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Advocate for women in anthropology dies

By Stephanie Schwartz
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday December 10, 2002

Carol Kramer, the first woman professor in UA's anthropology department, was known for her dedication to students, research

The first female professor hired in the anthropology department at the UA died last Tuesday.

Professor Carol Kramer, a renowned researcher and advocate for women in the field of anthropology, died at 59.

"She represented herself as someone who was a pioneer in areas where women were only beginning to be prominent," associate anthropology professor Suzanne Fish said. "She was very important as a role model for women students."

Kramer also worked hard to help many of her students find jobs after graduation, anthropology professor Barbara Mills said.

"She mothered many students through their doctoral dissertations at the UA," said Raymond Thompson, director emeritus for the Arizona State Museum.

Kramer came to the UA as a visiting professor in 1986. The university hired her permanently in 1990.

Colleagues remember her for her dry sense of humor and sharp wit, Fish said.

"It's quite remarkable how her death has occasioned so many people to get in touch with the department," Fish said. "She has a huge network of friends and professional contacts."

Kramer dedicated much of her life to her research and, especially, teaching. She was loved by her students and, in turn, they found her incredibly accessible, Mills said.

Kramer was born in New York City in 1943. Her father was a poet and professor at Dowling College in Long Island, where her mother was a social worker.

Kramer attended the High School of Music and Art in New York City and went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree from the City College of New York in 1964.

She attended the Department of Oriental and Civil Languages and Anthropology at the University of Chicago from 1964 to 1965. She then transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, where she received her Ph.D. in anthropology in 1971.

Kramer taught at Queens College and Lehman College, both part of the City University of New York, and Yale, before coming to the UA.

She did research as a Middle Eastern archeologist, working in Turkey, India, Iran and Guatemala.

Kramer studied the contemporary behavior patterns of different cultures. She examined settlement and household patterns by finding and examining the remains of dwellings and broken pottery, looking for hints that could be used to interpret the past.

Kramer edited four books on ethnoarcheology and has a lengthy bibliography for articles on the subject, Thompson said.

"She was one of the leading lights in ethnoarcheology," Thompson said.

Kramer received the Squeaky Wheel award in 1999 from the Council for the Status of Women and Anthropology. In 1994, she gave the distinguished lecture to the American Archeological Association.

Kramer's success in ethno archaeology gained her a great deal of respect and recognition, Thompson said.

Kramer is survived by her sister, Laura, a sociologist at Montclair State University, and her two nieces.


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