George Armelagos


University of Michigan, B.A. Degree, 1958
University of Michigan Medical School, 1958-1959
University of Michigan –Rackham Graduate School, 1959-1960
University of Colorado, M.A. Degree, 1963; Ph.D. Degree 1968

I was fortunate that when I arrived at the University of Michigan, my olderJack Kelso brother Jim was in Law School. I frequently met him and his friends at the Michigan Union for lunch, coffee are just to talk. One of his friends was Jack Kelso who was a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology. Jack had arrived from Northern Illinois University where he had met and was mentored by James "Doc" Martin, an historian who was a authority on anarchy. My brother and Martin were friends and when Jack arrived in Ann Arbor he soon met Jim. I soon met Jack and these events changed my life. It was the beginning of a fifty year involvement with anthropology.

I was soon taking classes in anthropology and doing research with physical anthropologists. Michigan's most renowned and most controversial anthropologist was Leslie A. White. White was an incredible presence in the Leslie Whiteclassroom and I found him to be an exciting teacher. His physical presence belied this description. He was physically small and dressed very conservatively (He said that if you had radical ideas, you had to present them in a quiet manner). It is interesting that White who "held biology constant" in his analysis of culture would have such an influence on Jack Kelso and other biological anthropologist who ultimately became proponents of a biocultral approach. There were major force that were promoting systematic biocultural analysis. Fred Thieme and James Sphuler and later Frank Livingstone were biological anthropologist in the Department that shaped the future of a biocultural approach. In addition, Marston Bates in Zoology encouraged a biocultural approach to understanding human variation.

There were few undergraduate anthropology majors at Michigan. As a sophmore I was taking graduate/undergraduate classes from White and such stellar anthropologist such as Elman Service, Marshall Sahlins, James B. Griffin, William Schorger, Albert Spaulding and David Aberle. Graduate students included Kelso, Mark Papworth, Lewis Binford, John Buettner-Janusch, Charlotte Otten, Audrey Smedley, and David Kaplan.