Maria Eugenia Bozzoli
2000 Bronislaw Malinowski Award Recipient
María E. Bozzoli is a Costa Rican anthropologist known for her defense of the rights of ethnic minorities, her efforts for the recognition, respect and tolerance of cultural diversity, and her advocacy for conservation and sustainable use of the natural environment. As a pioneer in establishing the field of Anthropology in her country, she had to initiate and orient activities in different academic and applied topics of the discipline. There are two salient preocuppations in her work. One has been the Amerindian indigenous population, viewed from their precolumbian roots to their present status as cultural components of the national culture. Another one has been her interest in alternatives for national development rooted in her country’s history, cultural pluralism and biodiversity.
Dr. Bozzoli earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in anthropology, majoring in archaeology, at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, in the 1950s. She completed a doctorate in anthropology at the University of Georgia, Athens, in 1975. In 1962 she started teaching at the Universidad de Costa Rica. She has remained there doing academic and applied work. At this institution she was also elected member of the University Council (senate) from 1984 to 1988. She also served as Director of the Council and as Vice President of Social Action for the University of Costa Rica from 1976 to 1981. In this position she had an opportunity to apply anthropology through the service projects addressed to the national community. In 2000 she was elected as member of the University Council of the Universidad Estatal a Distancia to represent the national community for the next five years. She has lectured in the United States. One of her appointments was as a Fulbright Scholar at Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge and another one was Hall Distinguished Visiting Professor of Anthropology at the University of Kansas. In her applied work she has cooperated with governmental institutions in her country, for instance, the national planning office (development of border regions), the social welfare institute (issues of poverty), the advisory municipal institute (local development), the Costa Rican electricity institute (resettlement of people in dam construction), and the Ministry of Natural Resources (sustainable development).
Her contributions have been acknowledged in diverse ways, among them, at the University of Costa Rica she was honored as professor emerita in 1992. The Ethnology Laboratory at the University of Costa Rica bears her name since the 1980s. The Museum of Indigenous Cultures, inaugurated in 2003, located in Sarapiquí, Costa Rica, also bears her name. She is a recipient of her country's highest award to distinguished citizens for cultural endeavors, the Premio Magon.
She has published numerous articles and some books dealing with university and Costa Rican history; with the archaeology, social organization, symbolism and problems of marginality of indigenous cultures; applied anthropology in Central America, sustainable development, artisanal fishermen, farmers, culture theory, education, and philanthropy.