Curriculum Vitae

Education

2012
PhD in Sociology, University of Essex, UK
Dissertation Title: The San, the State, and the International Community: Asserting Local Power through Globalised Indigenous Identities.

2007
Laurea Specialistica (MA) in Antropologia Culturale ed Etnologia, Università degli Studi di Bologna, Italy (Summa cum laude)
Title: Indigenato e strategie politiche: Il caso dei Boscimani del Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

2005/06
Socrates Erasmus, Sociology Department and Centre of Human Rights University of Essex, UK (First Class with distinction/honors)

2004
Laurea Magistrale (BA) in Scienze Antropologiche, Università degli Studi di Bologna, Italy (First Class)
Title: Il quero un elemento di comunicazione.

Professional Activities

2020 / ongoing
Max Planck Research Group Leader, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle (Saale), Germany, Research Group: “AIming Toward the Future: Policing, Governance, and Artificial Intelligence”

2019
Junior Visiting Fellow, Department of Philosophy, University of Milan, Italy

2013-2019
Research Fellow, Department of Law and Anthropology, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle (Saale), Germany

2018
Fellow in Residence, Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, Faculty of Law, New York University, USA (http://chrgj.org/person/maria-sapignoli/)

2016
O'Brien Fellow in Residence, Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, Faculty of Law, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

2014

  • Lecturer, Department of Anthropology and Faculty of Law, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
  • Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Anthropology, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

2012-2013
Visiting Research Fellow, Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities, University of Essex, UK

2012-2014
Visiting Research Fellow, School of Advanced Study, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London, UK

2012
Consultant, First People Worldwide (USA), Botswana

2010-2012
Visiting Research Fellow, Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, USA

2011
Consultant, Social Impact Assessments and Policy Analysis Corporation (SIAPAC), Botswana

2010
Intern, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Indigenous and Tribal Issues, Policy and Technical Advisory Division, Rome, Italy

2010
Consultant, International Indigenous Women Forum (FIMI), Managua, Nicaragua

2009
Intern, United Nations Headquarters, Department of Social and Economic Affairs, Division of the Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNSPFII), New York, USA

2008
Intern, Survival International, London, UK

2006
Volunteer, First People of the Kalahari, Botswana

Teaching

2019
Lecturer of the course: Human Rights, Lawfare and the Juridification of Politics, PhD Course CFU 2, Total hours: 10, Department of Philosophy, University of Milan, Italy

2014

  • Lecture in ANTH 322: Social Change in Modern Africa, 200 students, BA in Arts, Department of Anthropology, McGill University, Montreal, USA
  • Lecture in ANTH 348 / LAWG 537: Indigenous peoples and the Anthropology of Law with Prof. Ronald Niezen, Department of Anthropology and Faculty of Law, McGill University (Winter 2014). Seminar, Undergraduate and Graduate Students in Law and Anthropology

Sapignoli has also held workshops and seminars at various institutions, including universities (Essex University, University of Milano, Bologna University) and for indigenous peoples’ training sessions in New York and Italy.

Invited Lectures and Seminars

2020
AIming Toward the Future, MPRGL Meeting, 27-28 May (online)

2019

  • The Digitalization of Bureaucracy: New Technologies in the Practice of Global Organizations, Institutstag 2019, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne, Germany, 14 November
  • REAL ML Workshop; WORKSTREAM: "Ecosystem", sponsored by MacArthur Foundation, Berlin, Germany, 2-4 October

2018

  • Machine Learning, Inequality, and the Challenge of Bias, Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH, Berlin, Germany, 3 July
  • Understanding AI and Us, Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, Berlin, Germany, 30 June
  • Data Governance, Digital Humanities, Meridian 180 Global Summit, Hong Kong, China, 12-16 June
  • The social and environmental life of algorithms, Center for Human Rights and Global Governance, New York University, USA, 11 May
  • AI and Human Rights, Data & Society, New York, USA, 26-27 April
  • Indigenous Peoples’ rights and the environment, Columbia University, New York, USA, 2 April

