In Memoriam: Professor Emeritus Richard Randolph

August 09, 2018

By Professor Emerita Susan Harding 

We fondly remember Dr. Richard R. Randolph, professor emeritus in the Anthropology Department at UC Santa Cruz.

Richard R. Randolph, professor emeritus in the Anthropology Department at UC Santa Cruz, died on July 30, 2018, at age 83.

Randolph was a member the founding faculty of UCSC in 1965. In addition, he was a founding member of the campus’ first college, Cowell College, and the Anthropology Board of Studies.

He served as the third Provost of Cowell in 1974-77 and chaired the Board of Studies in Anthropology from 1987-90. His leadership and tireless efforts during the late 1980s were crucial to the establishment of the graduate program in anthropology in 1991. He served as the program’s graduate director (on recall a year after he retired) from 1992-95.

Randolph was born in 1935 in San Francisco and graduated from high school in Oroville, California. He attended UC Berkeley, where he majored in anthropology and earned his Ph.D. in 1963. From 1963 to 1965, he was Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Rice University.

Randolph carried out his doctoral research among the Qdiirat Bedouin in Israel. His work focused on Bedouin social structure and the dramatic changes it was undergoing in the mid-20th century, particularly in relation to Israeli land and resettlement policies. He also focused on the meaning of gender differences in Bedouin culture, which he wrote about in a volume he introduced and co-edited with David Schneider and May Diaz, Dialectics and Gender: Anthropological Approaches (1988).

More recently, he carried out a research project on the Americanization of California and the symbolic architecture of the state. He examined conceptions of authority, the law, and the dominance of white, American, largely Protestant values through the architecture of California's county courthouses.

Randolph was a dedicated teacher and mentor of students throughout his time at UCSC. In addition to teaching the introductory course in Anthropology and co-teaching the Cowell College core course for many years, he taught courses on culture theory, ethnography, peoples and cultures of the Middle East, the idea of imagination in Western tradition, and civic authority in California.

In 2004, the Department of Anthropology established the Richard Randolph Award in recognition of his invaluable role as a founding faculty member of the Department and his leadership in initiating the graduate program in anthropology. The Award is given each year for the best graduate student essay based doctoral fieldwork or lab research.

Randolph is survived by his wife, Joan, their children, Matt, Debora, Robert and Laura, and their grandchildren, Kalina and Louis. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to the Richard Randolph Award by clicking here.

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