question of what it means to think in images. As an anthropologist she has attempted to trace and describe such imagistic forms of thought in the everyday worlds of people in situations of violence—among the Inuit in the Canadian Arctic and among Colombian refugees in Ecuador. Her book Life Beside Itself: Imagining Care in the Canadian Arctic (University of California Press, 2014) won the 2015 Victor Turner Book Prize and the 2020 Staley Prize. Her short film, Into Unknown Parts, which debuted at the Margaret Mead Film Festival (2017) concerns the Inuit experience of being forced to leave their home communities and live for an undetermined period of time in a southern tuberculosis sanatorium. Her recent work among Colombian refugees in Ecuador engages experimental theatre techniques (in collaboration with Cristiana Giordano) to find new imagistic ways of thinking and representing the violence of everyday life. Stevenson is currently a Mellon New Directions Fellow, studying filmmaking in order to better use the power of film to capture the lived experience of violence.