Fulbright-Nehru Academic & Professional Excellence Award (Research)

Ann Armbrecht

Field of Study
Home Institution in the U.S.
Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
Host Institution in India
Tamil Nadu Agricultural University
Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
Start Date/Month in India
January 2017
Duration of Grant
Six months
Brief Bio:
Dr. Ann Armbrecht is an anthropologist, writer, and filmmaker interested most broadly in the relationship between culture and the environment. She holds a PhD in anthropology from Harvard University based on ethnographic research exploring changing systems of land tenure in the upper Arun Valley, Nepal. This work and subsequent research on land, culture, and community in the United States were the basis of her ethnographic memoir, Thin Places: A Pilgrimage Home, published by Columbia University Press, which won a Gold Nautilus Book Award for books that will change the world. She also wrote Settlements of Hope: An Account of Tibetan Refugees in Nepal and is the co-author of Developing Tibet. She is the co-producer of the first feature-length documentary on traditional herbal medicine, Numen: The Nature of Plants. She directs the Sustainable Herbs Project, a multi-media project following medicinal plants through the supply chain that seeks to educate consumers about quality, sustainability, and equity in the botanical industry. Dr. Armbrecht has taught in the MFA in Writing and Publishing Program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts and the anthropology departments at Dartmouth and Middlebury Colleges. She is a visiting scholar at Dartmouth. Dr. Armbrecht lives in Vermont with her family.

As a Fulbright scholar, Dr. Armbrecht is documenting the stories of men and women involved in growing, sourcing, and processing medicinal plants for the export market in India. She is conducting multi-sited ethnographic research, focusing on companies committed to developing transparent, sustainable, and equitable supply chains and to producing high-quality products. After the completion of the grant, she will share her research in popular and scholarly journals to bring greater depth and understanding to the key challenges and issues these companies face in a changing ecological and sociopolitical context.