Robert Brightman named to new chair in American Indian studies

Robert Brightman '73 has been named to the recently established Ruth C. Greenberg Chair in American Indian Studies. The chair, which will allow Brightman to conduct more research and often share his projects with students, was endowed by a gift from Ruth Cooperman Greenberg, of Los Angeles, California, who gave a trust of $1,250,000 to the college.

Greenberg, a well-known basketmaker, has contributed significantly to the preservation of American Indian culture, most notably through the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. She is the mother of trustee Dan Greenberg '62.

A member of Reed's anthropology department since 1989, Robert Brightman is the author of several books on American Indian culture and has taught courses at Reed on a wide variety of anthropological and linguistic subjects. Honors include a Reed College Vollum Senior Sabbatical Fellowship in 1996-97 and a National Endowment for the Human-ities Fellowship for College Teachers, 1991-93. The subject of American Indians, said Brightman, "is central to modern anthropology, and student interest in it is very high at Reed."

Reed College's powerful legacy in anthropology and in studies of North American Indian societies goes back to the work of Franz Boas, a German immigrant who had worked with Eskimos in Baffinland and Northwest Coast Indians in British Columbia; he went on to establish the first anthropology doctoral program in the nation at Columbia University. Alexander Goldenweiser and Morris Opler, early members of Reed's anthropology department, both studied with Boas, and David French, who taught at Reed from 1948 to 1988, was a student of Opler's. French undertook research with the Indians of Oregon's Warm Springs reservation, with language and linguistics his major focus. He was Brightman's thesis adviser at Reed.

"Personally," said Brightman, "I am proud to be appointed to a named chair whose intellectual genealogy reaches back through such noted Reed anthropology faculty members as David and Katherine French and Morris Opler to the legendary Alexander Goldenweiser."

Brightman has taught courses at Reed on a wide variety of anthropological and linguistic subjects, including North American Indians, theories of culture, history of anthro-pology, Algonquian linguistics, language and culture, discourse analysis, myth and narrative, the anthropological field experience, the anthropology of gender, and hunter-gatherer societies. He is a member of the American Anthropological Association and the Linguistic Society of America, among many other professional associations.

Brightman's 1973 senior thesis at Reed College was The Continuing Adventures of Raven and Coyote: A Comparative Analysis of North American Indian Transformer Myths.


Reed awarded three national grants

Reed recently received three prestigious technology grants totaling more than $1,100,000. The grants, from the National Science Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Kresge Foundation, will be used to integrate technology for the library and the registrar's office, purchase scientific equipment, and create a peer mentoring program.

"It is a remarkable testimony to Reed that we have been awarded these three important grants," said Reed president Steven Koblik. "This achievement reflects Reed's high standards in the sciences, its robust research program, and its longtime commitment to technology."

A $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation will be used to create a peer mentoring program in the departments of biology, chemistry, physics, and psychology. The NSF, an independent U.S. government agency, awards grants to academic institutions that have demonstrated exceptional leadership, innovation, and achievement in the integration of research and education.

"This is a great honor for Reed College," said Reed biology professor Peter Russell. "Reed science programs have had a long tradition of research- oriented curricula and the involvement of undergraduates in faculty research projects. This award acknowledges our leadership in this area."



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