Philip L Kilbride

Philip L Kilbride

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Philip L Kilbride

Philip L Kilbride

Philip L Kilbride, 70 (born 1942), passed away September 15, 2012. He was a leading scholar in marriage and the family, street children and the anthropology of Kenya. He came to Bryn Mawr College in 1969 just as he was finishing his PhD from the University of Missouri. Eight years later he was department chair, and soon after professor. Phil stayed at Bryn Mawr for his entire career, spanning more than four decades. During that time Phil earned many distinctions including a chair in the social sciences and social work and social research, a visiting Fulbright professorship in anthropology at the University of Pardubice in the Czech Republic, and chair of the anthropology department for three separate terms.

Phil stood out as a field worker. Between 1966 and 2008 he made 28 separate trips for a total of 62 months in the field, primarily in Kenya but also with lengthy intervals in Uganda, the Czech Republic and Mexico. This extensive field research commitment resulted in substantial publication and papers. A total of seven books, 43 articles and chapters, plus numerous reviews, papers and organized sessions at professional meetings, invited lectures and media presentations stemmed from his work at home and abroad. Most notable among his works are Street Children in Kenya: Voices of Children in Search of Childhood and Plural Marriage for Our Times: A Re-invented Option.

Phil’s early work was in psychological anthropology in Uganda, and he pursued this focus with the Buganda on various aspects of child development. Subsequently in Kenya Phil continued to examine childhood and child development and then broadened his work to include studies on the family and modernization. Later, he became recognized for his long term studies of street children, and he came to know many young children as they grew into adults on the streets of Nairobi. Phil was interested in many things: he studied and published on the adoption of microtechnology among the Buganda, the cross cultural perceptions of the Ponzo Perspective Illusion, dreams and sleep disorders in Uganda, Polygyny and Plural Marriage in Africa and the United States, and the Irish Diaspora to East Africa and elsewhere.

Phil was generous with his time, energy and spirit. He was devoted to his family, and he gave inordinately to his students and colleagues. He was without fail inclusive, encouraging and full of ideas and possibilities of how we all could connect, see, and understand the enveloping social world surrounding us. Phil’s untimely death on September 15, just at the beginning of the fall 2012 semester, came as a great shock. He is survived by his wife Marrion Wathuti (nee Nderitu) Kilbride, and his former wife Janet E (nee Capriotti) Kilbride, his daughters Candice and Natalie, son Roy and sister Nancy Daubert. A symposium in his honor and a memorial service will be held April 5–6 on the Bryn Mawr College campus. (Rick Davis)

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