On losing Sol Tax

mike salovesh (T20MXS1@MVS.CSO.NIU.EDU)
Sun, 8 Jan 1995 02:12:00 CST

The news forwarded by Mike Lieber is truly sad:
Finally, and sadly, while we're on the subject of applying anthropology, I have
to tell you all that Sol Tax died this past Wednesday. We don't see many like
him, who spent his life living and breathing anthropology.

Mike Lieber

Sol Tax's gifts lay in his human qualities, not in his anthropology
as such. He had a genius for bringing others together to advance
anthropology. Witness just an abbreviated list of what happened
because Sol made them possible:

The "Heritage of Conquest" symposium that set the course of
social anthropology in Mesoamerica for years to come.

The great "Anthropology Today" conference. Even though Alfred
Louis Kroeber appears as editor of the epochal volume that came
out of the conference, Sol's touch is visible throughout (much
beyond the volume of discussions he edited).

The remaking of American Anthropologist in his years as editor.

The highly influential Darwin Centennial conference at Chicago.

The creation of Current Anthropology, particularly Sol's invention
of "CA Star" treatment. That idea, so obvious once Sol came up
with it, has been copied again and again--to the great benefit of
scholarly discourse everywhere.

The legendary IXth International Congress of Anthropological
and Ethnological Sciences in Chicago.

I said this was to be an abbreviated list, but look at it! Wow.

Sol's concern for others, and for the ethics of anthropological
research, was way ahead of his times. "Action anthropology", in his
mold, is something we seem to reinvent every decade--but the Fox
project stands as a model I think we should emulate for a long
time to come.

My heart goes out to Sol's whole family -- and to anthropology,
his other family. We have suffered a great loss.

-- mike salovesh <salovesh@niu.edu>