June 6, 2002
Vol. 21 No. 17

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    Anthropologist Shweder named 2002 Carnegie Scholar

    By Josh Schonwald
    News Office

    Richard Shweder

    Cultural anthropologist Richard Shweder, Professor in the Committee on Human Development and Psychology, is one of 11 scholars nationwide to receive a $100,000 grant from the Carnegie Corp.

    As a 2002 Carnegie Scholar, Shweder will receive support for research leading to his proposed book, When Cultures Collide: The Multicultural Challenge in Liberal Democracies.

    Citing recent statistics that show well over 125 million people––approximately 2 percent of the world’s population––live outside their country of birth or citizenship, Shweder argues that, even before the events of Tuesday, Sept. 11, one of the most pressing public policy projects for liberal democracies in the early 21st century was coming to terms with cultural migration. “But today, as security concerns compete with concerns about civil liberties and minority rights, and as American anxieties grow about tolerance for Islamic minority groups, it’s even more pressing,” said Shweder.

    During the next year, Shweder will focus on two chief areas. First, he will conduct ethnographic research on Islamic immigrants and their families in Chicago to understand how Muslims adapt Islam to the secular society of the United States.

    Second, Shweder will attempt to understand how a liberal democracy should respond to recently arrived minority groups whose cultural and religious beliefs collide with the mainstream. In searching for this answer, Shweder will analyze both contemporary and historical cases where cultures have collided in U.S. courts.

    “My ultimate goal is to write a book that defines the scope and limits for cultural diversity in the United States,” said Shweder

    Shweder has spent four years as co-chairman of the Social Science Research Council’s Working Group on Ethnic Customs, Assimilation and American Law. His Carnegie proposal is an outgrowth of his work with that group, which has evolved into a network of legal scholars, anthropologists, political theorists and psychologists interested in examining a series of questions about conflict between majority and minority groups in multicultural nations, such as the United States, Germany and Norway.

    Shweder, who also has appointments in the College and in the Committee on South Asian Studies, has written or edited nine books, including Thinking Through Cultures: Expeditions in Cultural Psychology and Engaging Cultural Differences, which will be published later this month by Russell Sage Foundation Press.