The James Barnett Professorship in Humanistic Anthropology was endowed in 2006 by Professor Dennison Nash for the purpose of supporting “a nationally recognized researcher, scholar, and teacher” who “will have made significant contributions to the field of anthropology.” The position is stipulated as a joint appointment between the Department of Anthropology in CLAS and University of Connecticut Humanities Institute.
Dr. Nash joined UConn in 1957 in what was then the Department of Anthropology and Sociology, and retired in 1991 as Professor Emeritus. It was Dr. Nash’s wish that this professorship be named in honor of the late Dr. James Barnett, a faculty colleague at the University of Connecticut specializing in the history of social thought and the sociology of art and literature.
The Board of Trustees established the James Barnett Professorship on March 26, 2014. Professor Richard Sosis is the first holder of this professorship. Professor Sosis’ research focuses on the anthropology of religion and ritual. To explore these issues, he has conducted ethnographic fieldwork with remote cooperative fishers in the Federated States of Micronesia and various secular and religious communities throughout Israel.