2017

  • 7th Human Rights and Science Symposium, hosted by the Council of Finnish Academies and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, Helsinki, Finland, 28-29 September
  • African indigenous movement and indigeneity in southern Africa, Seminar Göttingen University, Germany, 16 May

2016  

  • The San and Indigenous Rights in Practice, O’Brien Fellows Forum, Faculty of Law and Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, McGill University, Montreal, Canada, May
  • Dilemmas, Insecurities, and Opportunities in Multi-Positioned Ethnography, Workshop “Collaborative Dilemmas,” UNESCO frictions EHESS, Paris, France, 11-14 April
  • Health and HIV in Southern Africa, United Nations Expert Seminar on Indigenous Peoples and the Right to Health, Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights and ISID McGill, Montreal, Canada, 21-22 February

2015

  • Doing Ethnography in Global Institutions: The case of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, at 'Studying Macro-Practices in (International) Institutions: Chances and Limitations of Theory Building', University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, 26-27 November
  • The struggle to be San: indigenous peoples and access to land and resources rights in southern Africa. Paper presented at the EU sponsored conference on ‘Land, Water & Resources Rights. Global governance among the centrality of human life, environment, sustainability, and commercial, extractive and industrial production’, University of Milan, Italy, 6-8 July
  • Indigenismo in Africa: identità globali e rivendicazioni locali, Seminario di Antropologia Culturale, University of Milan, Italy, 1 April

2013

  • Access to Justice and the Kgotla in Botswana, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa, Canada, 3 December
  • Indigenous Women’s Rights in the Commonwealth: Prospects and Challenges, at 'The Commonwealth’s First Nations: Rights, Status and Struggles in the run up to the UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, 2014', Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Studies, London, UK, 26 September
  • Current challenges facing indigenous peoples – lands, resources and extractive industries, Human Rights Consortium, School of Advanced Study, University of London, UK, 27 March

2012

  • Botswana and Namibia: a comparative analysis of their policies towards the San, University of Essex, Colchester, UK
  • Local Communities and the State in Africa: Botswana’s Exceptionalism, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana
  • Indentità Indigene tra Locale e Globale. Il Caso dei Boscimani del Kalahari Centrale, Department of Anthropology, Graduate School, University of Bologna, Italy
  • The case of the “Bushmen” of Botswana, at ‘Indigenous Peoples and Self Determination’, Human Rights Centre, University of Essex, UK

2011

  • The Central Kalahari: Development, Indigenous Identities and Rights, at ‘Diritti Umani e Popoli Indigeni: tra locale e globale, tra autonomia e cooperazione’, Department of Political Sciences, University of Milan, Italy, 27-28 November
  • (co-presented) Fifty Years of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (1961-2011): A History of Land Use, Contested Resources, Legal Rights, and Justice among Indigenous Peoples, Nebraska Academy of Sciences, 118th Annual Meeting, Nebraska Wesleyan University, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA, 15 April

2007
Indigeneity in Botswana and Namibia, Department of Anthropology, University of Bologna, Italy

2006
Tourism and the representation of the Pygmee in Congo, Seminar in Ethnology of Africa, University of Bologna, Italy

Organization of Conferences and Workshops

2019
Panel: "Justice, Advocacy, and Dissidence in the New Information Ecosystem" AAA/CASCA 2019, Vancouver, Canada, 20-24 November (co-organized with R. Niezen)

2018

  • International Conference on Law and Anthropology, Berlin, Germany, 30 November - 2 December (co-organized with Marie-Claire Foblets, Olaf Zenker, and Mark Goodale)
  • Meridian 180 Global Summit. Digital Humanities, Idea Stream Data Governance, Hong Kong, 14-17 June (co-organized with Prof. Sung-In Jun and Prof. Tatsuhiko Yamamoto)

