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Watson Institute for International Studies

Lutz Wins Anthropology Prize, Posts New Video on Nation's Mounting Car Debt

December 8, 2010

Institute Professor Catherine Lutz was recently awarded the Society for the Anthropology of North America’s prize for distinguished achievement in the critical study of North America. The co-author most recently of Carjacked: The Culture of the Automobile and its Effects on Our Lives (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), Lutz has been particularly vocal recently about car loans – “a massive load of debt … that has grown to become a larger component of national household debt than credit cards, itself a crushing $800 billion dollars,” as she writes this week on the Huffington Post. A video inspired by her book accompanies her opinion piece.

Car Crash from Watson Institute on Vimeo.


The problems of car-dependence and car debt are not unique to America but are expanding globally, Lutz has also pointed out on the Global Conversation. They will increasingly create challenges for mobility, land-use, and equality in rapidly motorizing states including India, China, and Brazil, she says.

The SANA Prize is awarded each year to a senior anthropologist “for broad-based contributions to research, teaching and service related to the development of critical studies of North America. The award recognizes a distinguished long-term program of research and publication, and also takes into account contributions in other areas, such teaching and training, SANA/AAA service, and community, activist, practice, or policy involvements outside academia.”

Lutz, who is chair of Brown’s Anthropology Department, has also published the co-authored Breaking Ranks: Iraq Veterans Speak Out against the War (University of California Press, 2010), The Bases of Empire: The Global Struggle against US Military Posts (New York University Press, 2009), Local Democracy under Siege: Activism, Public Interests, and Private Politics (New York University Press, 2007, winner of a Society for the Anthropology of North America book award), and Homefront: A Military City and the American 20th Century (Beacon Press, 2001, winner of the Leeds Prize and the Victor Turner Prize).