Department celebrates 75th year
Department of Anthropology celebrates its 75th Anniversary this
UNM President James Zimmerman asked Edgar Lee Hewett to form
the department culminating a process that included earlier UNM
field schools and Hewetts long personal involvement in
the development of anthropology as a field of study in New Mexico.
one of the most interesting and flamboyant characters in the
history of Southwestern anthropologyas detailed in recent
works by Don Fowler (see accompanying story), James Snead and
Curtis Hinsleywas largely a self-taught archeologist who
was president of the New Mexico Normal School in Las Vegas (later
New Mexico Highlands University), then founder of the School
of American Research in Santa Fe, and founding director of the
Museum of New Mexico.
battled for years to wrest control of New Mexico archeological
sites from Eastern institutions. He was a believer in the field
school experience, leading such projects himself for many years,
notably in the Jemez Mountains, where the first UNM field school
was held in the summer of 1928. Hewett also founded the anthropology
department at what would later become San Diego State University.
Department of Anthropology continues to be a world leader in
research and teaching, producing generations of leading specialists
in all the subfields of the discipline worldwide. Following
a decade of publishing a local review, The New Mexico
Anthropologist, the department, in collaboration with
the Laboratory of Anthropology in Santa Fe, began publication
of the world-class Southwestern Journal of Anthropology (SWJA)
in 1945, edited by Leslie Spier. In 1973, SWJA was renamed Journal
of Anthropological Research (JAR), to better reflect the broadindeed
internationalscope of its contents, as well as of its
authors and subscribers.
Professor and JAR Editor Lawrence Straus said the history of
the department is firmly rooted in the rich diversity of living
and past cultures of the Southwest, but has had and continues
to have major interests in and impacts on the holistic study
of humankind worldwide.
research by faculty and students includes work in North, Central
and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. UNM faculty include
many major figures within their areas of specialization and
in professional organizations, both in the United States and
Department of Anthropology is one of the oldest in the West
following University of California at Berkeley by about 25 years,
but roughly contemporary with departments at the universities
of Utah and Arizona.
75th anniversary festivities celebrate the long and illustrious
history of anthropology at UNM and make New Mexicans and alumni
aware of what a great department we have, said Carole
Nagengast, department chair. However, our goal is to raise
money for fellowships and scholarships for anthropology students,
so that we can continue to have a world-class department. This
is a long-term project that starts with the anniversary celebration
but will extend long beyond it.