Lucas Bessire and Laurence Ralph met while Members in the School of Social Science and worked together on their first books. In this video, they reflect on how their year together at the Institute made all the difference.
A year at the Institute can make a great difference for a scholar. In 2012–13, Lucas Bessire and Laurence Ralph met as Members in the School of Social Science. Working closely with Professor Didier Fassin and other scholars in the School, the two young anthropologists were recognized by the most prestigious award in cultural anthropology, the 2015 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 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 enabled 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.
From the start, our independence and excellence have relied on philanthropy. Unlike universities, IAS has neither tuition nor intellectual property income. Philanthropy plays a critical role in bringing Members here at a time of decreasing and uncertain government and corporate support for basic research. The Institute’s finely tuned environment requires great care and substantial resources; we provide stipends to our Members each year, along with their offices, housing, and administrative and research support.
Investing in the Institute today is an investment in a rare and vital combination of immediate impact and returns that play out over decades and centuries. This most rewarding adventure is aimed squarely at facilitating new knowledge and the discoveries of tomorrow. Consider how you might direct your gift:
Make a Gift to the IAS Fund
The current climate that favors immediate results and applications means that our role is more important than ever. The Institute’s endowment, which ensures our financial independence, continues to grow but does not fully support our annual budget. We must continue to diversify our funding sources and grow our base of annual support in order to be a forceful advocate for basic research.
Give to Academic Initiatives
What is the cultural and intellectual commonality between Muslims, Jews, and Christians? Where will computers take mathematics? How is big data changing social science? How can analysis of ancient DNA supplement traditional historical and archaeological data to better understand human population structure and migration processes of barbarian communities during the Migration Period of the 4th-6th centuries, and does this distant past hold any lessons for dealing with contemporary migration into Europe? Questions such as these sometimes lead to new collaborations and inititatives between Faculty and Members. IAS can serve as an incubator for projects that may require independent funding beyond what is covered by our annual budget.
Support Special Programs & Outreach
IAS has several programs to identify, cultivate, and guide scholars who are diverse in age and geographic origin–from outreach programs designed for exceptionally talented physics graduate students and postdocs to junior social scientists in underrepresented countries. Outreach and special programs contribute much to the vitality of IAS and extend the Institute’s influence to the local Princeton community and beyond.