Karin Barber Day

Deadline: 1 December 2019
Date of Event: Thursday 30 April 2020
Location: Royal Anthropological Institute, 50 Fitzroy Street, London W1T 5BT

Professor Karin Barber was recently awarded the Presidential life-time achievement award at the RAI’s AGM. This is a new award, the first recipient of which was Professor David Parkin. As part of these awards, we intend to hold a day at the RAI discussing the work of the recipient. On this occasion, it will take place on 30 April 2020.

The latest FAII exams were held this summer and we are delighted that all three applicants, Alison Brough, Micol Zuppello and Helen Langstaff, were successful in passing. I am sure you will join us in congratulating all three on their achievement.  This means we have increasing numbers of Forensic Anthropologists moving through the certification process.  This is the first time that these exams were run with the new format and everyone on the exam board worked hard to ensure that the exams ran smoothly. The call for the next round of FAII applications is open and closes on the 6th January 2020. Practical examinations will be held in June 2020.

Dr Lucina Hackman, Chair of the RAI Forensic Anthropology Committee.

Endangered Fieldwork

A joint seminar with the Association of Social Anthropologists and the Royal Anthropological Institute.
Deadline: 1 December 2019
Date of event: 19 March 2020

The traditional model of long-term fieldwork, at the heart of social anthropological practice for much of the twentieth century, appears to be endangered. It is increasingly difficult to gain fieldwork permission in many countries where anthropologists have formerly worked. Doubts surround the viability of participant observation in the light of regulatory frameworks, frameworks that may appear to demand compulsory open access of fieldwork data, and knowing the questions in advance that will be asked by the fieldworker.

Huxley Medal 2020: Stephen Levinson

Trained as a social anthropologist, Professor Levinson has become a world leader working on the border of social anthropology and linguistics, crossing pragmatics, language history, universality of language, and the integration with neurobiology. He has recently retired from the Directorship of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics

Rivers Medal 2019: Maria Martinon-Torres

Maria Martinon-Torres is Director of CENIEH, the paleoanthropological institute in Burgos. She is prolific, working on fossil hominin dentition, and has been pivotal in bringing together new data and analyses from China that are having major impact in the field.

Henry Myers Lecture 2020: David Gellner

David Gellner holds the Chair of Social Anthropology at All Souls College, Oxford. A specialist in Buhddism, he is well known for his studies of religion in society. He is ideally placed to provide the RAI with a public lecture in accordance with the terms of this lectureship, which is on religion or spirituality.

Lucy Mair Medal & Marsh Prize for Applied Anthropology 2019: Melissa Leach

Melissa Leach is the Director of the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, and has developed a number of important and original initiatives, including working with foresters, agricultural and medical scientists alongside large, interdisciplinary research programmes involving multi-country teams.

Marsh Award for Anthropology in the World 2019: Johnny Clegg OBE

Johnny Clegg is a South African anthropologist turned musician, who has done a great deal for cross-cultural understanding in that divided country, and runs a recording studio for young musicians. A well-known figure, he has been active as a cultural ambassador for South Africa.

RAI President's Lifetime Achievement Award 2019: Karin Barber CBE

Karin Barber is Emeritus Professor at the University of Birmingham in African Studies and a Centennial Professor in the Anthropology Department at the LSE, and is known for her long-term work amongst the Yoruba, especially in their theatre and language. Her works have won numerous prizes, as has her doctoral supervision, and she has performed various voluntary roles with conspicuous success, including being a Vice-President of the British Academy, President of the African Studies Association, and has been given additionally a Yoruba chieftaincy title.


On 1st and 2nd May 2019 the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, the Learned Society of Wales, the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, and the Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods co-organised a syposium on anthropology in Wales, hosted by WISERD at Cardiff University.

Social Anthropologies of the Welsh: Past and Present examined the development of social anthropology in Wales from the perspectives of both national scholarship and international engagement. The event brought together academics and those with an interest in Welsh history, the origins and development of contemporary Wales, and community studies.

A report on the event can be found on WISERD's website in Welsh and English.

Sir Edward Evans-Pritchard

At the RAI, we recently held a memorial event on the life and works of Evans-Pritchard. This was a great success, and our recent President André Singer is now editing the proceedings from it.


Edited by David Shankland, Director, RAI

Sean Kingston: RAI Occasional Publication Number 45

By special arrangement with the publishers, paperback copies are available privately to Fellows at the reduced price of £15 +£2.50 post and packing (where it needs to be sent). Please write to admin@therai.org.uk if any fellow would like one, or more copies.

Announcement: Schedule for Applications for Professional Certification in Forensic Anthropology

Applications are invited for those seeking certification at FAI, FAII and FAIII level.  The application process is detailed in the Application and Examination Procedures for Certified Forensic Anthropologist Level I, II and III, version 2.1 which can be found on the RAI website.

Leading forensic scientist, Professor Dame Sue Black has been appointed President of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland (RAI) - the world's longest-established scholarly association dedicated to the promotion of the study of humankind.

The RAI is please to announce that the Wellcome Medal for 2016 has been awarded to Dr Elizabeth Hallam for her book Anatomy Museum: Death and the Body Displayed.

On Wednesday 26 July 2017, Ambassador Tsuruoka bestowed the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette on Prof Joy Hendry, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at Oxford Brookes University and member of the Council of the Royal Anthropological Institute, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the promotion of Japanese studies in the UK and thus to deeper mutual understanding between Japan and the United Kingdom.

It was agreed at the meeting of the Council of the Royal Anthropological Institute on 11 June 2015 that the title of Director Emeritus/Emerita should be conferred on our former directors Mr Jonathan Benthall and Mrs Hilary Callan.

The Anthropology and the Environment Committee of the RAI have put together a list of anthropologists who are interested in environmental issues.  This list is a resource for other anthropologists and for those outside anthropology looking for a particular expertise.

The list can be consulted here.

Anthropology & Photography is a new open-access publication series edited by the RAI Photography Committee. Emerging from the international conference of the same name organized by the RAI at the British Museum in 2014, the series will highlight and make available to the widest possible audience the best new work in the field.

We are eager to solicit new contributions from anthropologists and practitioners which could be visual, textual, or somewhere in between.

50 Years of Anthropology

The results of a British Academy funded project.  You can see the full report here.

The nature of the Index means that many of the articles we incorporate would be difficult to find via other means such as through Google Scholar or similar search engines, so in many ways the AIO gives a clear and the most complete picture we can hope for of what anthropologists have been discovering for the last 50 years.

The RAI is delighted to announce that its Director, Dr David Shankland, has been made an Honorary Professor in the Department of Anthropology, University College London.