2016
Conference: Anthropological Expertise in Legal Practice, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Department of Law and Anthropology, Halle (Saale), Germany, 22-23 June (co-organized with Marie-Claire Foblets)

2015

  • Hunters and Gatherers and the Law, CHAGS Conference, Vienna (Panel Organiser)
  • Palaces of Hope: The Anthropology of Global Institutions, Faculties of Law and Anthropology, McGill University, Montreal, Canada (with Ronald Niezen)

2013

  • Doing Fieldwork in indigenous communities: Practical, Political, and Ethical Dimensions, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa, Canada, 1 December (with Pierrot Ross-Trembla)
  • Lecture Series: Law after Lunch. Speaker: Julian Burger (University of Essex): “Making international law: the story behind the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”, Faculty of Law, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany

2009
UN International Conference on International Day of the Mother Earth, Eighth Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, New York, USA, 18-29 May

Presentations at Conferences and Workshops

2019
New Technologies in the Practices of Global Organizations in the panel "Justice, Advocacy, and Dissidence in the New Information Ecosystem" (Sapignoli M., Niezen R.) AAA/CASCA 2019, Vancouver, Canada, 20-24 November

2018
The social and environmental life of algorithms, Center for Human Rights and Global Governance, New York University, USA, 11 May

2017
How and Where does Anthropology Matter for Indigenous Rights? Activism, Expertise and Collaboration in Botswana and in the United Nations, Annual Meeting Executive Session 'Why does Anthropology matter when engaging publics in the recognition of Indigenous rights?' Organized by F. Dussart, N. Peterson, P. Vaarzon-Morel, 116th annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association (AAA), Washington, DC, USA, 29 November - 3 December

2016

  • The Future of Legal Anthropology, 115th annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association (AAA), Minneapolis, USA (Roundtable, organized by Rita Kesselring)
  • Belonging and Commodification in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana, Political Ecology-3C Conference, Wageningen, the Netherlands, 7-9 July

2015

  • NGOs and movements in transition: comparative perspectives from southern Africa, Paper for the panel ‘Ethnographic Perspectives on Movement Cycles in Contemporary Activism’, 114th AAA Annual Meeting, Denver, USA, 21 November
  • Building Alliances: tensions, expectations, and cunning conundrums, Paper for the panel ‘Research and Activism among the Kalahari San today: Ideals, Challenges and Debates’, CHAGS 2015, Vienna, Austria, 8 September

2014

  • Spaces of Indigenous Politics: From the Kalahari to the United Nations, Panel ‘“Indigenous” space and local politics’, Convenors: Jenny Lawy, Takamasa Osawa, ASA Decennial Conference: Anthropology and Enlightenment, Edinburgh, Scotland, 19-22 June
  • (with Robert K. Hitchcock, and Wayne A. Babchuk) Mobility, Sedentism, and Survival: Impacts of Conservation and Development-Related Resettlement in the Savannas of the Western and Central Kalahari, Botswana, Session ‘African Destinations: Agriculture and Adaptations in the Highlands and Savannas of Eastern and Southern Africa’, Organizer and Chair: Robert K. Hitchcock, 74th Annual Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA), Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, 18-22 March

2013

  • “Speaking like the Law”: negotiating indigenous rights claims in Botswana courts, Workshop: Negotiating Normative Spaces: insights from and into African judicial encounters. MPI for Social Anthropology, Halle (Saale), Germany, 7-8 November
  • In the Name of the State: Contradictions between law and practices in Botswana policies involving hunting, land, resource rights, and development of rural populations, Panel ‘Acting in the name of the state: practices, practical norms and the law in books’, European Conference on African Studies (ECAS), Lisbon, Portugal, 27-29 June
  • Indigenousness in Translation: Contested Concepts of Indigeneity and Marginality in Botswana and Namibia, Panel ‘What is Lost and What is Gained in Translation? “Indigenous Peoples” in Different Legal Spaces’, Law and Society Annual Meeting, Boston, USA, 30 May - 2 June
  • Ethnographic Methods in the Anthropological/Legal Study of International Organizations (EMALSIO), Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle (Saale), Germany

