Bard Faculty

John Ryle

Legrand Ramsey Professor of Anthropology; Chair, Rift Valley Institute

Academic Program Affiliation(s): Africana Studies, Anthropology, Human Rights


John Ryle is a writer and researcher specializing in Eastern and Central Africa. He is cofounder and executive director of the Rift Valley Institute, a research and public information organization operating in Eastern and Central Africa. He has worked as a long-term social researcher in the Sudans and in Brazil, as a regional analyst for aid and human rights organizations in Africa and the Middle East, and as a writer, editor, filmmaker, and broadcaster worldwide.

Books and other publications: He is the author of Warriors of the White Nile (1984), an account of the Dinka of South Sudan; coauthor of The Sudan Handbook (2011); and contributor to publications including the New York Review of Books, The Guardian (weekly columnist, 1995–99), Times Literary Supplement, Condé Nast Traveler, and Granta, where he was a contributing editor.

Translations: Portuguese to English translation of Caetano Veloso’s Noites do Norte (2001); other Brazilian poetry and prose.

Documentary films and radio: South Sudan: The Chiefs Speak, 2015 (director); Minefields, a three-part series, BBC World Service, 1996 (author, presenter); The Price of Survival: A Journey to the War Zone of South Sudan, 1994 (codirector); Witchcraft among the Azande, 1982 (anthropologist).

Boards and honorary appointments: Research Associate, School of Oriental and African Studies, London University; Board Member, Media Development Investment Fund; board member, Human Rights Watch Africa Division.

Awards and fellowships: Fellow, Cullman Center for Writers and Artists, New York Public Library (2015–16); Research Fellow, Nuffield College, Oxford University (1996–97); Bronwen Gold Blyth Award for Environmental Writing; Authors’ Foundation Open Award, UK); Social Science Research Council (UK) Postgraduate Fellow.

At Bard since 2005.


Phone: 845-758-7050
Department: Rift Valley Institute
Location: Hegeman Science Hall
Office: Room 310