This group is dedicated to the life and work of Edward H. Spicer- one of the founders of SfAA who paved the way for the growth and recognition of applied anthropology
Latest Activity: Nov 23, 2015
Here's what I've found as a pretty good overview of his life and work:
EDITING AND OTHER ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Despite the heavy load of teaching, research, and service to the profession that kept him busy during the 1950s, Ned, at the end of the decade, yielded to the entreaties of his colleagues and accepted responsibility for editing the American Anthropologist. During the three years he was engaged at this work, he somehow managed to finish his writing for Perspectives and also to complete the manuscript for a gigantic tome that the University of Arizona Press published in 1962 as Cycles of Conquest: The Impact of Spain, Mexico, and the United States on the Indians of the Southwest, 1533-1960. This volume, running to nearly 600 pages, was highly lauded by both anthropologists and historians and has since attained the status of an ethnohistorical masterpiece. With support from his second Guggenheim award, Ned began work on Cycles in 1955 while living in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Following his service as editor of the American Anthropologist, Ned took sabbatical leave in the fall of 1963. A National Science Foundation senior fellowship enabled him to do a comparative study of programs for Indian betterment in Mexico, Peru, and Ecuador. He returned from Latin America in 1964 and shortly thereafter turned down the opportunity to become a nominee for the presidency of the American Anthropological Association.
Spicer continued to do research and to write after concluding his sabbatical, but in the late 1960s he gave extra attention to teaching, which he always considered one of his most important and beloved responsibilities. He and a colleague from the sociology department expanded a seminar in community development they had organized, and both designed and implemented short training programs for Vista workers and others engaged in similar work. In 1968 Spicer accepted an invitation from William S. King, an official of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and former student of his, to help plan, and take part in, a series of regional community development seminars for BIA personnel.
During his extensive studies of culture contact and change, Spicer became fascinated with the abilities of particular ethnic groups, such as the Yaqui, to retain separate identities within the nation-states of which they formed a part. In 1969 he obtained a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to visit Europe, where he might investigate firsthand such groups as the Basques, Catalans, Irish, and Welsh, who he felt shared with the Yaquis this quality of endurance. In the summer of 1970 he and Roz began their travels and remained away from Tucson for a full year. Not long after they returned, Ned published a short article in Science titled "Persistent Cultural Systems." Despite its brevity, the article attracted international attention and helped stimulate a new research interest in the social sciences.
Ned was already past normal retirement age when he returned from Europe, but he had two major writing projects he hoped to finish during the years that remained to him. One, already begun, was a lengthy manuscript on Yaqui culture that incorporated many of the ideas and research techniques he felt most important. The other was a book on "enduring peoples" throughout the world. He lived to complete the first of these objectives but not the second.
In 1972 Ned returned to the board of the American Anthropological Association as president-elect. Shortly afterward, he learned that he was suffering from cancer of the lower jaw, a condition similar to that which had cost the life of his father. Doctors began radiotherapy treatments and for the next several years would continue their attempts to control the disease in this fashion. Spicer went on working as before and in the fall of 1973 took office as president of the American Anthropological Association. He spent much of the next year assisting the program chairman with arrangements for the group's annual meeting in Mexico City; and he invited his old friend, historian Miguel León-Portilla, to give a major address at that event.
Shortly before Ned stepped down from the presidency of the American Anthropological Association in the fall of 1974, he was honored with membership in the American Philosophical Society and received similar acclaim from the National Academy of Sciences the following year. Despite his cancer, he continued to teach and to advise students, as well as to work on his Yaqui manuscript. He also was deeply committed to several community projects involving the Tucson Yaquis and his beloved Fort Lowell neighborhood.
The Society for Applied Anthropology voted Spicer its coveted Bronislaw Malinowsky Award in 1976. Over the years he seized many opportunities to apply his anthropological knowledge to designing, administering, and assessing government programs for improving the lives of people. In addition to his work with the War Relocation Authority, the Cornell and Indian Affairs seminars, and his evaluations of Indian programs in Central and South America, Spicer assisted the Stanford Research Institute with preparing an inventory of resources on the San Carlos Apache Reservation, took part in a national study of Indian education, and advised the Yaquis on public housing. He often reminded his students that anthropologists had much to contribute to administration and encouraged them to seek employment outside the academic setting.
In 1978, after completing his Yaqui manuscript, Spicer retired from the University of Arizona, where he enjoyed a joint appointment in anthropology and sociology and at one time also directed the Bureau of Ethnic Research. During his final year on campus, the Arizona chapter of Phi Beta Kappa elected him to membership. He had belonged to Sigma Xi, the national science fraternity, since his Chicago days.
Started by Scott Spicer Mar 10, 2013.
Started by Barry R. Bainton Oct 13, 2011.