Scholar in Residence (email)
Maria Sapignoli is an anthropologist and Research Fellow in the Department of Law and Anthropology at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Germany. Since 2006 she has carried out ethnographic fieldwork in Botswana, most recently in Namibia, and in several international organizations, including the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and most recently the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights. Her research has investigated social movements aimed at promoting indigenous peoples’ rights, as well as the ways in which indigenous peoples are affected by, and have impacts on, institutions such as the United Nations. Her research in international institutions calls attention to the ideas, hopes, and daily experiences of those who inhabit and navigate these institutions, and addresses topics of institutional reform, international law, advocacy and, ultimately, justice. Most recently Sapignoli has started a new project, titled Algorithmic Technologies and Human Rights: An Anthropological Approach, that engages, critically and collaboratively, with the legal and social challenges and opportunities presented by the use of information and communications technology and big data. She is the author of numerous articles and book chapters and is the co-editor of Palaces of Hope: The Anthropology of Global Organizations (Cambridge University Press 2017) and the author of Hunting Justice: Displacement, Law, and Activism in the Kalahari (Cambridge University Press 2018).