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Preston Richard, Professor Emeritus

Richard Preston

Professor Emeritus

Emeritus Faculty
Department of Anthropology


Research & Supervisory Interests

I have two concurrent major interests: 1) ethnography and applied research with the Cree people of coastal James Bay; and 2) some theoretical and methodological queries within cultural psychiatry.

My sojourning with the Cree began in 1963, and has continued over the period of a full generation, with most of the fieldwork in one village on the east coast, Waskaganish. Dissertation research was on traditional lore, including shamanism, attitudes, values and world view, and these are continuing interests. In addition, applied research began in the late 1960s, on several topics, with greatest emphasis on the development of more appropriate and successful schooling, especially with regard to curriculum materials. For 12 years I directed a multidisciplinary research program (Technology Assessment in Subarctic Ontario - TASO) that focused on Cree local and regional economic strategies, past, present and future, in the Western James Bay Region.

My interest in cultural psychiatry began in 1960, with the first reading of the work of Edward Sapir, still very clearly remembered. This led to a Master's thesis on Sapir (AA68:1105-1128), followed by several other papers. In the past few years this has broadened to an interest in the intellectual milieu that he was working within, research that he and his associates planned with the goal of a synthesis of (non-doctrinaire) psychiatry and social science. Sapir's death and World War II put the entire scheme into limbo, and I feel a profound challenge to understand and develop its continuing intellectual and practical urgency. This is my major research priority for the next several years.


PhD North Carolina, 1971



1995 Aboriginal Harvesting in the Moose River Basin: a Historical and Contemporary Analysis. Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, 32:1:69-90 (with Robert George and Fikret Berkes)

1991 Co-management: the Evolution of the Theory and Practice of Joint Administration of Living Resources. Alternatives 18:1-4. (with Fikret Berkes and Peter J. George).

1991 Dying and Grieving in Cross-Cultural Perspective: an East Cree Example. In: Counts and Counts (eds.) Coping with the Final Tragedy: Cultural Variations in Grieving and Dying. Baywood Press. Pp. 135-155. (with Sarah C. Preston).

1987 "Going In Between": the Impact of European Technology on the Work Patterns of the West Main Cree of Northern Ontario.The Journal of Economic History 47:447-460. (with Peter J. George).

1986 Sapir's Psychology of Culture Prospectus. In: M. Foster, W. Cowan, and K. Koerner, eds., New Perspectives in Language, Culture, and Personality. Proceedings of the Edward Sapir Centenary Conference. John Benjamins. Pp. 533-551.

1982 The Politics of Community Relocation: An Eastern Cree example. Culture 2:37-49.

1981 East Main Cree. In J. Helm, ed., The Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 6, Subarctic. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Pp. 196-207.