Brigitte Jordan

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Brigitte Jordan
Born
Passau, Germany
Died(2016-05-24)May 24, 2016
La Honda, California
NationalityGerman American
Education
  • PhD at the University of California
  • MA in 1971 from Sacramento State College
Occupation
  • Professor at Michigan State University
  • Principal Scientist at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center
  • Senior Research Scientist at the Institute for Research on Learning
  • Consultant at the Nissan Research Center in Silicon Valley
Years active1970-2015
Known forEthnographic Research in Anthropology of Reproduction
Notable work
Birth in Four Cultures
FamilyRobert Irwin (husband)
Awards
  • Margaret Mead Award of the American Anthropological Association
  • Excellence in Science and Technology Award from the Xerox Corporation

Brigitte Jordan was a German-American professor, scientist, and consultant who was described as the midwife to the "Anthropology of Birth".[1] She attended Sacramento State College where she received her bachelor's and master's degrees, and later attended the University of California, Irvine where she completed her PhD.[2]

Early life[edit]

Brigitte "Gitti" Jordan was born in Passau, Germany, in 1937.[3] Her parents were Gertrude Frank Muller, who died in 1944 when Jordan was seven, and Josef Karl Muller. After marrying Richard Jordan, an American soldier stationed in Germany, Jordan came to the United States. There, she gave birth to three children, and later divorced and married Robert Irwin.[4] Jordan spent much of her early career studying obstetrical anthropology and cross-cultural birth practices, and has been praised by anthropologist Rayna Rapp for her authoritative knowledge of childbirth. Rapp stated: "Jordan uses her exquisite sense of description to birth a theoretical framework." [5] Jordan's theoretical concept of authoritative knowledge has been employed by countless scholars to account for the subsuming of some ways of knowing by others and also to show how knowledge can be laterally distributed. [6]

Career and later life[edit]

Jordan contributed to the field of anthropology by opening her own consulting practice where she held appointments as the Principal Scientist at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center and as Senior Research Scientist at the Institute for Research on Learning. This led to her receiving the Excellence in Science and Technology Award from the Xerox Corporation for innovative work.[7]

Jordan's research on the relationship between humans and technology has influenced organizations outside of the field of anthropology, such as the Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (SIGCHI).[8] She is also credited with the development of corporate anthropology.[4]

Jordan died of pancreatic cancer in her home on May 24, 2016. She lived to be 78, leaving behind her husband, three children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.[9][2][10][3] Although Jordan had pancreatic cancer, she made it known to others that she did not want to be treated as incapable because of her condition. She refused medication and remained mentally and intellectually active until the end of her life.[10] She continued to live life in a normalized manner, and helped form her obituary.[7]

Career honors[edit]

Jordan received the Margaret Mead Award in 1980 for her 1978 book Birth in Four Cultures: A Crosscultural Investigation of Childbirth in Yucatan, Holland, Sweden, and the United States.[11] Her work is credited with inspiring a range of responses within the field of reproductive anthropology that integrated her approaches to her examinations of the social, cultural and biological implications of birth around the world.[12] She is known for showing how knowledge can be "laterally distributed," shared by all, and understood by all.[3]

In 2015, Jordan was inducted into the American Anthropological Association's (AAA) Distinguished Member program which honors members who have loyally supported the Association for 50 years or more.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Davis-Floyd, Robbie E.; Sargent, Carolyn F. (1997). Childbirth and Authoritative Knowledge: Cross-Cultural Perspectives. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. v. ISBN 0520207858.
  2. ^ a b "Remembering Brigitte Jordan - EPIC". EPIC. 2016-05-26. Archived from the original on 2017-02-11. Retrieved 2017-02-02.
  3. ^ a b c "Remembering Brigitte Jordan - EPIC". EPIC. 2016-05-26. Archived from the original on 2017-02-11. Retrieved 2017-02-05.
  4. ^ a b "Brigitte (Gitti) Jordan | Anthropology-News". www.anthropology-news.org. Archived from the original on 2017-02-11. Retrieved 2017-02-08.
  5. ^ Sargent, Robbie E. David-Floyd and Carolyn (1997). Childbirth and Authoritative Knowledge: Cross-Cultural Perspectives. University of California Press. pp. Introduction. ISBN 9780520918733.
  6. ^ "Remembering Brigitte Jordan - EPIC". EPIC. 2016-05-26. Retrieved 2018-06-14.
  7. ^ a b "Brigitte Jordan Home Page". www.lifescapes.org. Archived from the original on 2016-12-20. Retrieved 2017-02-07.
  8. ^ Elizabeth Churchill, Melissa Cefkin, Bob Irwin, Robbie Floyd, Lucy Suchman, Jeanette Blomberg, Susan Stucky (2016-05-24). "Brigitte (Gitti) Jordan: In memoriam | ACM Interactions". Interactions.acm.org. Archived from the original on 2017-02-19. Retrieved 2017-06-03.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ "Brigitte (Gitti) Jordan | Anthropology-News". www.anthropology-news.org. Archived from the original on 2017-02-11. Retrieved 2017-02-09.
  10. ^ a b "Brigitte Jordan Home Page". www.lifescapes.org. Archived from the original on 2017-04-22. Retrieved 2017-02-02.
  11. ^ Jordan, Brigitte (1978). Birth in Four Cultures: A Crosscultural Investigation of Childbirth in Yucatan, Holland, Sweden, and the United States (1st ed.). Eden Press Women's Publication: Montreal.
  12. ^ Van Hollen, Carice (1994). "Perspectives on the Anthropology of Birth". Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry. 18: 501. Archived from the original on 2017-02-11 – via ResearchGate.
  13. ^ "Distinguished Members - Connect with AAA". www.americananthro.org. Archived from the original on 2017-02-19. Retrieved 2017-02-07.