BEN EASTMAN, Vice Chair

May 15, 2017 | 

Formerly a professor in the Department of Anthropology at UVM, Ben is a cultural anthropologist and independent scholar whose research focuses on contemporary Cuba and Latin America. His scholarship addresses socialism/post-socialism, entrepreneurialism, sports, semiotics, and the relationships between nationalist rituals, moral authority, and political legitimacy.  As a professor, Ben taught courses based on these themes, providing active, often hands-on learning opportunities for students not only to understand non-Western cultures in their own terms but also to think about students’ own cultures in new ways.   Ben earned his degrees in cultural anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz (BA) and the University of Chicago (MA, PhD).  Ben first encountered the VYCC while riding his bike past a trail crew in Jericho, and he immediately appreciated the intrinsic value of their work.  After learning more about the organization, he is more convinced than ever that beyond the impressive material productivity of trail and farm crews, it is the ethical aspects of their work in fostering relations of care among each other and towards the environment that is particularly vital and inspiring.  Ben also serves as the Vice President of the Lucius and Eva Eastman Fund, a small foundation that supports social justice, environmental, and educational issues.  With his wife Vicki Brennan, Ben lives in Huntington, VT, which gives him easy access to some of the best cycling and splitboarding in the Green Mountains.