2023 Distinguished Lecture

About the Distinguished Lecture Series

This lecture series highlights the work of a person who has made a significant contribution to the understanding of how anthropology can contribute to the resolution of pressing issues that humans face.

About the 2023 Speaker: Prof. Virginia Dominguez

Virginia R. Dominguez (B.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. Yale), recipient of the 2022 Wilbur Cross Medal, is the Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Professor of Anthropology (and member of the Jewish Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, Global Studies, and Caribbean Studies faculty) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (in the United States). She is also Co-Founder and Consulting Director of the International Forum for U.S. Studies and Co-Editor of its book series, Global Studies of the United States.

A political and legal anthropologist, she served as President of the American Anthropological Association (2009 to 2011), Editor of American Ethnologist (2002 to 2007), President of the Society for Cultural Anthropology (1999 to 2001), and Associate Editor of the World Anthropologies section of American Anthropologist (2015 to 2021).

In 2013 she helped establish the Brazil-based Antropologos sem fronteiras (Anthropologists without Borders). She previously held academic posts at Harvard University, Duke University, the University of California-Santa Cruz, and the University of Iowa.

Author, co-author, editor, and co-editor of multiple books, she is perhaps best known for her work on the Caribbean, (e.g., The Caribbean and Its Implications for the United States; Foreign Policy Association 1981), her work on the United States (e.g., White by Definition: Social Classification in Creole Louisiana; Rutgers University Press 1986) and her work on Israel (e.g., People as Subject, People as Object: Selfhood and Peoplehood in Contemporary Israel; University of Wisconsin Press 1989).

Her most recent books are Anthropological Lives, coauthored with Brigittine French (Rutgers University Press, 2020), Global Perspectives on the U.S., coedited with Jane Desmond (U of Illinois Press, 2017), and America Observed: On an International Anthropology of the United States, coedited with Jasmin Habib (Berghahn Books, 2016). She also guest-edited a 2018 issue of RIAS (the International American Studies Association’s journal) on Walls, Material and Rhetorical: Past and Present.