Jack Richard Stauder was born in Pueblo, Colorado, on March 2, 1939; he died in Amherst, Massachusetts, on December 3, 2018. His experiences with ranch workers while growing up in Colorado and New Mexico spawned his interests in studying other cultures. After high school he was awarded a scholarship to Harvard University, but after his first year he took a leave of absence and enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves, later returning to Harvard to finish his bachelor’s degree. He did doctoral studies at Cambridge University, producing a Marxist analysis based on his fieldwork studying the cultural ecology of the Majangir in Ethiopia, leading to his PhD in 1968.
He returned to the United States as campus protests were intensifying, and he developed Marxist critiques of American imperialism. Within the American Anthropological Association, Jack was an important voice in the anti-war and anti-imperialist movements developing in the late 1960s and early 70s. He was part of the Radical Caucus and Anthropologists for Radical Political Action which had significant impacts on AAA political developments during this period. He was hired by Harvard’s Department of Social Relations in 1968, where he developed a popular course on “Radical Perspectives in Social Change.” He was arrested in 1969 for joining students occupying Harvard’s University Hall during an anti-war protest, and the fallout from this arrest and the administration’s unrest over his “Radical Perspectives in Social Change” class led Harvard to terminate his contract in 1969.
After he left Harvard. he briefly taught at several different colleges and found his permanent academic home at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, where he remained for over 40 years as a popular teacher. While he had been a radical anti-imperialist firebrand in the 1960s and 70s, decades later his political and theoretical orientation took a significant turn to the right, rejecting most of the political stances he took in the 60s and 70s, denouncing the environmental movement, rejecting human-caused climate change, and even appearing on Rush Limbaugh’s radio program in 1995 denouncing mainstream climate science’s understanding of global climate change as political propaganda, a progression of thought that took him a long ways from his important 1972 essay on “The ‘Relevance’ of Anthropology under Imperialism.”
His final book, The Blue and the Green: A Cultural Ecological History of an Arizona Ranching Community, returned to his early roots and interest in ranchers of the American west. After his retirement in 2018 he moved to western Massachusetts.
(David H. Price)
Cite as: Price, David H. 2023. “Jack Richard Stauder.” Anthropology News website, April 28, 2023.