University of Cambridge
The Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge https://www.socanth.cam.ac.uk has in the last year enjoyed great good fortune in the form of two magnificent philanthropic gifts.
We have recently been able to fill the newly established Jessica Sainsbury University Lectureship in the Anthropology of Amazonia: Dr Natalia Buitron, currently a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at Oxford, will be joining us in January 2022.
A remarkable gift from the Sigrid Rausing Trust has funded the establishment of a Professorship, a recurrent postdoctoral position, and an endowed PhD studentship, all to support our research and teaching on Inner Asia. The first occupant of the Caroline Humphrey Professorship in the Anthropology of Inner Asia will be David Sneath, who will move to that post from his existing personal professorship in October 2021. We will be advertising for his replacement next academical year.
A third addition to the Department comes thanks to a fund established at St Catharine’s College in memory of Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first Prime Minister of Malaysia. The fund has been used to create a University Lectureship in the study of the Malay World. This position was advertised earlier this year and from a large interdisciplinary field, we’re delighted to say that the successful candidate was a social anthropologist, Dr Liana Chua (currently at Brunel University), an alumna of this Department, and Liana will accordingly be re-joining the Department this October.
The beginning of this academic year saw the retirement of our long-serving colleague, Professor Susan Bayly. Susan remains active as a Fellow and Tutor at Christ’s College, but we look forward to marking her retirement from the Department and celebrating her rich contribution to the discipline, when COVID restrictions are sufficiently relaxed to allow us to do so in a fitting way. Plans for a conference and related volume are in process.
The vacant post left by Susan Bayly’s retirement has been advertised as a permanent Lectureship in Medical Anthropology. We hope to complete that appointment process shortly. Kelly Fagan Robinson, who this year has occupied a one-year Lectureship in Medical Anthropology, will very shortly be taking up the Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship whose commencement she kindly deferred last year, in order to continue to provide us with teaching in that field for this year.
A number of people joined the Department this year in a variety of post-doctoral positions. Mikkel Kenni Bruun, Camille Lardy, and Peter Lockwood took up positions as Teaching Associates. Joe Ellis became the first Sigrid Rausing Postdoctoral Fellow at our Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit (MIASU). Juan del Nido joined the Max-Cam Centre for Ethics, Economy and Social Change on a Fellowship funded by the Philomathia Foundation. The Max-Cam Centre’s work has continued, as much as the COVID situation has allowed; the term of the project has been extended, and we are planning to hold the final conference in Cambridge in the spring of 2022. Daniel White, who had been a visitor the previous year, joined as a Senior Research Associate to continue his research on emotion modelling in AI and robotics. We were fortunate to be joined by three ESRC Fellows: Timothy Cooper, Natalie Morningstar, and Sofia Ugarte. Dr Dolores Senorans is with us on a Newton International Fellowship. A major project funded by the AHRC began its work this year, led by David Sneath. The two post-doctoral research associates working on ‘Mongolian Cosmopolitical Heritage’, Elizabeth Turk and Uranchimeg Ujeed, are tracing divergent healing practices along the Mongolia-China border. We have just learned that Timothy Cooper has been awarded a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship, so he will be staying with us after the end of his current ESRC Fellowship.
We have been admitting students this year for the first time to our new MPhil in Social Anthropological Research (a complement to our long-standing conversion-course MPhil in Social Anthropology), and we are pleased to be looking forward to welcoming a strong first cohort of students to that new course.
Sian Lazar will replace James Laidlaw as Head of Department in October 2021.