311A Alumni Building
Area of Interest:
Social Anthropology, Psychological Anthropology, Systems Theory, Africa
Ph.D. Chicago, 1970
Research & Activities:
Research Background: My first fieldwork experience was with the Oglala Lakota (Western Sioux) on Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota, resulting in a paper analyzing the multiple, and often contradictory, social and cultural identities that mark reservation life. I then spent two and one-half years (1965-68) with the Kipsigis of Kenya doing research on social organization, in general, and male initiations in particular. In 1971-72. I served as the Field Director of the Child Development Research Unit, University of Nairobi. During that time I conducted a restudy of the same Kipsigis community, as well as overseeing data collection in a rural health clinic and research among rural communities (Kikuyu, Maasai, and others) and urban samples. In 1982, I made a brief appearance as an Expert Witness on male initiations at a court martial among the 82nd Airborne at Ft. Bragg.
I returned to South Dakota for the memorial marking the 100th anniversary of the Massacre at Wounded Knee (December 29, 1990), and am in the process of developing further research with the Lakota.
Present Research I am interested in developing the use of cybernetic and ecological models to anthropological data, particularly African ethnology, the relationships between individual minds and cultural patterns, age-set systems, (particularly their coordination across acephalous societies), ethnic boundaries, and the influence of the nature of information exchange on such social processes.
Recent Scholarly Endeavors: Developed Anthropology 161: Field School in Contemporary African Culture, which was taught in the Summer Term 1995 with the assistance of two anthropology graduate students. This course offers undergraduates a unique opportunity to learn first hand the history and contemporary culture of an African nation, Kenya, under the guidance of instructors with extensive experience in the country. Students in this course travel to Kenya, where they take field trips within the country, are assigned readings, written exams, seminar discussions, and journals based on individually chosen topics. 6 credit hours are received by participants.