M. G. Smith
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|Michael Garfield Smith|
|Born||18 August 1921|
|Died||5 January 1993(aged 71)|
University College, London (Ph.D in social anthropology)
|Employer||Franklin M. Crosby Professor Emeritus of the Human Environment, Yale University
Senior Research Fellow, Research Institute for the Study of Man, and Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of the West Indies
Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles
Professor and Head of the Department of Anthropology, University College, London
|Known for||Poet and social anthropologist|
|Spouse(s)||Mary F. Smith (née Morrison)|
|Awards||Wellcome Medal for Anthropological Research
Curle Bequest Essay Prize
Amaury Book Prize (Royal Anthropological Institute)
Order of Merit (Jamaica 1972)
Smith was the son of a descendant of English army officers and merchants, and his mother was a "coloured" nurse who died in childbirth. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Smith attended Jamaica College, one of the island's leading secondary schools, where he developed a passion for poetry. In the early 1940s he left the island on scholarship to study English Literature at McGill University in Canada. Joining the Canadian army during the war, he served briefly on the frontline in Europe. After being demobilized he enrolled at University College, London, which awarded him the Ph.D in social anthropology. He subsequently carried out extensive field research in Northern Nigeria, Jamaica, Grenada, and Carriacou.
Smith served as Franklin M. Crosby Professor Emeritus of the Human Environment at Yale University. He also served as Senior Research Fellow at the Research Institute for the Study of Man, and the Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of the West Indies (Jamaica); Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles; and as Professor and Head of the Department of Anthropology, University College, London, where he was one of the first professors of colour in Anthropology.
Smith's poetry was published in regional journals and literary magazines in the 1950s and 1960s and has been widely anthologised. It has been noted: "He often decorates his work with classical references and titles, although his subjects are usually West Indian." His patriotic poem "I Saw My Land in the Morning" has also been set to music.
A prolific writer, Smith authored or co-authored numerous books and articles on theory, on Northern Nigeria, and on the West Indies.
- Baba of Karo (1954)
- Government in Zazzau, 1800-1950 (1960)
- West Indian Family Structure (1962)
- Kinship and Community in Carriacou (1962),
- Dark Puritan (1963)
- The Plural Society in the British West Indies (1965)
- Stratification in Grenada (1965)
- Pluralism in Africa (1969)
- Corporations and Society: The Social Anthropology of Collective Action (1974)
- The Affairs of Daura (1978)
- Pluralism, Politics and Ideology in the Creole Caribbean (1991)
- Government in Kano, 1350-1950 (1997)
- The Study of Social Structure, (1998)
- Education and Society in the Creole Caribbean (2008 - posthumously by the Comitas Institute for Anthropological Study
Douglas Hall, A Man Divided: Michael Garfield Smith - Jamaican Poet and Anthropologist 1921 - 1993, The Press UWI Biography series, 1997.
Among his awards are the Wellcome Medal for Anthropological Research, the Curle Bequest Essay Prize, and the Amaury Book Prize from the Royal Anthropological Institute. In 1972, Jamaica bestowed upon him its Order of Merit (OM).
- Michael Hughes, A Companion to West Indian Literature, Collins, 1979, pp. 122-23.
- Jamaica Today.
- Philip Burnham, "Obituary: Professor M. G. Smith", The Independent, 9 January 1993.
- Anthropology and Autobiography by Judith Okely, Helen Callaway (eds), Routledge, 1992, pp. 39-40.
- Orville Plummer, "Time for Jamaica’s 'Velvet Revolution'”, Abeng News Magazine, 15 May 2010.
- "I Saw My Land in the Morning", Words by M.G. Smith/ Music by Mappletoft Poulle, Jamaican Culture, 20 March 2004.