July 10, 2017
Dear Members of our Campus Community,
It is with great regret that I write to inform you of the passing of one of our colleagues, Professor Emeritus David Warwick Brokensha. Following a year of chronic cardiac issues, Professor Brokensha passed away peacefully at his home in Fish Hoek, South Africa, on the morning of June 15, 2017. Professor Brokensha was born on May 23, 1923, and received his PhD in anthropology from Oxford University in 1963. He joined our anthropology faculty in 1966, and was active in research, teaching, and service until he retired in 1989. He also served as faculty for our Environmental Studies Program from 1983 until his retirement. Professor Brokensha served the Anthropology Department as Chair for two years spanning 1969-1970.
Professor Brokensha's scholarly interests focused mainly on social and ecological changes in rural areas, especially in tropical Africa, as well as development anthropology. In his lifetime, Professor Brokensha achieved considerable recognition in these areas of research. In addition to his central research focus, Professor Brokensha also studied a variety of classic anthropological topics, such as settlement patterns and resettlement practices in the context of economic development; kinship and marriage practices; history of ethnology; subsistence practices; deforestation and environmental change; and gender and labor. He also wrote and advised widely on topics pertaining to the training of social and development workers, critically evaluating the inception and practice of development research in Africa.
During his tenure at UC Santa Barbara, Professor Brokensha published more than a dozen books and monographs, authored over 50 articles and book chapters, and reviewed more than 40 books. His first book, Social Change at Larteh, Ghana, won second place for the Amaury Talbot Prize for best book published annually on West Africa. Professor Brokensha published widely in major journals including American Anthropologist, American Journal of Sociology, Current Anthropology, Human Organization, and American Political Science Review, in addition to a wide range of regional and area studies journals. He also gave numerous lectures throughout his career at institutions in the U.S. and Africa, in addition to garnering several grants from agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the Haynes Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. Professor Brokensha ended his career as an Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Professor Brokensha was also an exceptional teacher, and he was honored with a UC Santa Barbara Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award in 1980. In addition to serving two years as Chair of the Anthropology Department, he also served the department as Graduate Advisor for five years. Professor Brokensha actively served the campus community on various committees, including as Chairman of the Library Committee; member of the African Area Studies Committee; advisor for Education Abroad Programs in Africa; Director of the Social Process Institute; and Director of the University and State Employees Credit Union. Professor Brokensha's impacts on the field of anthropology and our university community were significant, and he will be deeply missed by us all. Our campus flag will be lowered this Wednesday, July 12, in honor of his memory and his many contributions.
Henry T. Yang