Alisse Waterston

Non-resident Long-term Fellow for Programmes in Transnational Processes, Structural Violence,
and Inequality, SCAS.
Presidential Scholar and Professor of Anthropology, the City University of New York

Alisse Waterston is Presidential Scholar, Professor and Chair at the John Jay College of Criminal
Justice, City University of New York. She is a cultural anthropologist who studies the human
consequences of structural and systemic violence and inequality in the areas of urban poverty and
policy issues in the US related to destitution, homelessness and substance abuse, health, welfare
and migration. Her most recent cross-cultural work focuses on the processes and aftermaths of
political violence, ethnic and religious conflict, displacement and transnationalism, remembering,
diaspora, cultural trauma and identity formation.

Waterston is the author or editor of six books, including the award winning My Father’s Wars:
Migration, Memory and the Violence of a Century
. “Intimate Ethnography and the Anthropological
Imagination: Dialectical Aspects of the Personal and the Political in My Father’s Wars” is the most
downloaded 2019 article in American Ethnologist. Her previous titles are Street Addicts in the
Political Economy
; Love, Sorrow, and Rage: Destitute Women in a Manhattan Residence; An
Anthropology of War: Views from the Frontline
; Anthropology off the Shelf: Anthropologists on
Writing
; and Gender in Georgia: Feminist Perspectives on Culture, Nation, and History in the South
Caucasus
.

Waterston served as President of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) in 2015-17. She is
the founding editor of Open Anthropology and served as editor of North American Dialogue. An Inter-
national Scholar of the Open Society Institute, Tbilisi State University (2012-15), she received an honorary
doctorate from the Ilia State University, Tbilisi, in 2018.

Waterston’s latest publications are “Imagining World Solidarities for a Livable Future” (Swedish Journal
of Anthropology
2020), and the forthcoming graphic book, Light in Dark Times: The Human Search
for Meaning
with illustrator Charlotte Hollands (ethnoGRAPHIC, University of Toronto Press 2020).
The book is a lament over the darkness of our times, an affirmation of the value of knowledge and
introspection, a consideration of truth, lies, and the dangers of the trivial, and a call to envision and
create an alternative world from what exists.


This information is accurate as of the academic year 2020-21.