Fire making with fire drill.
Kalahari researchers at U of T
By Kim Luke
From 1963 to 1976, U of T anthropologist Richard Lee and a team of researchers studied the Ju/hoansi!Kung (formerly known colloquially as Bushmen) of the Kalahari, one of the last hunting and gathering societies in the world.
The project sought to understand the interplay between genetic and environmental factors in shaping humankind. Their collective work gave rise to insights about diverse topics from child care to nutrition.
“The overall goal of the study has been to develop as complete a picture as possible of the hunting and gathering way of life, an adaptation that was, until 10,000 years ago, a human universal,” said Lee. His book, The !Kung San, was named one of the 100 most important works of science of the 20th century by American Scientist and the knowledge generated by the Kalahari project continues to inform and stimulate new research directions today.
On Sunday, June 24, many of the original fieldworkers from this ground-breaking interdisciplinary project will gather for the first time in nearly 40 years to discuss the project’s legacy and its continuing impact.
“It is timely that this group should be convened to reflect and offer insights,” says Janice Boddy, chair of U of T’s Department of Anthropology. “The world that they documented is gone, but their writings and images are vivid. This is a unique opportunity for students and scholars to see and hear the people about whom they have read and decide for themselves what relevance their fieldwork from many years ago may hold for future research.”
The photos in this gallery and the cutlines that accompany them comprise a small selection of the images preserved by Richard Lee. You can view more photos here.