10 Things You May Not Know About Dr. Michael Murphy

Dr. Michael Murphy & his longtime collaborator, Dr. Juan Carlos Gonzalez Faraco
Dr. Michael Murphy & his longtime collaborator, Dr. Juan Carlos Gonzalez Faraco

We are all chagrined by the retirement of Dr. Michael Murphy. Dr. Murphy, who is now Professor Emeritus as of the end of the fall 2015 semester, leaves an indelible stamp on our department. As professor and chair, Michael Murphy provided a firm and friendly rudder in guiding the development of the Anthropology Department over many years. We will write a more in depth piece next issue on Michael’s career and legacy and share photos from his January retirement party. Before he could completely leave the world of academic service, behind, we thought we should grab him in parting for a “10 Things You May Not Know” column for the newsletter he edited the first issue of in 2003. Michael regaled us all with many fascinating stories over the years, so coming up with things we might not know was challenging for him.

  1. “I spent a lot of time as a child in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains and the Mohave desert. My most vivid childhood recollection is of being ‘chased’ by a snake on my grandfather’s ranch. It was probably a red racer (Coluber constrictor) and, more than 60 years later, it still visits me occasionally in dreams.
  2. My first paid job for corporate America was working in a California grape packing shed between Bakersfield and Delano when I was fifteen and sixteen. An early eye-opener about our economic system, my understanding of the experience was enhanced a year later when Cesar Chavez’s United Farm Workers movement gradually worked its way south to the vineyards surrounding my former place of employment.
  3. The first anthropology book I ever read was A.L. Kroeber’s Handbook of the Indians of California. For some long-forgotten reason, the Baker Street Library would not allow a 12-year-old to check it out, so I had to read it, bit by bit, in situ.
  4. My first course in cultural anthropology at UCSB was taught by the great archaeologist, Jim Deetz. My first course in archaeology was conducted by Chris Peebles of Moundville fame when he was a grad student.
  5. While a grad student at UCSD in the 1970s, for five years I loved with an extraordinary ensemble of students and others in “Seacliff,” the third oldest dwelling in La Jolla: solid redwood interior walls, magnificent views of the ocean located across the street, $50 per month.
  6. For over 30 years I have collaborated with my great friend Juan Carlos Gonzalez Faraco on work in southern Spain. As far as I can tell, this by far is the longest international collaboration between ethnographers of Spain. Our very first publication was co-authored with Jim Bindon and our most recent work together is as co-authors on a paper with Bill Dressler.
  7. I attended what was billed in Santa Barbara as Santana’s “first concert outside of the San Francisco Bay Area.”
  8. Both long-time department member, Allen Maxwell, and I were quite independently admonished by Margaret Mead for not having pen and notebook on our persons at all times. I wonder how many others got chewed out by Maggie for the same reason.
  9. My beard was once bright red.
  10. Most of you who know me, know that I definitely “married up.” You just don’t know how VERY high up I married! Thanks, Milady!”

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