Sharon Hutchinson – USA

Linked with Genocide in Darfur.

She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

She says: “The studen organization ‘Action in Sudan’ has been very successful. Some of my pld students started it up last year. I occasionally give talks, but it’s their baby. I’m proud of my students … we have huge responsibility to give back to the place we study from”. And: “That’s the wonderful thing about anthropoogy, whatever I’m learning, it goes immediately into my life”.

She says also: “No one had gone back to this area for a very long time, partly because I think they were afraid to follow in the footsteps of this great Oxford anthropoplogist (Edward Evans-Pritchard). I decided that if I wanted to study cultural change that I would work there because I had a kind of baseline. I was interested in how these people (the Nur) saw their own world as changing and actively trying to figure things out. It’s a rough place to go”. (Both citations on

Sharon Hutchinson - USA rogné redim 15p.jpg

Sharon Hutchinson – USA

She works for the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and for the Civilian Protection Monitoring Team.

Listen: a Sharon Hutchinson Interview, conducted September 29, 2006 with progressiv radio.

For the past 25 years, Sharon Hutchinson has initiated grassroots efforts and focused international attention on human rights abuses in war-torn Sudan. An anthropologist at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) and a human rights consultant, her research has taken her to the frontlines.

As one of the monitors on the Civilian Protection Monitoring Team, she has helped investigate and document attacks against civilians by the Sudan Army, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, and government-allied militias. Educated, passionate, and fluent in Arabic, French, Spanish, and Nuer, Sharon represents a threat to those that profit from the subjugation of the southern Sudanese. She has been threatened with poisoning and assassination a number of times, but nothing has stopped her efforts to shed light on the country’s human rights abuses.

Her passion is to make sure that the voices of the southern Sudanese reach the U.S and international human rights communities. It is a responsibility that she carries with humility and devotion. She helped organize grassroots peace activities and guided aid work through NGOs such as Amnesty International and Save the Children, and conducted extensive undercover work documenting civilian human rights abuses for Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Currently, she is working on constructing three elementary schools in the Western Upper Nile and is in the process of developing a curriculum and printing course materials.

Sharon’s work with the Nuer has focused the attention of academia, government officials, and policy-makers toward the violence in Sudan. As a member of the Civilian Protection Monitoring Team, she has documented numerous formal and informal reports issued on the subject of oil-driven military violence and has pressured the Government of Sudan to halt human rights abuses.

Sharon is serving as expert witness in a major U.S. Federal Court Case, raised by current and former residents of southern Sudan, against Talisman, a major Canadian oil company, and the government of Sudan. The plaintiffs allege that the company collaborated with the Sudanese government in a policy of ethnic cleansing of civilian populations to facilitate oil exploration and extraction activities.

She was the principal investigator and study designer in 1999 for a major research project on “Displaced Populations in Khartoum: a Study of Social and Economic Conditions” for ‘Save the Children’, Denmark. She trained and directed 20 Southern Sudanese research assistants, analyzed data, and made policy recommendations for international assistance.

In 1999, her field research focused on grass-roots peace movements to restore inter-ethnic peace between Dinka and Nuer communities along the turbulent Bahr-el-Ghazal/Western Upper Nile border in Southern Sudan.

She has worked extensively on displacement of Nuer and Dinka refugees, the role of “modernity” in the form of guns, Christianity and money in the lives of the Nuer and the Dinka, and the subsequent militarization of their ethnic identities in the context of Sudan’s long-standing civil war.

Sharon, who received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, studied at the Center for Arabic Study, abroad at the American University of Cairo, and received an M.A. in anthropology from the University of Chicago. She is a widely recognized expert in her field.

She specializes in:

  • social history and cultural change;
  • comparative age and gender studies;
  • ritual and religion;
  • kinship and social organization;
  • political economy;
  • nationalism and ethnicity;
  • the anthropology of warfare and post-war reconstruction;
  • international humanitarian interventions and human rights;
  • refugee studies and the ethnography of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Her books:
- “Nuer Dilemmas,” is a core textbook in many American and European universities. She has written widely on the crises facing the lives of Nuer and Dinka women and children.
- “Sacrificing Childhood: The Impact of Sudan’s Unresolved Civil War on the Lives of Nuer and Dinka Women and Children.”
- “Gendered Violence and the Militarization of Nuer and Dinka Ethnic Identities” (2000), University of Wisconsin-Madison.
- Cultural Pluralism Research Circle: “Religious Fragments of an Unfinished War”.
- “Working in a War-Zone: Difficulties of Conducting Field Research in South Sudan” (2001) University of Illinois-Urbana.
- African Studies and Anthropology.

Sharon is the mother of two children, Jasmine and Teddy, who are now in college. Her husband, the late Dr. Robert Bruce Wiegand (Professor of Sociology at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater) died of cancer in February 2002. (Read all on 1000peacewomen 2005).

Read: Professor makes an impact in Sudan Human Rights.

Read: Humanitarianism & World Order.

Contact her.

It is told about her: “Dr. Hutchinson is a woman of strength, courage, and resilience and inspires the same in her students and peers. As her students, we would like her silent efforts to be recognized and made visible”. (1000peacewomen).

Elshafie was one of more than 50 people who gathered on Monday to listen to Sharon Hutchinson, a professor of cultural anthropology at the University of Wisconsin who is known for her work on Sudan and other human-rights issues. (Daily

The Nuer are a confederation of tribes located in Southern Sudan and western Ethiopia. Collectively, the Nuer form one of the largest ethnic groups in East Africa. They are a pastoral people that rely on cattle for almost every aspect of their daily lives. (full text on wikipedia).


Security Council, Press Release SC/8343;

Nuer Dilemas;


The Center for the Humanities.

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