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Ronald Niezen

Professor

Ph.D Cambridge University, 1987

Niezen, Ronald, Dr

Leacock Building, Room 718
855 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal, Quebec, H3A 1X9

Tel.: 514-398-2706
Fax: 514-398-7476

ronald [dot] niezen [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Email)
                                             Curriculum vitae

Office Hours

Tuesdays: 14:00-15:00 or by appointment

Research Interests

Political/legal anthropology, Indigenous peoples and human rights, the social study of new media, History of anthropology/social theory, Social change in Africa

GRANTS AND AWARDS

2008 Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Aid to Scholarly Publications Programme, publication grant.
2005 Canada Foundation for Innovation, Infrastructure Fund.
2004 Nominee, Alexander von Humboldt Senior Fellowship, Institute for European Ethnology, Humboldt University, Berlin.
1998-00 Research Scholar, Department of History, University of Winnipeg.
1995-96 Milton Fund Research Grant, Harvard Medical School.
1995 Pedagogical Innovation Grant, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University.
1994 Clark Fund Research Grant, Harvard University.
1991 Milton Fund Small Grant, Harvard Medical School.
1984-85 IODE National Chapter of Canada, War Memorial Scholarship.
1984 Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Grant-in-Aid.
1984  Richards Fund Studentship, Dept. of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge.
1982 William Wyse Studentship in Social Anthropology, Trinity College, Cambridge.
1982 Queen Elizabeth II British Columbia Centennial Scholarship.
1979 Norman A.M. MacMillan Regional College Scholarship.

THESES

PhD.  (1987)   University of Cambridge.
Diverse Styles of Islamic Reform among the Songhay of Eastern Mali.
Supervisors: Jack Goody (1983-84, until retirement) and Ernest Gellner (1984-87).

M.Phil.  (1983)  University of Cambridge.
Literacy and Prophetism:  A Comparative Study of the Sacred Value of Writing.
Supervisor:  Malcom Ruel.

B.A. Honours  (1981)  University of British Columbia.
Theoretical Considerations of Millenarianism and Totalitarianism.
Supervisor:  Kenelm Burridge.

LANGUAGES

French; German; Spanish (reading); Cree, “N” dialect (elementary speaking and syllabic literacy); Arabic (intro to Modern Standard).

RESEARCH

November 2003; April 2004 – June 2004.   Institute for European Ethnology, Humboldt University, Berlin.  Library-based research on comparative anthropology and pluralism.

December 2000 – June 2001.  Institute for Human Rights, Åbo Akademi University.  Research on human rights and the rise of indigenous identity, including two brief visits to Sami territory in northern Finland.

July, 1998 - June, 2000.  Cross Lake, Manitoba, Canada.  Ethnographic research on aboriginal self-government and indigenous activism in a Cree community.

June -July, 1996.  Pikangicum, Wunnumin Lake, Moose Factory, Moosonee, Mattagami and Wahgoshig, Ontario, Canada.  Research on local perceptions of mental health crises in Cree and Ojibwa communities of the Nishnawbe-Aski Nation.

October, 1995; January, 1995; August-September, 1994; June-August, 1993; July-September, 1992;  April, 1992.  Abitibi, Québec, Canada.  Research on perceptions of healing traditions and medical bureaucracy among the James Bay Cree.

November-December, 1987.  Abitibi, Québec, Canada.  Research on the activities and needs of the social service branch of the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay.

June, 1984-April, 1985.  Republic of Mali, West Africa.  Doctoral dissertation research on Arabic education and Islamic Reform in Songhay Society.

EMPLOYMENT AND AFFILIATIONS

Feb 2008 – present.  Professor, Department of Anthropology, McGill University.

May 2005 – Feb. 2008.  Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, McGill University.

Aug 2004 – May 2005.  Visiting Professor.  Department of Anthropology, Mcgill University.

Nov 2003 – June 2004.  Guest Researcher, Institute for European Ethnology, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany. 

Jan 2001 - June 2003  Visiting Senior Researcher, Turku Law School and the Institute for Human Rights, Åbo Akademi University, Turku/Åbo, Finland.

July 1998 - June 2000.   Researcher; Health Consultant; Education Consultant, Pimicikamak Cree Nation, Cross Lake, Manitoba.

June – August 1999.  Instructor, Brandon University, Inter-Universities North program, Cross Lake, Manitoba.

July 1997 - June 1998.  Associate Professor of Anthropology, Harvard University.

July 1994 - June 1997.  Associate Professor of Anthropology and of Social Studies, Harvard University.

July 1989 - June 1994 Assistant Professor of Anthropology and of Social Studies, Harvard University.

January 1988 - April 1989.  Part-time Lecturer, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada.

October 1987 - March 1988.  Research Consultant, Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay.

ADMINISTRATIVE APPOINTMENTS

June 2009 – present.  Chair, Department of Anthropology, McGill University.

