Keith H. Basso

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Keith H. Basso
Keith Basso.jpg
Portrait of American Anthropologist Keith H. Basso (1940–2013). Photo courtesy the Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico.
Born(1940-03-15)March 15, 1940
DiedAugust 4, 2013(2013-08-04) (aged 73)
Phoenix, Arizona
NationalityUnited States
Alma materHarvard University (B.A., 1962), Stanford University (Ph.D., 1967)
Known forStudy of language and place names of Western Apache
Spouse(s)Gayle Potter-Basso
AwardsVictor Turner Prize for Ethnographic Writing, 1997
Scientific career
FieldsAnthropology, Linguistics, Native American studies, Linguistic anthropology
InstitutionsUniversity of New Mexico, University of Arizona, Yale University
ThesisHeavy with Hatred: An Ethnographic Study of Western Apache Witchcraft (1967)

Keith Hamilton Basso (March 15, 1940 – August 4, 2013) was a cultural and linguistic anthropologist noted for his study of the Western Apaches, specifically those from the community of Cibecue, Arizona. Basso was professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of New Mexico and earlier taught at the University of Arizona and Yale University.[1][2]

After first studying Apache culture in 1959, Basso completed a bachelor's degree at Harvard University (B.A., 1962) and then took the doctorate at Stanford University (Ph.D., 1967).[3] He was the son of novelist Hamilton Basso.

Basso was awarded the Victor Turner Prize for Ethnographic Writing in 1997 for his ethnography, Wisdom Sits in Places: Landscape and Language Among the Western Apache. The work was also the 1996 Western States Book Award Winner in Creative Nonfiction.[4] In this ethnography, Basso expressed his hope that anthropologists will spend more time investigating how places and spaces are perceived and experienced; for human relationships to geographical places are rich, deeply felt, and profoundly telling.[5]

Basso died from cancer on August 4, 2013, at the age of 73, in Phoenix, Arizona.[3]


Select bibliography[edit]

  • Heavy with Hatred: An Ethnographic Study of Western Apache Witchcraft (Ph.D. thesis, Stanford University, 1967)
  • Western Apache Witchcraft (1969)
  • The Cibecue Apache (1970, 1986)
  • Apachean Culture History and Ethnology, ed. Basso, Keith H, and Opler, Morris E. (1971)
  • Goodwin, Greenville (compiler) (1971). Basso, Keith H (ed.). Western Apache Raiding and Warfare. Tucson, Arizona: University of Arizona Press. ISBN 0816502978. LCCN 73-142255.
  • Meaning in Anthropology, ed. Basso, Keith H, and Selby, Henry A. (1976)
  • Portraits of 'the Whiteman': Linguistic Play and Cultural Symbols among the Western Apache (1979)
  • Western Apache Language and Culture: Essays in Linguistic Anthropology (1992)
  • Wisdom Sits in Places: Landscape and Language among the Western Apache (1996)
  • Senses of Place, ed. Keith H. Basso and Steven Feld (1996)
  • Don’t Let the Sun Step Over You: A White Mountain Apache Family Life, 1860–1975 (2004), an oral history with Eva Tulene Watt

External links[edit]


  1. ^ A community of scholars: faculty and members, 1930-1980, Princeton University, Institute of Advanced Studies, 1980
  2. ^ Supplement to Who's who in America, 44, Marquis Who's Who, 1987, ISBN 9780837971001
  3. ^ a b Cécile R. Ganteaume, "In Memoriam: Keith H. Basso (1940-2013)" National Museum of the American Indian Blog, accessed 10 August 2013
  4. ^ Basso, Keith H (1996). Wisdom Sits in Places: Landscape and Language Among the Western Apache. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. p. 171. ISBN 0-8263-1723-5.
  5. ^ Basso, Keith (1996). Wisdom Sits In Places: Landscape and Language Among the Western Apache. New Mexico: University of New Mexico Press. p. 54.