Professor Named Honorary Fellow for Anthropological Research
Kent State University Professor Richard Feinberg from the Department of Anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences has been elected to the status of Honorary Fellow by the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania (ASAO). Feinberg is one of three anthropologists to receive this honor in 2016. Only 25 researchers may be Honorary Fellows of the association at any point in time. Current Honorary Fellows are from all over the world, including the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.
“I’m overwhelmed by this expression of appreciation for my contributions to Pacific research,” Feinberg says. “It’s the highest honor that can be bestowed by those colleagues most familiar with my work, and I’m eternally grateful!”
Feinberg is a leading researcher in the Pacific Islands, having conducted a total of four and a half years of field research in five different locations. Most of his work is with the Polynesians in the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. His research has covered topics from kinship and social organization to religion and more.
“A lot of my work over the last couple decades has focused on indigenous navigation and spatial cognition, particularly how people find their way from one island to another across hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of miles of open sea without instruments, and in most cases get where they planned to go,” Feinberg says.
Feinberg has taught at Kent State since 1974. He has written six books, co-authored one book, edited or co-edited seven books and special issues of journals, authored more than 40 journal articles, written dozens of book chapters, and been published in a variety of popular and academic venues. The Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania considers Feinberg to be one of the top 12 active scholars researching the Pacific Islands.
Before coming to Kent State, Feinberg had an opportunity to work full time in New Zealand, which would have moved him much closer to his research sites. However, he turned it down to stay near his family. Feinberg accepted a job offer at Kent State.
“I liked the people in the department, and I thought that the department had a lot of potential,” Feinberg says. He thought he would only be here a few years, but he ended up settling down with his family and has helped establish Kent State as a leading university for anthropological research.
“ASAO is the most rewarding professional association with which I have been affiliated,” says Feinberg, who has been involved with the association since 1975.