Harold W. Scheffler

Professor of Anthropology

Harold W. SchefflerHarold Scheffler, B.A. University of Missouri, M.A., Ph.D. University of Chicago, faculty member at Yale since 1962: If kinship and descent are at the core of anthropological knowledge, you are one of the progenitors of its theory, in a distinguished line of descent from Lewis Henry Morgan, W.H.R. Rivers, Meyer Fortes, and others. With fieldwork in the Solomon Islands, in Vanuatu, and in aboriginal Australia, with sweeping comparative knowledge, and with elegant and penetrating formal analyses, you have deeply enriched our appreciation of the intricate patterns by which the most foundational of human social relations are crafted from genealogical connections. Your collaborations with Floyd Lounsbury on structural semantics were pioneering, your own monumental work on Australian Kin Classification was definitive, and your synthetic account of Filiation and Affiliation has clarified for a new generation of scholars what is so compellingly at stake in understanding the principles of human social organization.

You conclude 45 years in the Department as the longest-serving member in the history of Yale anthropology. Your courses on kinship, on modes of thought, and on sexual meanings have reached generations of Yale undergraduates, and for many years you greeted entering doctoral students in the Departmental pro-seminar. Dissertation writers have always admired your support and depended upon your unerring jargon detection antennae. You have served the Department in all administrative capacities and been a loyal Fellow of Berkeley College. You have been a steadfast advocate for the growth of women and gender studies at Yale and a valued council member of the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program as it has developed over the years. The bonds of filiation are elemental and enduring, and Yale looks forward to your continued association in the Anthropology Department community, and in the University as a whole, as an elder of the tribe.

Tribute Editor: Penelope Laurans