Sociology Professor Works on Book about Globalization, Immigration, and Museums

July 26, 2012
view of SAR campus in Santa Fe

Sociology Professor Peggy Levitt is an Ethel-Jane Westfeldt Bunting Summer Scholar at the School for Advanced Research (SAR) in Santa Fe, N.M., this summer, where she is working on a new book, The Bog and the Beast, the Engraver and the Priest: Museums, the Nation, and the World. Her book explores how museums around the world are responding to immigration and globalization. “Museums have always played a role in the drama of nation building," says Levitt. "But in today’s global society, what kinds of citizens do museums create now?" Her work investigates questions such as what combinations of identities, from the very global to the local, do museums reflect and who gets to embrace them? What is it about the history and culture of particular cities that produce certain kinds of cultural institutions? What do we learn about nationalism by looking at the kinds of museums countries create?  

Levitt is one of seven Summer Scholars selected for 2012. She says, “It’s wonderful to be able to think about these questions from the perspective of the American Southwest. Native Americans, Latinos, and Anglos are all part of the cast of characters. I’m having fun finding out how museums in Santa Fe manage to tell their sometimes contradictory stories.“

The nonprofit School for Advanced Research was established in Santa Fe in 1907 as a center for the study of the archaeology and ethnology of the American Southwest. Since 1967, the scope of the School’s activities has embraced a global perspective through programs to encourage advanced scholarship in anthropology and related social science disciplines and the humanities, and to facilitate the work of Native American scholars and artists.

Summer scholar fellowships are awarded to five or six scholars in anthropology and related fields to pursue research or writing projects that promote understanding of human behavior, culture, society, and the history of anthropology.