Anthropologist wins award for ethnohistory paper

Author: Michael Lucien

Karen Richman

University of Notre Dame anthropologist Karen Richman has been awarded the Robert F. Heizer Article Award by the American Society for Ethnohistory. The award recognizes the best article in the field of ethnohistory this year.

Richman, the director of academic affairs and the Center for Migration and Border Studies in the University’s Institute for Latino Studies, was recognized for an article on Haitian Vodou art that appeared in the Spring 2008 issue of the journal Ethnohistory.

Vodou art

Richman’s article uses a scandal at a Chicago-area elementary school as the starting point for a discussion on how artistic mimicry can serve to engage modes of perceiving and understanding Haitian culture. By utilizing the travel memoirs of experts on Haitian Vodou art, the article suggests that despite the apparent contradiction, mimicry in art can provide valuable insight into how cultures see themselves.

Richman, a faculty fellow in Notre Dame’s Kellogg Institute for International Studies, specializes in Haitian society, language, religion, migration and politics.

The American Society for Ethnohistory is the preeminent international organization in the field of ethnohistory. Founded in 1954, the society is an outgrowth of research conducted for the Indian Claims Act of 1946. The Heizer award was established in 1980 in honor of Dr. Robert Heizer, a famed ethnohistorian and archaeologist. Richman is the first Notre Dame faculty member to receive this prestigious award.

Contact: Karen Richman,