Kay Warren Appointed Incoming Director of Pembroke Center

Anthropologist Kay Warren Appointed Director of the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women

The Pembroke Center, celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2011, is expanding its support of path-breaking research that spans the humanities, social sciences, and creative arts.

Anthropologist Kay Warren, the Charles C. Tillinghast Jr. ’32 Professor of International Studies and professor of anthropology, has been appointed director of the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women.

“Since its inception in 1981, the Pembroke Center has played a crucial role in advancing research and teaching on gender, and more generally on the notion of difference,” said Rajiv Vohra, dean of the faculty. “The center has been developing a richly international and cross-cultural research perspective. Professor Warren’s interests make her ideally suited to provide leadership as the Pembroke director.”

Warren, a cultural anthropologist, joined the Brown faculty in 2003 as professor of anthropology and international studies, based at the Watson Institute. She directed the Watson’s Politics, Culture, and Identity Program and pursued her own research interests in culture, violence, and peace processes; international law and human trafficking; and gender and politics. In 2009-10 she directed a year-long Pembroke seminar titled “Markets and Bodies in Transnational Perspective.”

“The Pembroke Center has long been interested in critical theory and representations of difference — the histories of these constructions, the power of media and artistic expressions, and the ways difference becomes a political and social tool,” Warren said. “The Pembroke Center’s growing attention to transnational issues and the benefits and risks of change build on the Center’s longstanding intellectual engagement with issues of difference.”

Under Warren’s directorship, the Pembroke Center’s research programs will continue to pursue the ironies and complexities of the emergence of new social media, the arts and humanities as sites of cultural critique, the circulation of new health technologies, and hostile responses to international labor migration. The Center’s approach will continue to be intensely interdisciplinary and global in scope.

“I think the range of what people can do at the Pembroke Center is only limited by people’s imaginations,” Warren said. “Our agenda is very open-ended, given the diversity and talents of the faculty — from the humanities, social sciences, creative arts, and life sciences – who work with us. This collaborative environment expands the concerns that people can bring to the Center, and we welcome new involvement from faculty and students.”

Warren is on sabbatical for the 2010-11 year, completing work on her next book, Human Trafficking, Transnationalism, and the Law. Although she will remain involved in planning and fundraising for the Pembroke Center, Suzanne Stewart-Steinberg, associate professor of comparative literature and Italian studies, will oversee day-to-day operations as acting director while Warren is on leave.