Here’s some interesting news which, among other things, may speak to the increasing prominence of medical anthropology in the social sciences: Didier Fassin has been appointed as a permanent faculty member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study. Fassin has been appointed the first James D. Wolfensohn Professor in the SSA, a chair “intended for a scholar who analyzes the history and cultures of non-Western countries from global and international perspectives, and whose research rests on ethnographic methodologies.”
The fact that Clifford Geertz was the previous anthropologist to have a permanent faculty position at the IAS, makes this appointment particularly significant as a potential bellwether for social and cultural anthropology. Additionally, that Fassin has been appointed to this very prominent position in North American social science while much of his previous work has been published only in French, is perhaps heartening evidence that the English-language social sciences (or at least certain institutions) are less parochial than they once might have been. In that sense, it seems similar to Ian Hacking‘s election to the College de France in 2000.