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This year, we honor Gina Athena Ulysse, who identifies as artist-anthropologist-activist, for her powerful and effective work communicating anthropological insights to a broad general public. Through her anthropological writings, blogs, talks, and her widely shared performance pieces, Ulysse has worked to expand her reach, presence, and impact to connect with as many people as possible, both within and beyond anthropology, academia, and the United States. She presents a breathtaking list of spoken word performances across the country and the world each year, including a recent commission for the British Museum.
In addition, her passionate analyses of a range of global injustices spark lively public discussion on the platforms on which she publishes (regularly for Huffington Post, Ms., Tikkun, and occasionally for a number of other outlets). Ulysse’s work is also widely available via a TED talk and other videos of performances and interviews. Her books range from ethnographic monographs to the trailblazing Why Haiti Needs New Narratives (2015), which was published in three languages, to her recently published poetry collection, Because When God Is too Busy (2017).
In all of these varied venues Ulysse uses anthropology and the insights it provides, in her words “engaging the visceral with the structural,” as a means to address and work towards dismantling the racism, sexism, and other structures of inequality that cause such harm and terror in the world.
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