Michael F. Brown, Lambert Professor of anthropology and Latin American studies, was appointed the new President of the School of Advanced Research (SAR) in Santa Fe, NM on March 30.
Brown is a longtime member of the College’s faculty. He began teaching at the College in 1980 and has served as a department chair, director of the Center for Technology in the Arts and Humanities and the director of the Oakley Center for the Humanities and Social Sciences.
As a professor of anthropology, Brown has conducted research on the indigenous people of North and South America. His main interest lies in the rituals and religion of the people of the Amazon. He has also completed fieldwork in Peru, which provides the details and research for his forthcoming book Upriver: The Turbulent Life an Times of and Amazonian People (Harvard University Press) to be published this fall, which discusses the Awajúns, a native people known for their tradition of violence. Brown is also the author of a variety of other books, articles and reviews. He has won numerous fellowships for his research endeavors from many prestigious organizations including the National Science Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution.
According to Williams College president Adam Falk, “[Brown] is the perfect choice to lead the School for Advanced Research. His own scholarly work – thoughtful, precise, well written – is a model of the kinds of studies that SAR promotes.”
SAR was established in 1907 and is a non-profit research organization committed to anthropology, archeology and ethnology in the American Southwest. The school strives to provide a “dynamic environment
for the advanced study and communication of knowledge about human culture, evolution, history and creative expression” and promote a global perspective of social and cultural studies. The institution is unique as one of the only residential schools dedicated to Native American anthropological studies.
From 1988 to 1989, Brown studied at SAR as a residential scholar. He has also attended advanced seminars presented by the school. He is excited to return to the school, this time as the president with a new set of goals.
“What I’m most looking forward to at SAR is the possibility of expanding the number of postdoctoral positions and maintaining the high quality of SAR’s Advanced Seminar program, which has played a pivotal role in the development of anthropology and related fields,” Brown said. “I also look forward to deepening SAR’s relationships with New Mexico’s Native American nations, which already use SAR’s spectacular collection of Southwestern art as a resource for artistic inspiration and the promotion of cultural pride.”
With 34 years of experience and opportunities at Williams under his belt, Brown feels prepared to take on his new role as the president of SAR.
“At Williams we’re encouraged to teach a broad range of courses, fostering intellectual growth over the course of a career. The College actively supports faculty research through its generous sabbatical policy. And faculty who show any aptitude for administrative leadership have countless opportunities to develop those skills, which is why Williams is a breeding ground for college presidents,” Brown said. “I can’t imagine having being able to take on this demanding job without the unique opportunities that Williams affords its faculty.”