Richard Lee

Richard Borshay Lee (B.A. 1959 and M.A. 1961 Toronto; Ph.D. 1965 University of California, Berkeley) is a Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Toronto. He holds a cross-appointment at the Centre for International Health and in the Human Biology Program at UofT. He is also a senior fellow of New College. He has held academic appointments at Harvard (1963-70), Rutgers (1970-72), and Columbia Universities (1980), and research positions at Stanford (1961-62), Australian National University (1995), and Kyoto University (2001). Since his days as a graduate student, Richard has made over twenty research trips to Africa.

His research interests include human rights and indigenous peoples, ecology and history, the peoples and cultures of Africa, and the critical medical anthropology of HIV/AIDS. He is internationally known for his ethnographic studies, starting in 1963, of hunting and gathering societies, particularly the Ju/'hoansi-!Kung San of Botswana. His books include Man the Hunter (1968), Kalahari Hunter-Gatherers (1976), Politics and History in Band Societies (1982), The Dobe Ju/'hoansi (Third Edition, 2003), and Cambridge Encyclopedia of Hunters and Gatherers (1999). He is a co-author of Cultural Anthropology (Second Canadian Edition, 2009). His 1979 book, The !Kung San: Men, Women and Work in a Foraging Society was cited by American Scientist (Fall 1999) on its list of the 100 most important works in science of the 20th century.

Richard Lee has long advocated that anthropology as a discipline must engage with issues of social justice. Following in the tradition of scholar-activism, he has been involved in such issues as the Anti-Apartheid and African liberation movements, and the campaign for peace and justice in the Middle East.

Seeing the African AIDS epidemic as a social and political issue, Lee has focused much of his energies since 1996 in training and capacity-building programs in southern Africa to fight AIDS more effectively. Over 100 students from Namibia and Botswana and 90 Canadian students have been involved in workshops and internships on the social and cultural aspects of HIV/AIDS.

A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and an Honorary Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as past-president of the Canadian Anthropology Society, Lee holds honorary doctorates from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and Guelph University for his research and advocacy on behalf of indigenous peoples.

A resident of Toronto, Richard Lee is married to Dr. Harriet Rosenberg, a medical anthropology professor at York University. He is the father of two sons, David, a doctoral student at the University of South Florida, and Lucah, an undergraduate at the University of Toronto, and a daughter, Miriam, a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford University. His hobbies include cycling, kayaking, canoeing, and photography.

Annick Press books
by Richard Lee