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Message on Nathan Altshuler

Provost Michael R. Halleran sent the following message to the campus community on Jan. 18, 2017 - Ed.

Dear colleagues,

I write to share the news that Nathan Altshuler, Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus and founder of the W&M Department of Anthropology, died January 8, 2017.  

Professor Altshuler was born October 30, 1925, in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Aaron and Sylvia Altshuler.  A veteran of World War II, he served in the 86th Division, the Blackhawks, in both Europe and the Pacific.  He earned a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. from Harvard University.  During his career as an anthropologist, he conducted field work in the Arctic/Sub-Arctic, the Amazon, Africa and Asia.  With his colleagues V. Sutlive and M. Zamora, he founded the quarterly journal Studies in Third World Societies.

His honors at the College of William & Mary included the Alumni Research Award, Student Association Faculty Award, Phi Beta Kappa Advancement of Scholarship Award and election to Phi Beta Kappa from the faculty.  He was a member of the American Anthropology Association, Turkish Studies Association and Middle East Studies Association, and a Fellow of the Explorers Club.  Upon his retirement, Professor Altshuler’s colleagues and students established the Nathan Altshuler Field Research Scholarship.  He took great pleasure in the accomplishments of his students.

His daughter Anthea predeceased him.  He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Meredith, and his daughters Alyssa Altshuler of Alexandria, Virginia, and Linnea Altshuler Renton and son-in-law Andrew Renton of Cardiff, Wales.  Contributions can be made to Heifer International, 1 World Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72202 ( or Polar Bears International, PO Box 3008, Bozeman, MT 59772 (  Services will be private.