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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Julian Steward in the Field: On the Road to Cultural Ecology


I never met Julian Steward, but over a span of many years I did come to know him through his own words and through the personal memories of other people. He died in Urbana, Illinois, in 1972, at the age of seventy, just months before I entered the doctoral program in anthropology at the University of Illinois. During the next few years I encountered faculty members and a student or two who had met him—but very few who had known him. He had spent his last ten years living a reclusive life, avoiding the university and only rarely meeting with students at his house. His position as a research professor, without routine teaching duties, allowed that self-chosen isolation even before he retired. So did the help of his wife—but more on that below.

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