Joan R. Rayfield
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Joan R. Rayfield

Professor Emeritus



Joan R. Rayfield, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at York University, was born in England on 26 February 1919. After completing her B.A. at the University of London (1949), she moved to Canada and completed an M.A. in Anthropology at the University of Toronto (1955). She conducted PhD research at the University of California (Los Angeles) and earned the George Baker Award for her fieldwork in 1958. Rayfield began her teaching career as Professor of Anthropology at Goddard College, Vermont (1959-1961). She taught at California State University, Northridge as an Assistant, then Associate Professor of Anthropology until 1967 when she returned to Canada and joined York University where she remained until her retirement in 1986. She published "The languages of a bilingual community" in 1970 and is responsible for the translation of Jacques Maquet's "The black civilization of Africa" and "Africanicity." She is widely published in scholarly journals. He work has appeared in such publications as "Explorations," "American anthropologist," "The international journal of comparative sociology," "Africa," "Philosophy of the social sciences," "The Western Canadian journal of anthropology," "Into the 80's" and "African Journal." She is well respected for her expertise in linguistic anthropology, structuralism, oral narrative and the anthropology of the arts with extensive knowledge of Africa and francophone Africa in particular. The final years of her university career were dedicated to the study and promotion of African film. She attended FESPACO, the African film festival, in Burkina Faso in 1985 and again in 1989. Joan Rayfield died on 8 May 2001 in Burlington, Ontario.

This award was established by the Department of Anthropology in memory of our colleagues John A. Price and Joan Rayfield. It will be awarded annually to M.A. students in the Graduate Program in Social Anthropology on the basis of merit of a field research proposal.


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