Obituary Guidelines

AN is the association’s major vehicle for information about deaths of our colleagues, but it is only as good as the information received. As a service to the discipline, please notify the AN Managing Editor as soon as you learn of a death so she can locate an author and schedule the notice for publication.

If you are volunteering to contribute a death notice, note that they may be up to 500 words and are always enhanced by a photo (jpg preferred). Please check facts with the deceased’s family and colleagues prior to submission. American Anthropologist commissions longer obituaries of selected anthropologists after their AN death notices appear; different authors are preferred. For information on potential AA obituaries, contact AA Obituary Editor Sydel Silverman.

All AN death notices will be published online at and in the next available print issue.

Submission Details

  • Include: full name, date and place of death, age at death, graduate and final affiliation, accomplishments and immediate survivors. When possible, also include date and place of birth.
  • Verify death and check facts with the family and/or through the deceased’s department.
  • AN obituaries may be no more than 500 words in length.
  • Photographs should be submitted as JPEG or TIF files. For print, the images need to be minimum of 300 dpi at 1˝ tall.
  • Focus on the highlights of the person’s career and contributions to the discipline.
  • Personal opinions, reminiscences and eulogies are appropriate, but best kept to a minimum. There is usually little space left over for direct quotes.
  • Contributions will be edited for grammatical accuracy and appropriate length.
  • Additional remembrances are welcome in the comments portion of the online AN obituary, but only comments by AAA members will be approved.


Here is an example that could serve as a model, although this exact format is not required. Please note that the images for the print version are cropped to a headshot and converted to grayscale. This obituary ran in the February 2012 Anthropology News:

Elizabeth Brumfiel
Elizabeth Brumfiel

Elizabeth M Brumfiel, 66 (born 1945), was a leading scholar of Aztec archaeology who brought the study of social and economic inequality to the forefront of archaeological research. Across her career she taught at Northwestern University and Albion College. A pioneer in the field of feminist studies, she trans­formed the field of archaeology to be more inclu­sive about research on gender, class, and other lines of social difference in society. Her 1991 Distinguished Lecture to the Archaeology Division of the American Anthropological Association, titled “Breaking and Entering the Ecosystem: Gender, Class, and Faction Steal the Show” (published in 1992), illuminated her transformative role and ushered in a new era of work in archaeology that highlighted a more humane past and the central roles that all people—women and men, rich and poor—played in society.

Brumfiel was the lead curator of The Aztec World Exhibit at the Field Museum in 2008–09. Since 1987 Brumfiel and her students conducted archaeological research in Xaltocan, Mexico, the capital of an auton­omous pre-Columbian kingdom that was conquered first by the Aztecs and later by the Spanish. Long before archaeology recognized the importance of community involvement, Brumfiel involved the people of Xaltocan in all aspects of her research leading to her 2007 award of the Eagle Warrior Prize by the town of Xaltocan for her dedication to community issues in archaeology.

She was a former president of the American Anthropological Association. In this and other posi­tions she worked tirelessly to promote anthropology as a means to further human rights and social justice. In 2006, David Horowitz, a leading conservative, listed her as one of the “101 most dangerous professors in America” due to her work on human rights issues and social justice.

Through personal example, feminist-inspired research, and teaching Brumfiel promoted an inclu­sive and inspiring research ethic for her students and colleagues. In 2011 she was awarded the Committee on Gender Equity in Anthropology Award that recog­nized her significant work in mentoring students and colleagues and promoting the position of women in the field.

Brumfiel earned her PhD and BS in anthropology from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and her MS from UCLA. She is the editor of Production and Power at Postclassic Xaltocan and co-editor of five other volumes including Specialization, Exchange, and Complex Societies (edited with Tim Earle) and Gender, Households, and Society: Unraveling the Threads of the Past and the Present (edited with Cynthia Robin). She wrote over 60 scholarly articles published in the United States, England, Mexico and Spain, including: “Weaving and cooking: women’s production in Aztec Mexico” (in Engendering Archaeology: Women and Prehistory, edited by Joan M Gero and Margaret W Conkey).

Brumfiel passed away peacefully on January 1, 2012. Beloved wife of 45 years to Vincent Brumfiel; cher­ished mother of Geoffrey Brumfiel (fiancée Natasha Gilbert); sister of Fran (Gerald) Johnson; daughter of the late George Menco Stern and Rosella Taitch Stern. Contributions may be made in her name to The Archeological Conservancy, (Cynthia Robin, Deborah L Nichols and Enrique R Rodriguez-Alegria)