Toni Shapiro-Phim Joins the Ethics Center

Shapiro Phim

June 1, 2019

The International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life is delighted to announce the appointment of Toni Shapiro-Phim as Associate Professor of Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation (CAST) and Assistant Director of the Center's Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts. Beginning in the fall semester 2019, Professor Shapiro-Phim will support the program in Peacebuilding and the Arts, co-chair the CAST minor, offer its core course, “Introduction to Creativity, the Arts and Social Transformation" (CAST 150b) and develop two new CAST-designated courses. 

With a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from Cornell University, Toni Shapiro-Phim is a leading scholar and practitioner analyzing and building the role of the arts in conflict/post-conflict situations and in response to mass violence and sudden traumatic loss.

A central theme of Shapiro-Phim's work over many decades is that of long commitment to, and respect for, diverse populations. While her area of personal and professional expertise is dance and human rights, her research and professional activities have included ethnomusicology, documentary filmmaking, videography, and the study of expressive forms as diverse as domestic altars and women’s klezmer culture in the Philadelphia area and beyond. Shapiro-Phim's international work has focused on Cambodia, where she lived for many years and acquired fluency in Khmer; she has worked in other Asian countries, including in refugee camps.

Her recent work with the Liberian Women’s Chorus in Philadelphia has also allowed her to extend her knowledge to the contemporary African diaspora; she documented the work of the Chorus in her film Because of the War. 

Shapiro-Phim's co-edited volume, Dance, Human Rights, and Social Justice: Dignity in Motion (2008), has made her a leader in this field, and her other book-length publications, as well as shorter articles and reviews, all show Shapiro-Phim to be deeply committed to exploring the critical intersection of human rights, peace and justice, genocide studies, migration, and the arts and other forms of cultural expression. 

Shapiro-Phim has long experience in non-profit management as well, most recently as Director of Programs for the Philadelphia Folklore Project.

 Shapiro Phim speaking to a crowd

Toni Shapiro-Phim speaking at Brandeis after a November 2018 screening of her documentary “Because of the War”.

Shapiro-Phim brings ongoing work on issues of human rights and conflict resolution, as well as the documentation of transitional justice processes, to her role as Assistant Director of the Ethics Center's Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts. She holds leadership roles in IMPACT – Imagining Together: Platform for Arts, Culture and Conflict Transformation. Directed by Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts Director Cynthia Cohen, IMPACT is establishing a series of structures and processes designed to strengthen the global arts, culture and conflict transformation field.

Shapiro-Phim's long experience working in community will support the Ethics Center and CAST in their ongoing work creating important and mutually beneficial relationships with off-campus communities, in Waltham and beyond. She already enjoys lasting relationships within the Cambodian community in Lowell Massachusetts, for instance.

More about the Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts. 

More about Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation (CAST)