Press Release: Susser Receives Major Awards in Anthropology

Professor Ida Susser of the Ph.D. Program in Anthropology at The Graduate Center has received awards from The MacArthur Foundation, the Society for the Anthropology of North America, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Institutes of Health. The awards recognize both her work with AIDS in South Africa and her studies of urban issues and cultural diversity in the United States. Her research explores the interconnections of global economic shifts and cultural strategies in sites as far apart as Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Oshikati, Namibia.

Professor Susser has been investigating gender and HIV/AIDS in southern Africa for the past 10 years. For this work she was awarded a Research and Writing Grant from the MacArthur Foundation's Program on Global Security and Sustainability, which will allow her to study women in Namibia in 2002-2003. The project, "Spaces of Autonomy:

Defining Sustainable Strategies to Combat HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa," aims to document women's strategies for negotiating safe sex and their efforts to improve the effectiveness of cooperatives that promulgate information about HIV/AIDS and treatment regimens. She will also trace how the policies and funding of international organizations intersect with strategies at the local level. Susser, who is also on the faculty of Hunter College, shares the MacArthur grant with Peter Parisi, a Hunter film and media studies professor.

Professor Susser was also awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Institutes of Health to write up her research on southern Africa: "From the Cosmopolitan to the Personal: Cultural Conceptions of Gender and Sexuality in the Battle Against HIV/AIDS." The MacArthur project will start this summer (2002-3) and the NEH/NIH will provide her with leave time the following year (2003-4) to write the book. She will give the keynote plenary speech at the Annual Conference of the Society for the Anthropology of North America and the Canadian Anthropological Society (SANA/CASCA) on May 3 in Windsor, Ontario. Her topic will be "Social Movements, Social Justice and Global Politics: The Case of HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa."

Professor Susser has also been recognized for her significant studies in North America. The Society for the Anthropology of North America (SANA/CASA), a unit of the American Anthropological Association, awarded Susser its prestigious prize for Distinguished Achievement in the Critical Study of North America. Since the 1980s, Susser's participant-observation research has documented the worsening conditions of the city's poor as they experienced the economic and political shifts of the global economy.

Professor Susser's book Norman Street: Poverty and Politics in an Urban Neighborhood (1982) has been called a "landmark" ethnography which captures the transition from an industrial to a global city by documenting the experience of working people in New York City during the watershed period of the fiscal crisis 1975-78. In 2001, she edited the anthology Cultural Diversity in the United States as well as The Castells Reader on Cities and Social Theory.

The Graduate Center is the doctorate-granting institution of The City University of New York. The only consortium of its kind in the nation, The Graduate Center draws its faculty of more than 1,600 members mainly from the CUNY senior colleges and cultural and scientific institutions throughout New York City.

Established in 1961, The Graduate Center has grown to an enrollment of about 3,500 students in 31 doctoral programs and six master's degree programs in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. The Graduate Center also houses 30 research centers and institutes and administers the CUNY Baccalaureate Program.

According to a recent National Research Council report, more than a third of The Graduate Center's rated programs rank among the nation's top 20 at public and private institutions, nearly a quarter are among the top ten when compared to publicly supported institutions alone, and more than half are among the top five programs at publicly supported institutions in the northeast.

Submitted on: APR 1, 2002

Category: Anthropology, Press Room