J. Lorand Matory is the Director of the Center for African and African American Research at Duke University, where he is also the Lawrence Richardson Professor of Cultural Anthropology. For the prior eighteen years, he had served a Professor of Anthropology and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. He has conducted intensive field research in Brazil, Nigeria, Benin Republic, Trinidad, Jamaica and the US.
Choice magazine named his Sex and the Empire That Is No More: Gender and the Politics of Metaphor in Oyo Yoruba Religion an Outstanding Book of the Year in 1994, and his Black Atlantic Religion: Tradition, Transnationalism and Matriarchy in the Afro-Brazilian Candomblé received the Herskovits Prize for the best book of 2005 from the African Studies Association. In 2010, the American Anthropological Association honored him with the Distinguished Africanist Award. And, most recently, he received the Alexander von Humboldt Research Prize, a recognition of lifetime achievement conferred by the German government and intended to foster collaborations between leading German and non-German scientists.
He is the author of over 20 articles in peer-reviewed journals or edited volumes. In 2008, Professor Matory delivered the Lewis Henry Morgan Lectures, which will be published under the title Stigma and Culture: Ethnological Schadenfreude and Last-Place Anxiety in Black America (in press, University of Chicago Press). With the support of the Humboldt Prize, he has begun a long-term collaboration with the Ethnological Museum and the Lateinamerika-Institut of the Freie Universität Berlin related to the documentation and analysis of the Afro-Atlantic sacred arts. During his stint in Germany, he also completed a book called Marx, Freud and the Gods People Make in the Black Atlantic: the Real-Life “Fetish” in the Making, and the Critique, of European Theory. The manuscript is currently under review for publication.
In support of his research and public educational projects, he has also received grants and fellowships form the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Social Science Research Council, the National Science Foundation, and the US Department of Education (Fulbright-Hays Fellowship).
From 2003 to 2011, he served as a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Cultural Property at the US Department of State. He is also the Executive Producer of two films: “Can We Talk?: Bridging the Social Science and the Humanities” (2012), “Human Traffic: Past and Present” (2012), “Global Affirmative Action in a Neoliberal Age” (2013), and “Lucumí Music: Singing, Dancing and Drumming Black Divinity” (2015), all of which are available for viewing on the Web site of the Center for African and African American Research.