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A Conversation with Scholars

Academic Freedom, Intellectual Kinship, and the Influence of the Institute

Published 2017

A Conversation with Scholars: Lucas Bessire and Laurence Ralph

The difference a year at the Institute can make. In 2012–13, Lucas Bessire and Laurence Ralph met while Members in the School of Social Science. Working closely with Professor Didier Fassin and other scholars in the School, the two young anthropologists went on to be recognized in 2015 by the most prestigious award in cultural anthropology, the Gregory Bateson Prize—placing first and second, respectively, were Lucas’s Behold the Black Caiman: A Chronicle of Ayoreo Life and Laurence’s Renegade Dreams: Living Through Injury in Gangland Chicago, both published by the University of Chicago Press in 2014.

Writing to Professor Fassin to share the good news, Lucas and Laurence reflected that their year together at the Institute had made all the difference, enabling them to “sustain a dialogue that fundamentally shaped the tone, trajectory, and footing of the books in the precise ways acknowledged by the prize committee.” 

Please join Laurence and Lucas in supporting curiosity-driven basic research at IAS by making a gift today.