The Distinguished Lecture for the 94th Anniversary Meeting of CSAS will be given by Leith Mullings, one of the more forward thinking anthropologists of modern time. Mullings’ research and writing has focused on structures of inequality and resistance to them. Her research began in Africa and she has written about traditional medicine and religion in postcolonial Ghana, as well as about women’s roles in Africa.
In the U.S. her work has centered on urban communities. Through the lens of feminist and critical race theory, she has analyzed a variety of topics including kinship, representation, gentrification, health disparities and social movements. She has written and edited several books that include New Social Movements in the African Diaspora: Challenging Global Apartheid, editor (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2009); Gender, Race, Class and Health: Intersectional Approaches (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass [co-edited with Amy Schulz], 2006); Stress and Resilience: The Social Context of Reproduction in Central Harlem, (New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers [with Alaka Wali], 2001); On Our Own Terms: Race, Class and Gender in the Lives of African American Women (New York: Routledge, 1997); Cities of the United States: Studies in Urban Anthropology, editor (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987), which was selected by Choice as an Outstanding Academic Book of 1988-89; and Therapy, Ideology and Social Change: Mental Healing in Urban Ghana (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1984).
With Manning Marable, she has compiled Freedom: A Photographic History of the African American Struggle, (London: Phaidon Press 2002), which was awarded a Krazna-Krausz Foundation Book Prize and Let Nobody Turn Us Around: Voices of Resistance, Reform, and Renewal (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield 2000). Several of her projects have utilized the methodological approach of community participation in research. Currently, Mullings is working on an ethnohisotry of the African Burial Ground in New York City. Among her recent articles Interrogating Racisms: Toward an Antiracist Anthropology (Annual Review of Anthropology, 34:667-93, 2005) includes an extensive review of academic work on racism and offers a framework for thinking about changing structures of racism in a global context. Resistance and Resilience: The Sojourner Syndrome and the Social Context of Reproduction in Harlem (Transforming Anthropology, 13(2): 79-91, 2005) presents a model to understand health disparities through consideration of class, race and gender. Losing Ground: The ‘War on Drugs’ and the Prison-Industrial Complex (Souls: a Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society, 5(2): 22-4) explores illegal drugs, incarceration and gentrification in Central Harlem. Mullings has received grants from the National Science Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Kellogg Foundation. She has been awarded the Society for the Anthropology of North America Prize for Distinguished Achievement in the Critical Study of North America and the French-American Foundation Prize: Chair in American Civilization, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, France.
In addition she has served on the editorial boards of numerous academic journals and on the Executive Boards of the American Ethnological Society and the American Anthropological Association. She served as President of the American Anthropological Association from 2011 to 2013.