- The commons, class, gender, inequality and urban social movements; medical anthropology; in the contemporary United States, France, Spain, and Southern Africa.
- PhD Columbia 1981
Ida Susser, Distinguished Professor of anthropology at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center, has conducted ethnographic research in the U.S., Southern Africa, Puerto Rico, Spain, and France, with a focus on urban social movements and the urban commons, gender, the global AIDS epidemic, and environmental movements.
Her research in Barcelona and Paris (2019) was funded by an award from the National Science Foundation. Susser’s investigation probes the context of the political polarization in Europe following the 2008 recession during which the extreme right has been energized while new progressive parties have been formed. The study involves examining the social transformation in the practice of democracy that may be occurring in those cities with respect to the controversial efforts of young people, as well as the middle-aged population and pensioners who are joining mass demonstrations in both Spain and France.
Her ethnographic approach allows for an analysis of the popular pressures, changes in work, changes in class formation and the social reproduction of society that have led to such new movements.
Susser is the author of numerous books, chapters, and articles, including the book The Tumultuous Politics of Scale (co-edited with Don Nonini). (Forthcoming, Rutledge Press 2019).
The updated version of another book, Norman Street: Poverty and Politics in an Urban Neighborhood (Oxford University Press 2012), is a study of New York City during and after the 1975 fiscal crisis. A new chapter, “Claiming a Right to New York City,” discusses the changing neighborhoods, including the displacement of artists as well as poor people, of Greenpoint and Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York, from the earlier ethnography up to the Occupy movement of 2011.The original edition (Oxford 1982) explores working class consciousness, racism, ethnic identities and gender in the emergence of social movements in those localities.
Professor Susser’s book AIDS, Sex and Culture: Global Politics and Survival in Southern Africa (Wiley-Blackwell 2009) was awarded the Eileen Basker Memorial Prize for research in women and health, by the Society for Medical Anthropology (2012). It discusses the ways in which men and women mobilized against the denialism of political officials, to prevent and treat AIDS in Southern Africa—from small group meetings to major demonstrations—and how these strong, social protest movements were ultimately successful in changing AIDS policy in South Africa.
Her other books include Medical Anthropology in the World System (co-authored with Hans Baer and Merril Singer), Wounded Cities: Destruction and Reconstruction in a Globalized World (co-edited with Jane Schneider), and Rethinking America (co-edited with Jeff Maskovsky).
Susser received the Distinguished Achievement Award in the Critical Study of North America from the Society for the Anthropology of North America, and has been the recipient of numerous grants, including the MacArthur Foundation Research and Writing Fellowship, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Institute of Health and the National Science Foundation, among others.
She was co-chair of the Social Science Track for the 2008 Mexico City International AIDS Society Conference and the AAA Commission of World Anthropologies. Additionally, she is a founding member of the steering committee of Athena: Advancing Gender Equity and Human Rights in the Global Response to HIV/AIDS, and is past President of the American Ethnological Society and founding President of the Society for the Anthropology of North America.
Susser received her Ph.D. from Columbia University.