James H. Vaughan

Professor Emeritus of Anthropology

BA, Mathematics, The University of the South, 1950
MA, Sociology, The University of North Carolina, 1952
PhD, Anthropology Northwestern University, 1960

Over the years, I find that anthropological theories come and go; the only thing that endures is ethnography. The only conclusions which stand are those based upon verifiable data. Consequently, I hold field work to be the essential part of social or cultural anthropology. It is our greatest contribution to human understanding.

My field experience has led me to believe that anthropology has never reached a more important conclusion than Edward Sapir’s succinct statement, “The worlds in which different societies live are distinct worlds not the same world with different labels attached.” I truly wish that I had required every student I taught to memorize that line (and yes, I know that memorization is a "bad thing.")

If the leaders of the world knew and understood that statement the world would be a safer and better place.

James H. Vaughan died in 2018.