Elizabeth Colson, American social anthropologist, Died at 99


Elizabeth Florence Colson was born on June 15, 1917, and died on August 3, 2016.

She was an American social anthropologist and professor emerita of anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Elizabeth Colson was best known for the classic long-term study of the Tonga people of the Gwembe Valley in Zambia and Zimbabwe, which she began in 1956 with Thayer Scudder, 11 years after she obtained her doctorate and while Scudder was a second-year graduate student.

Dr. Elizabeth Colson focused her research on the consequences of forced resettlement on culture and social organization, the effects of economic pressure on familial relationships, rituals, religious life, and even drinking patterns.

Colson was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1977 and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1978.

At Radcliffe College, Elizabeth experienced sex-discrimination in academia and would later work to eradicate this discrimination at the University of California.

Her work was based on ethnography and focused on long-term, data supported research.

Elizabeth Colson passed away at 99 years old.