L. Keith Brown
L. Keith Brown
Professor of Anthropology and UCIS Research Professor Emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh, I have been conducting ethnographic research in Mizusawa in Northeastern Japan since my 1961-1963 Ph.D. dissertation field work. Research supported by NIMH, NSF, SSRC and Fulbright-Hays has included extended stays in a rural village, a merchant community, and in what used to be the residential neighborhood of the samurai during the castle period and now includes among its residents doctors, dentists, teachers, city office bureaucrats and other salary men. Annual summer visits, the most recent being July-August in 2011, have enabled me to sustain my relationships in all those communities, relationships that frequently have passed on to the second and third generations with the families encountered in the earlier studies.
The three way comparison of the farmer, merchant and former samurai communities enables me to see a rural-urban contrast, along with the contrast between communities dominated by family enterprises (farmers and merchants) and those populated primarily by wage earners (the former samurai neighborhood). The longitudinal aspect of my study during a period of dramatic modernization and globalization enables me to study the changes in family composition and community interaction in three very different settings, all within five miles of one another in Mizusawa.
Most of my teaching career has been at the University of Pittsburgh, where I have been chair of over thirty Ph.D. dissertation committees. I served as Chairman of the Department of Anthropology, and for twelve years as Director of Asian Studies and the National Resource Center in East Asian Studies. I was the founder and Director of the joint University of Pittsburgh-Carnegie Mellon Japanese Science and Technology Management Program. In the year 2000 I received the $5000 Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award.
At the national level I served on the American Advisory Committee of the Japan Foundation, Co-chair of the Joint SSRC-ACLS Committee of Japanese Studies, the Executive Council of Directors of NRC Centers, and numerous other committees. In 1995 I received the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, an Imperial award (medal) from the Japanese government for “outstanding contributions to furthering Japanese Studies and promoting academic exchange between Japan and the United States.”
Photo Credit: 2009, Chet Kincaid