September 2007 – June 2009. Graduate Program Director, Department of Anthropology, McGill University.

October 2005 – October 2008.  Research Ethics Board, McGill University.

September 2006 – Sept 2007.  Acting Director, Society for Technology and Development (STANDD), McGill University.

August, 1996 - June, 1998.  Social Anthropology Undergraduate Advisor, Harvard University.

July, 1989 - June, 1998.  Faculty Board, Committee on Degrees in Social Studies, Harvard University.

July, 1996 - June, 1998.  Faculty Advisor, Native American Program, Harvard University.

July, 1996 - June, 1998.  Evaluation Task Force, Harvard Project on Schooling and Children.

EXPERT TESTIMONY

Massachusetts State Legislature
Harvard Law School Immigration and Refugee Clinic.
Immigration Court, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Working Group on Indigenous Populations, Geneva.
World Health Organization, Geneva

REFEREE FOR (inter alia):

American Ethnologist
Comparative Studies in Society and History
Canadian Journal of Native Studies
Recherches amérindienne au Québec
The Sociological Quarterly
McGill-Queen’s University Press
The University of British Columbia Press
The University of California Press
Harvard University Press
Blackwell Publishers
The National Science Foundation
Canada Research Chairs Program

Representative Publications

Books:

In progress Truth, Reconciliation, and Testimony: Overcoming the Legacy of Indian Residential Schools in Canada. Under contract with the University of Toronto Press
2010 Public Justice and the Anthropology of Law. Cambridge University Press. 230 pages.
2009 The Rediscovered Self: Indigenous Identity and Cultural Justice.  Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press. 280 pages.
2008 Defending the Land; Sovereignty and Forest Life in James Bay Cree Society.  Second edition. New York: Prentice Hall.  122 pages.
2004 A World Beyond Difference: Cultural Identity in the Age of Globalization. Blackwell.  200 pages.
2003 The Origins of Indigenism:  Human Rights and the Politics of Identity.  Los Angeles: University of California Press.  272 pages.
2000 Spirit Wars:  Native North American Religions in the Age of Nation Building.  Los Angeles: University of California Press.  256 pages.
1998 Defending the Land; Sovereignty and Forest Life in James Bay Cree Society.  Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon. 148 pages.

Articles and Chapters:

submitted “Gabriel Tarde’s Public.” Revue d'Histoire des Sciences Humaines
accepted “Internet Suicide: Communities of Affirmation and the Lethality of Communication.” Transcultural Psychiatry.
in press “The Law’s Legal Anthropology” in Human Rights at the Crossroads, edited by Mark Goodale. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
2011 “Human Rights and Indigenous Religions,” in Religion and Human Rights, edited by John Witte and M. Christian Green. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press
2009 The Aufklärung’s Human Discipline: Comparative Anthropology According to Kant, Herder and W. von Humboldt.  Intellectual History Review. (To appear June. 2009).
2009 “Self-Destruction as a Way of Belonging: Understanding Cluster Suicides among Aboriginal Youth in Canada.”  In Healing Traditions: The Mental Health of Aboriginal Peoples, edited by Lawrence Kirmayer and Gail Valaskakis.  Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.
2008 “The Global Indigenous Movement.” In Handbook of North American Indians: Indians in Contemporary Society,  edited by Garrick Bailey.Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution.
2008  “Postcolonialism and the Utopian Imagination.” In Postcolonial Theory and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, edited by Philip Salzman and Donna Robinson.  New York: Routledge.
2008 “Aboriginal and Indigenous Peoples, Treatment of.”   In Encyclopedia of Law and Society, edited by David S. Clark.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
2008 “Mali,” in The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World, edited by John Esposito.  Second edition (revised). Oxford:  Oxford University Press.
2007 “Revival of Aboriginal culture and practices key to suicide intervention programs” Canadian Psychiatry Aujourd’hui.  3(1): 11,19.
2006 “The New Politics of Resistance,” in The Indigenous Experience: Global Perspectives, edited by Roger Maaka and Chris Andersen.  Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press.  Reprinted chapter from The Origins of Indigenism.
2005 “The Indigenous Claim for Recognition in the International Public Sphere.”  Florida Journal of International Law.  17(3): 583-601.
2005 “Digital Identity: The Construction of Virtual Selfhood in the Indigenous Peoples’  Movement.”  Comparative Studies in Society and History. 45 (2): 532-551.
2004 “Indigenous Peoples in a Global Era.”  In Globalization and Community: Canadian Perspectives on Diversity and Vitality, edited by J.L. Chodkiewicz and R.E. Wiest.  University of Manitoba Anthropology Papers 34, pp. 77-86.  Winnipeg, MB: University of Manitoba, Department of Anthropology.
2003 “Culture and the Judiciary: The Meaning of the Culture Concept as a Source of Aboriginal Rights in Canada.”  Canadian Journal of Law and Society. 18 (2): 1-26.
2000 “Recognizing Indigenism:  Canadian Unity and the International Movement of Indigenous Peoples”.  Comparative Studies in Society and History.   40 (1):  119-148.
2000 “With the Health of a River Goes the Health of a People.”  Native Americas.   Summer. Akwe:kon Press, Cornell University.
1999  “Treaty Violations and the Hydro-Payment Rebellion of Cross Lake, Manitoba.”  Cultural Survival Quarterly.  Spring: 18-21.
1997 “Healing and Conversion; Medical Evangelism in James Bay Cree Society.” Ethnohistory. 44 (3): 463-491.
1995 R.W. Niezen and Barbro Bankson.  “Women of the Jama’a Ansar al-Sunna;  Female Participation in a West African Islamic Reform Movement.”  Canadian Journal of African Studies.  29 (3): 26-51.
1995 “Mali,” in The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World., edited by John Esposito. Oxford:  Oxford University Press.
1993 “Power and Dignity; The Social Consequences of Hydro-Electric Development for the James Bay Cree.”  Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology.  30 (4): 510-529.
1993 “Telling a Message; Cree Perceptions of Custom and Administration.”  Canadian Journal of Native Studies.  13 (2): 221-250.
1991 “Hot Literacy in Cold Societies; A Comparative Study of the Sacred Value of Writing.”  Comparative Studies in Society and History.  33 (2): 225-254.
1990 “The Community of Helpers of the Sunna; Islamic Reform among the Songhay of Gao (Mali).”  Africa. 60 (3): 399-424

