Richard Lee

Title: Richard Lee Fonds

Date(s) of creation: 1962-2000; predominant 1963-1975

Physical description: 4.18 metres of multimedia records

Admin. history/Biographical sketch:
Professor Richard B. Lee is an internationally known anthropologist who studies hunting and gathering societies and is particularly famous for his work on the !Kung San of Botswana. Born in Canada, Prof. Lee graduated from the University of Toronto in Anthropology with a B.A. in 1959 and an M.A. in 1961. He pursued his studies at the University of California Berkley, graduating with a Ph.D. in 1965. Concurrently, he was employed by Harvard University as a Graduate Research Anthropologist from 1963 to 1965 during which time (1963-64) he did his first of many field trips among the !Kung San bushmen of the Kalahari. From 1965 to 1967, he was a lecturer in Social Anthropology at Harvard and from 1967-70 was a research fellow in the Department of Social Relations and Centre for Behavioral Sciences at Harvard. For two years from 1970-72, he was associate professor of anthropology at Rutgers University before returning to the University of Toronto to take on the same position. By 1976 he had risen to the rank of professor and in 1999 was honored with the appointment to University Professor, a position he still holds.
Field research and grants to support them have been a significant part of Prof. Lee’s career and success. As part of the Kalahari Research Group out of Harvard, he studied and lived among the !Kung San numerous times including the 1963-64 year mentioned above, as well as a three year study funded by the N.I.M.H (National Institute of Mental Health) from 1967-70 with Harvard Anthropologist Irven DeVore. In 1982-83, he was Connaught Senior Fellow and took leave to study “Agriculture, the State and Capitalism: A Study of Large Scale Social Change”. He has been the recipient of funds from various other sources including the Canada Council and the Humanities and Social Science Research Council. His study of foraging societies has extended well beyond the !Kung San to include peoples in Tanzania, Namibia, Alaska, Australia, British Columbia, the Yukon and Labrador. Most recently his research has focused on the anthropology of health and the cultural and social factors in AIDS epidemic in southern Africa for which he has received funds from the National Institutes of Health (U.S.) via Columbia University School of Public Health as well as directly from the University of Toronto.

Prof. Lee has published over 100 articles and chapters in books. He has authored several books including Man the Hunter (1968), Kalahari Hunter Gathers (1976), Politics and History in Band Societies (1982) and The Dobe Ju/’hoansi (2003). Most recognized is his 1979 , The !Kung San: Men and Women and Work in a Foraging Society, listed in American Scientist list of the 100 most important works in science of the 20th century. Prof. Lee won the Anisfield-Wolf Award in Racial Relations for this same work from the Cleveland Foundation. He has also given numerous lectures at symposiums and meetings and is a sought after keynote speaker for groups worldwide.

Prof. Lee has been active in several professional associations including: the Association of American Anthropologists for which he organized several meetings and symposiums; founding member of Anthropologists for Radical Political Change; past president of the Canadian Anthropologist Society and the Canadian Ethnology Society. He has also been a referee for various publications (American Anthropologist, Current Anthropology) and granting agencies (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Wenner-Gren Foundation and the National Science Foundation). He is a member of the Royal Society of Canada and is a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Prof. Richard Lee lives in Toronto and continues to research, publish and teach in the Department of Anthropology. He is also a sought after scholar for invited lectures world wide.

Scope and content:
While Richard Lee’s career as anthropologist spans some 40 years, this fonds documents mainly his early career, particularly his research on the !Kung San bushmen in the Kalahari. Included are research records, field notes, correspondence, papers, manuscripts, photographs and sound recordings found in several series of records. As well, there is a fair amount of documentation on the Kalahari Research Group itself. This was a group of mainly American anthropologists, of which Richard Lee was an early member.

Prof. Lee’s publishing activities is documented only to a limited degree, again during his early career from 1963 to 1975 (Series 4). Of significance is the manuscript for his acclaimed The !Kung San: Men and Women and Work in a Foraging Society. For researchers interested in the history of anthropology as a profession both in Canada and the United States, there are several files on the American Anthropological Association (Series 5) and the activist group Anthropologists for Radical Political Action. Finally, his early teaching career at Harvard University, Rutgers University and the University of Toronto from 1972 to 1975 is documented in Series 6.

Access and use: Open

Finding aids: Richard Lee Fonds

Related records in a different fonds:

Accruals: Further accruals are expected.

Corresponding accessions: B2007-0018