Mitchell, J. Clyde, 1918-1995

by Susan J. Smith FBA

08 Apr 2019
Number of pages
41 (pages 93-133)

J. Clyde Mitchell was one of the finest anthropologists of his generation. An early recruit to the Rhodes-Livingstone Institute, he became its fourth Director in 1952, overseeing a remarkably productive period and a tum to urban research. An advocate for case and situational analysis, he also had a feeling for numbers that was unique for the time. His anthropological ‘standards’ include The Yao Village and The Kalela Dance (both published in 1956), while a fascination with human relations and agency made him a pioneer of social network analysis. From 1955, Mitchell occupied the first Chair in African Studies at the University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (now the University of Zimbabwe). A decade later, the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in Southern Rhodesia propelled him to the UK, where he renewed his association with ‘The Manchester School’, before completing his career in Oxford, where he was the first anthropologist elected to the fellowship at Nuffield College.

Posted to Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the British Academy, XVIII

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