Luke Eric Lassiter

2005 Margaret Mead Award Recipient

mead_lassiter.jpgThe Society for Applied Anthropology is pleased to announce that Prof. Luke Eric Lassiter has been selected to receive the Margaret Mead Award for 2005.  Prof. Lassiter is the Director of the Graduate Humanities Program at the Marshall University Graduate College in South Charleston, West Virginia.  He is also Professor of Humanities and Anthropology at the University.  The announcement was made by President Don Stull.

The Mead Award was initiated in 1979 by the Society and has been awarded jointly since 1983 with the American Anthropological Association.  It is presented annually to a younger scholar for a particular accomplishment such as a book, a film, or a service.  The guidelines specify that the particular accomplishment should interpret anthropological data and principles in ways that make them meaningful to a broadly concerned public, skills for which Margaret Mead was admired widely.

Margaret Mead joined in 1941 with other prominent applied social scientists to form the Society.  Later (1978), she authorized the use of her name on the Award.  At the time, it was the first association-sponsored award which bore her name.

Prof. Lassiter was selected for his book, The Other Side of Middletown: Exploring Muncie's African American Community, which was published in 2004 by the AltaMira Press.  Muncie, Indiana, is the site of the then path-breaking "Middletown" studies, first initiated by Robert and Helen Lynd in 1929.   Prof. Lassiter noted that the book was a collaborative effort wherein "faculty, students, and community members together designed and implemented a collaborative ethnographic field project....” The purpose of the study was to recount "the largely unrecorded history of Muncie's black community which the Lynds and subsequent researchers downplayed".

The selection of Prof. Lassiter was announced at the Meetings of the American Anthropological Association in Washington, D.C., in early December.  Prof. Lassiter will also be honored at the Meetings of the Society for Applied Anthropology in Vancouver, Canada, in late March.  Previous recipients of the Award include Paul Farmer, Susan Scrimshaw, Marc Sommers, and Nancy Scheper-Hughes.