Tanya Asad, née Baker, passed away on Wednesday, October 14, 2020, in New York City. She was 93 years old.
Born April 17, 1927, in London, Baker was initially interested in medieval French literature, but finally opted to study anthropology at University College London under the guidance of C. Daryll Forde and Phyllis Kaberry, along with M. G. Smith, and, briefly, Mary Douglas. Meyer Fortes served on her doctoral committee as well. She graduated in 1954, having defended a dissertation on “The Social Organisation of the Birom.” Though unpublished, the work is still discussed by anthropologists of Northern Nigeria. She lectured at Edinburgh University (where she conducted a UNESCO study on “Elite Women in Nigeria” together with Mary Bird), then at Leicester University. She later taught in Khartoum, Sudan, at the Institute for Public Administration. Back in the United Kingdom, at the University of Hull, she gave a very popular course on “Gender.”
Baker was also a regular translator for Economy and Society, translating essays by Jacques Rancière, among others.
She married Talal Asad in 1960. Since 1990, the Asads have lived in New York, and briefly in Baltimore. She will be remembered by her loved ones and friends.
Cite as: Anidjar, Gil. 2020. “Tanya Asad.” Anthropology News website, November 13, 2020. DOI: 10.14506/AN.1533