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Annelise Riles receives lifetime achievement award

By: Linda B. Glaser,  A&S Communications
January 29, 2018

Annelise Riles, professor of anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Jack G. Clarke ’52 Professor of Far East Legal Studies at Cornell Law School, has received the Anneliese Maier Award for lifetime achievement across the social sciences and humanities from the German government and the Humboldt Foundation.

According to the committee, the Maier Award is in recognition of Riles’ “outstanding achievements in academic research.” It includes a prize of 250,000 euros “to carry out groundbreaking research in cooperation with specialist colleagues in Germany.” The award will be presented Sept. 12 at a three-day symposium in Germany, during which Riles will deliver an invited lecture.

“The Anneliese Maier Research Awards recognize scholars whose work is both pioneering and collaborative,” said Adam Smith, the Goldwin Smith Professor of Anthropology. “This describes Annelise Riles’ research perfectly. Her ethnographic work on law and regulation has led both legal studies and anthropology into exciting new terrain. And as the founder of Meridian 180, a powerful platform for bringing expertise to transnational policymaking, her commitment not just to documenting but to solving global problems is truly inspiring. Annelise is a terrific model for how anthropology can reshape perspectives on a diverse array of fields, and we are truly lucky to have such an eminent thinker and practitioner as part of our faculty.”

Added Eduardo Peñalver ’94, the Allan R. Tessler Dean of Cornell Law School, “This award is well-deserved international recognition of Annelise’s contribution to legal scholarship at the intersection of law, the humanities and social science.”

Riles, who is also director of the Clarke Program in East Asian Law and Culture, focuses on the transnational dimensions of law, markets and culture across the fields of private law, conflict of laws, financial regulation and comparative legal studies. She has conducted legal and anthropological research in China, Japan and the Pacific and speaks Chinese, Japanese, French and Fijian. She has published on topics including comparative law, conflict of laws, financial regulation and central banking.

Her first book, “The Network Inside Out,” won the American Society of International Law’s Certificate of Merit for 2000-02. Forthcoming is “The Changing Politics of Central Banking” from Cornell University Press. She is working on a book about the possibility for transnational democratic dialogue in times of geopolitical conflict, based on the experience of Meridian 180. Her latest research concerns the transnational data governance regime.

Riles received an A.B. degree from Princeton University in 1988; an M.Sc. in social anthropology from the London School of Economics in 1990; and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1993. She earned a Ph.D. in social anthropology from Cambridge University in 1996. She has served as a visiting professor at Yale University, the University of Tokyo, the London School of Economics and the University of Melbourne, and as a visiting researcher at the Bank of Japan.


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