Research award winner Annelise Riles gives lecture on politics in the digital age

November 28, 2018

On 12 September 2018 legal scholar and anthropologist Prof. Dr. Annelise Riles was awarded the Anneliese Maier Research Award by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. She was nominated for the award by the Prof. Dr. Marie-Claire Foblets, Managing Director of the MPI for Social Anthropology. The award, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, includes a grant of €250,000 over a five-year period, which Annelise Riles will use to establish a long-term cooperation with the Department ‘Law & Anthropology’ at the MPI. To introduce this collaboration, Annelise Riles will give a lecture on “The Sociality of the Platform” on Monday, 3 December 2018 at 16:15 at the MPI, Advokatenweg 36, 06114 Halle (Saale). This talk is part of the Joint Lecture Series of the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology of Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and the MPI.

“We are delighted that Annelise Riles has been honoured with this prestigious award and that she chose our Institute as a partner in her project,” says Marie-Claire Foblets, Director of the Department ‘Law & Anthropology’. “Riles uses social anthropological methods to study what practical ramifications legal regulations have on society. This approach, along with her wealth of experience, make her an ideal research partner for our Department.” In addition to her academic achievements, Riles is also an active participant in public debates and has, for example, joined in critical discussions of the various forms of communication in democracies. This led to her founding of the online network Meridian 180 in 2012, which brings together actors from academia, the private sector, politics, and NGOs from nearly 30 countries to discuss socio-political and legal issues. During the Anneliese Maier Research Award ceremony on 12 September in Berlin, Riles noted that “part of what I want to do with this award is to develop new opportunities for researchers to engage with the public.”

Annelise Riles’ research fields include international private law and the regulation of financial markets. As a social anthropologist she is interested in how these topics relate to issues such as cultural diversity, human rights, and women’s rights. For example, her study of global financial markets was based on ten years of field research in private and public institutions and companies in Japan. Another topic of her research is cyber-security, where Riles has studied a wide variety of social milieus, from hackers and defence experts to ordinary users of modern online technologies.

Annelise Riles is Executive Director of the Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Studies at Northwestern University (Evanston, USA), where she is also the Associate Provost for Global Affairs and a professor of law and anthropology. She held a guest professorship at Yale Law School and has received numerous grants and awards. Her academic activities include membership in organizations such as the International Academy of Comparative Law and the editorial board of journals such as the American Journal of International Law.

The Anneliese Maier Research Award is presented to humanities and social science researchers from outside Germany on the basis of their internationally recognized academic achievements. The award winners select the people with whom they would like to collaborate in Germany. Up to eight scholars are chosen per year. The aim of the award is to promote long-term collaborations with scholars who are at the forefront of their fields and have the potential to help shape the future of the humanities and social sciences in Germany.

Studying global social change
The Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology is one of the world’s leading centres for research in socio-cultural anthropology. It was established in 1999 by Chris Hann and Günther Schlee, and moved to its permanent buildings at Advokatenweg 36 in Halle/Saale in 2001. Marie-Claire Foblets joined the Institute as Director of the Department ‘Law & Anthropology’ in 2012. Common to all research projects at the Max Planck Institute is the comparative analysis of social change; it is primarily in this domain that its researchers contribute to anthropological theory, though many programmes also have applied significance and political topicality. Fieldwork is an essential part of almost all projects. Some 175 researchers from over 30 countries currently work at the Institute. In addition, the Institute also hosts countless guest researchers who join in the scholarly discussions.

Contact for this press release
Prof. Dr. Marie-Claire Foblets
Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology
Department ‘Law & Anthropology’
Advokatenweg 36, 06114 Halle (Saale)
Tel.: 0345 2927-301

PR contact
Stefan Schwendtner
Press and Public Relations
Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology
Advokatenweg 36, 06114 Halle (Saale)
Tel.: 0345 2927-425

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