Provost Jane Bowers has announced the appointment of Professor Alisse Waterston as a Presidential Scholar effective spring 2017 in recognition of her accomplishments and standing as one of the country’s leading scholars of anthropology. Waterston has been on the John Jay faculty in the Department of Anthropology since 2003. She earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the CUNY Graduate Center. Since joining John Jay, Dr. Waterston has served as co-director of the Vera Fellows Program and was the founding editor of Open Anthropology, an online public journal of the American Anthropological Association. She led the successful effort to develop the anthropology major at John Jay and currently serves as a trustee on the John Jay College Foundation Board.
Waterston is an internationally recognized leader in the field of cultural anthropology whose path-breaking scholarship on such topics as war, drug abuse, urban poverty, and HIV Aids has earned her the respect and admiration of fellow scholars in her field. In addition to a body of important articles in top tier journals, Waterston has authored four monographs and edited two volumes that have had significant impact on the field of anthropology. She is an exemplar of engaged scholarship, a model of anthropological research that approaches large scale social issues through the lens of lives on the ground, where these issues are most keenly felt.
Waterston’s most recent book, My Father’s Wars: Migration, Memory, and the Violence of a Century (Routledge, 2014), models a new approach to anthropology, “intimate ethnography,” a methodology that is already influencing her discipline. As a recent reviewer declared, it is “destined to become a classic work” in the field. She is also co-editor with Maia Barkaia of the forthcoming Gender in Georgia: Feminist Perspectives on Culture, Nation and History in the South Caucasus (Berghahn Books: 2017). Waterston’s election as President of the American Anthropological Association (2015-2017) is further evidence of her standing in the field.
As a Presidential Scholar, Dr. Waterston will deliver an address to the college community in the fall 2017 semester.