Neil Smith, 1954-2012

September 30, 2012

Neil Smith passed away in the early hours of Saturday, September 29. As is true for many members of the Society for the Anthropology of North America (SANA), for me this is a deeply personal loss, as Neil was my mentor, advisor and friend. But it is also a great loss for critical and politically engaged scholarship of North America. For many of us, Neil’s brilliant and original insights into the way capitalism and power structured the production of space were profoundly important, even foundational. I know my own scholarship would not have been possible without Neil’s before it. Moreover, Neil nurtured a generation of critical scholars of North America, including both anthropologists and non-anthropologists whose work has contributed much to our discipline. Neil engaged with political struggles of many sorts throughout his career, displaying an uncanny ability to translate his theoretical insights into the language of everyday politics and activism. Finally, Neil was a person of great generosity, good humor, and conviviality. In many ways, Neil typified the values of critical scholarship, political engagement, and generous mentorship that makes SANA what it is.

While plans to commemorate Neil soon be underway, for now please join me in offering condolences to Neil’s family, colleagues, friends, and loved ones.

With deep sorrow,
Julian Brash
President, Society for the Anthropology of North America

Celebration of the Life of Neil Smith at the AAA in San Francisco (pdf) ยป