The Michael Kearney Memorial Lecture

Throughout his professional career, Michael Kearney (1937-2009) had an abiding interest in themes of migration, human rights, and transnationalism.  Dr. Kearney received his PhD. in anthropology from University of California at Berkeley, and taught for over two decades at University of California, Riverside, and served as President of SLACA from 1994-1997.  Michael’s rigorous and dedicated scholarship framed his approach to the classroom where he influenced and mentored two generations of applied researchers. He earned the highest respect of his university colleagues as well as that of indigenous leaders.

His interest in indigenous peoples of Mexico was manifest in his doctoral research, and developed with more precise focus in the 1980’s, when he devoted his energies to the plight of migrants from Mexico. Over the course of his career he authored four books, including The Winds of Ixtepeji: World View and Society in a Zapotec Town (Spanish: Institutio Indigenist Interamerican, 1971; English: Holt, Rinehard & Winston, 1972), World View (Chandler & Sharp, 1984), Reconceptualizing the Peasantry: Anthropology in Global Perspective (Westview, 1996), and Changing Fields of American Anthropology: From Local to Global (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004), in addition to numerous monographs, articles, and book chapters. 

Dr. Kearney’s research led to his increasing involvement with the formulation of public policy, and he provided the basis of reports and testimony before Federal and California State Legislative Hearings. This work sharpened and crystallized his commitment to applied anthropology as a tool for understanding and resolving problems in the human condition.

The Michael Kearney Lecture is given biennially at the SLACA conference.

Previous lectures

2021 – Irma Alicia Velásquez Nimatuj. “El sur que se ensancha dentro del norte.”

2019 – Yarimar Bonilla.  “The Coloniality of Disaster: Race, Empire, and Emergency in Puerto Rico, USA.”

2017 – Marc Edelman. “¿Cuánta soberanía alimentaria se puede conseguir por un millón de dólares?”

2015 – No lecture

2013 – Carmen Bueno Castellanos.  “Globalization and the challenge for the anthropology of organizations and industrial production.”

2011 – Carole Browner. “Global and Transnational Approaches to the Anthropology of Reproduction and Reproductive Rights: A Legacy of Michael Kearney.”