2012

  • Peoples, Politics and Places: Asserting Local Power through Globalized Indigenous Identities. The San of the Central Kalahari, at ‘Humanity and the San: Rights, Recognition, and Liberal Democracy’, Fred Klaits, Chair, Invited Panel from the Africanist Anthropology Association, 111th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association (AAA), San Francisco, USA,14-18 November
  • (co-presented) Physical and/or Cultural Genocide? Conflicts between Hunter-Gatherers and Pastoralists in Eastern and Southern Africa, at the 3rd Global Conference on Genocide at a symposium entitled ‘Invariably Genocide? When Hunter-Gatherers and Commercial Stock Farmers Clash’, Mohamed Adhikari, organizer and chair, San Francisco State University, USA, 28 June - 1 July
  • (co-presented) Identidad global y luchas locales: los pueblos indigenas en Republica Centroafricana y en Botswana, 8 Congreso Iberico de Estudios Africanos, Madrid, Spain, 14-16 June
  • Returning to the Reserve: Resistance and Revitalization in the Central Kalahari, Botswana, at ‘Ecocultures 2012: Transitions to Sustainability’, University of Essex, Colchester, UK, 17-18 April
  • (co-presented) Anthropology, Development, Human Rights and the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Central States Anthropological Society Annual Meeting, Toledo, Ohio, USA, 22-24 March

2010

  • (co-presented) Local Justice and Legal Rights among Indigenous and Minority Peoples of the Central Kalahari, Botswana, at ‘Transitional Justice: Global Mechanisms and Local Realities after Genocide and Mass Violence’, Alexander Hinton, chair and organizer, 109th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association (AAA), New Orleans, USA, 17-21 November
  • (co-presented) Development and Dispossession: Land Reform in Botswana, at the NVAS Conference on ‘“Africa for Sale”: Analyzing and Theorizing Foreign Land Claims and Acquisitions’, University of Groningen, the Netherlands, 28-29 October

2008

  • Anthropologist as Expert and Factual Witness: The Central Kalahari Case, Law and Anthropology Conference, University College London, UK
  • The Central Kalahari Game Reserve Court Case, Sociology Department Doctoral Conference, University of Essex, UK

2004
The quero as a way to speak. Indigenous Communities in the Andes, Peru, Department of Anthropology, University of Bologna, Italy

Grants / Fellowships / Awards

2020 / ongoing
Max Planck Research Group Leader Grant for project “AIming Toward the Future: Policing, Governance, and Artificial Intelligence”

2020/2029
Abilitazione Scientifica Nazionale, Seconda Fascia, Settore Concorsuale 11/A5, Scienze Demoetnoantropologiche, Bando d.d.2175/2018

2019
Junior Visiting Fellow, Department of Philosophy, University of Milan, Italy

2018
Fellow in Residence, Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, Faculty of Law, New York University, USA

May 2017-present
CICADA project, collaborator. Fonds Québecois de la Recherche sur la Société et la Culture (FRQSC), Regroupements stratégiques (Strategic Clusters) funding program. Principal Investigator, Colin Scott, Department of Anthropology, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

2016   
O’Brien Fellowship, Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, Faculty of Law, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

2011
Small Grant for research, University of Essex, UK

2009
Small Grant for research, University of Essex, UK

2007
PhD scholarship (3 years), Department of Sociology, University of Essex, UK

2005-06
Erasmus Grant for 1 year exchange programme with a UK University from Italy

Membership in Professional Associations

African Studies in Europe (AEGIS)
American Anthropological Association (AAA)
Central States Anthropological Society (CSAS)
European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA)
The Law and Society Association (LSA)

Languages

Italian (mother tongue)
English (excellent written and oral skills)
Spanish, French, Setswana (basics)

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