Courtesy of Cornell University

The German government and Humboldt Foundation awarded Prof. Annelise Riles, the Jack G. Clarke ’52 Professor of Far East Legal Studies, the Anneliese Maier Award for lifetime achievement.

February 6, 2018

German Government Awards €250,000 Prize to Cornell Anthropology Professor

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A Cornell anthropology professor will be awarded a €250,000 prize from the German government and the Humboldt Foundation in recognition of her study on the culture of law and legal institutions.

The committee said that Prof. Annelise Riles, the Jack G. Clarke ’52 Professor of Far East Legal Studies, received the Anneliese Maier Award for lifetime achievement for “outstanding achievements in academic research.”

Riles’ studies focus on the United Nations, other international organizations, lawyers working in the financial markets, social activists in different countries working to change the law, and legal education.

Riles said receiving the honor was “humbling.”

“My approach to my career has always been to do what I truly want to do, even if it did not quite fit in the mold,” Riles said. “I hope my students can take from this prize the lesson that you can do what you love and survive in the system nonetheless.”

Riles graduated from Princeton University with an A.B. degree in 1988; received an M.Sc. in social anthropology from the London School of Economics in 1990; and in 1993 she received a J.D. from Harvard Law School. In 1996, she earned a Ph.D. in social anthropology from Cambridge University.

Riles is also a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo, the London School of Economics, Yale University, and the University of Melbourne, and a visiting researcher at Bank of Japan.

Riles published a wide variety of works on conflict of law, comparative law, financial regulation and central banking. One of her books, The Network Inside Out, received the Certificate of Merit from the American Society of International Law.

Riles’ colleagues said that the award was “well deserved.”

“Her research … has led to important new insights in both anthropology and legal studies,” Prof. Paul Nadasdy, anthropology, said. “Her work is a great example of how anthropology can bring a powerful new perspective to bear on contemporary world issues.”

Eduardo Peñalver ’94, the Allan R. Tessler Dean of Cornell Law School remarked “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 will be presented with the award on Sept. 12 in Germany.