Victoria S. Lockwood died on October 3, 2016. Born in 1953 in Panama City, Florida Lockwood was a gifted anthropologist and beloved teacher, mentor, and person. She joined the faculty of Southern Methodist University (SMU) in 1986 after completing her PhD in anthropology from UCLA, and remained a vital intellectual force throughout her career.
In spite of her decades-long challenges with cancer, Lockwood persevered with dignity and purpose, designing and conducting cutting edge research for more than 30 years in the South Pacific. Her scholarly work focused on the gendered impacts of economic transformations in the subsistence-oriented islands of French Polynesia. Specifically, she explored how rural Tahitian women responded to French development programs to spur commercial agriculture and craft export. Her original research on the island of Tubuai became the basis for her book Tahitian Transformations: Gender and Capitalist Development in a Rural Society (Lynne Reiner, 1993).
Lockwood subsequently extended her research to a three-island comparative study in order to better understand the impact of development and neoliberalism on women and families. Lockwood’s work provided a critical counterpoint to studies that emphasized detrimental outcomes. Rather, she found that when women became income earners, gender hierarchies in the household shifted and increased women’s decision-making authority. In political realms, women assumed increasingly important public roles.
Lockwood observed how the empowerment of women in financial control and household decision-making escalated culturally-specific forms of domestic violence. In her most recent research, she generated longitudinal, comparative data to investigate the temporal scope and variable forms of domestic violence in Tubuai and Rurutu. Although at the time of her death she had not published findings from this work, her colleagues and former students are working to assemble her data and notes in hopes of preparing a posthumous publication.
In addition to her monograph, Lockwood published numerous journal articles and edited two volumes of scholarship on Pacific societies: Globalization and Culture Change in the Pacific Islands (Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2004) and Contemporary Pacific Societies: Studies in Development and Change (Prentice Hall, 1993), co-edited with T. Harding and B. Wallace. Lockwood’s research was supported by numerous National Science Foundation grants, and from 1999-2000, she served as the NSF Program Officer for Cultural Anthropology.
At SMU, where she served as director of both undergraduate and graduate studies, Lockwood inspired generations of students with her intellectual depth, methodological rigor, and caring mentoring. One former graduate student noted that she models her own mentoring of students by asking herself: “WWVD?—What would Vickie do?” Others remember her generosity and wisdom, patience and insight, and her incisive, but always constructive criticism. Lockwood won teaching and mentoring awards and was a fierce advocate for women and students. One undergraduate student whom she helped, wrote: “[Vickie] taught me the immense power of simple kindnesses. Her mentorship instilled in me a passion for it that I don’t think will ever disappear.”
As her students, friends, and colleagues—and all the people she cared for—we can share in the recognition that Vickie Lockwood enriched the world, her discipline, and many lives. Her legacy is real and inspiring because hers was a life of dignity, courage, intellectual rigor, purposeful research, humor, and practicality. (Caroline B. Brettell and Katherine E. Browne)