Reviews:

2010 Stuart Kirsch, Reverse Anthropology: Indigenous Analysis of Social and Environmental Relations in New Guinea.  Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute.
2008 Marcel Fournier.  Marcel Mauss: A Biography.  Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.  American Anthropologist.  
2002 Philip Deloria. Playing Indian. New Haven: Yale University Press.  Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute.
1998 Douglas Foley.  The Heartland Chronicles.  Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.  American Ethnologist. 
1997 Ernest Gellner.  Muslim Society.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  Journal of Asian and African Studies.  30 (1).
1995 Elizabeth Grobsmith.  Indians in Prison; Incarcerated Native Americans in Nebraska.  Lincoln:  University of Nebraska Press.  American Ethnologist.  22 (4): 1058.
1995 Antonia Mills and Richard Slobodin (eds.).  Amerindian Rebirth; Reincarnation Belief among North American Indians and Inuit.  Toronto:  University of Toronto Press.  American Ethnologist.  22 (4): 1058.
1995 Lee Irwin.  The Dream Seekers; Native American Visionary Traditions of the Great Plains.  Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.  American Ethnologist.  22 (4): 1055.
1995 Frank Speck.  Midwinter Rites of the Cayuga Longhouse.  Lincoln:  University of Nebraska Press.  American Ethnologist.  22 (4) 1057.
1995 Menno Boldt.  Surviving as Indians; The Challenge of Self-Government.  Toronto:  University of Toronto Press.  American Ethnologist.  22 (4): 1056.
1995 Joan Mark.  The King of the World in the Land of the Pygmies.  Lincoln:  University of Nebraska Press.  Ethnohistory.
1995 Leonardo Villalon.  Islamic Society and State Power in Senegal:  Disciples and Citizens in Fatick.  Cambridge:  University of Cambridge Press.  American Ethnologist.  22 (4): 1039.
1995 Sehepard Krech III.  Native Canadian Anthropology and History; A Selected Bibliography.  American Ethnologist.  22 (4):  1040.
1995 David Rich Lewis.  Neither Wolf Nor Dog:  American Indians, Environment, and Agrarian Change.  Oxford: Oxford University Press.  American Ethnologist.  22 (4): 1039.
1992 Thomas A. Hale.  Scribe, Griot, and Novelist; Narrative Interpreters of the Songhay Empire.  University of Florida Press.  Journal of Religion in Africa.  22 (2): 184-186.

Reports

2011 Introduction to the Human Rights Gallery. Peer review report submitted to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
2001 Culture and the Judiciary: The Meaning of the Culture Concept as a Source of Aboriginal Rights in Canada.  Report submitted to the Assembly of First Nations and the Grand Council of the Crees.
2000 Cross Lake Crisis Intervention Program; Proposal for Suicide Prevention and Intervention.
1996 Working Paper for Nishnawbe-Aski Nation Mental Health Policy Development.
1995 Healing Narratives of the James Bay Cree.  Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay (CBHSSJB).
1993 Traditional Helping Systems and Social Services among the James Bay Cree.  CBHSSJB.
1988 Ronald Niezen and Richard Saint-Jean.  Le Clientèle et les Services Sociaux dans la Région 10-B.  CBHSSJB.