Faye V. Harrison was the 2022 recipient of the Society for Applied Anthropology’s Malinowski Award and delivered the Malinowski Address (which will be published in Human Organization) at the Awards Ceremony on Friday, March 25 in Salt Lake City, Utah. According to the award’s description:
The Bronislaw Malinowski Award is presented to an outstanding social scientist in recognition of efforts to understand and serve the needs of the world's societies, and who has actively pursued the goal of solving human problems using the concepts and tools of social science during one's entire career.
During her career, Dr. Harrison has worked in interdisciplinary and transnational contexts where the study of Black lives, intellectual power, and worldmaking beyond the violence and dehumanization of empire have been significant concerns. Being located at the intersection of Black Studies and Anthropology has been a generative ground.
The letters of nomination and endorsement highlight her practice as a social scientist “without borders” who “honors …wisdom and scholarship … [from] around the world.” They also point out that:
As president of the Association for Black Anthropologists [in 1989-1991], she convened a foundational conversation that was to lead to one of the most influential texts… which has been published in three editions. First published in 1991, Decolonizing Anthropology: Moving Further toward an Anthropology of Liberation opened up spaces for dialogue and changed the course of anthropological theory and practice, influencing a generation of scholars. Harrison followed this with a collection of her own essays offering an intersectional, global, Black feminist analysis of world problems to anthropology and beyond, in her 2008 Outsider Within: Reworking Anthropology in the Global Age.
The nomination describes Dr. Harrison’s leadership “in opening spaces for the application of social science and supporting scholar-activists of color across national boundaries.” The following moments are recounted:
In 2001 she was invited to attend [and lead an international, interdisciplinary delegation of scholars and activists to] the historic United Nations’ World Conference [and NGO Forum] against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (WCAR) in Durban, South Africa. Fulfilling her career-long commitment to decolonizing anthropology, Harrison played a leadership role in the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES). Chairing the IUAES’s Commission on the Anthropology of Women for 16 years, from 1993 to 2009, she led a workshop at the 1995 UN Conference on Women in China. Harrison became IUAES president in 2013 and served until 2018. In this role, she facilitated exchange and dialogue, raising the profile of the IUAES and supporting anthropologies and anthropologists in less powerful and marginalized countries.
She has been a strong advocate and promoter of inclusion, equity, and epistemic justice:
Dr. Harrison’s decades of work has continued to support inclusion in the field, helping marginalized groups build their own careers in the field. She has mentored dozens of scholars, particularly women and particularly people of color, into successful careers in anthropology [and other disciplines]. These applied social scientists are working with communities all over the world to solve real-world problems.
Finally, the nomination underscores that Dr. Harrison has been a formidable force in:
…bringing the analysis of race and racism to the fore, thus helping [us] to be more attentive to the needs of the communities we study and to work towards understanding and solving some of the most intractable problems that the world faces.
The Department of African American Studies commends this exemplar of academic excellence and social responsibility.