1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Virginia Young

Lecturer, Emerita

Ph.D. Columbia University 1953

1926 - 2014

Modern cultures have been my subject, first in the enclave community of Chinatown, New York, second in the African American sector of a southern U.S. town, next in a Windward Island Caribbean nation, and in the histories and fictional works of Asian Americans. My theoretical frameworks have been political organization in Chinatown, socialization in African American groups, relations of individual to the polity in the Caribbean, and intergenerational structures of Asian Americans.  These frameworks have been used to focus on forms of individual identity that occur within different cultures. While I was taught a deterministic view of culture by my three very different principal professors, Ruth Benedict, Alfred Kroeber and Julian Steward, I moved toward a much less deterministic view because Chinese and African Americans demonstrated clearly wide variation in individual adaptations to cultural systems. Since retiring from teaching I have written a monograph on Ruth Benedict's thought in the latter part of her career, drawing on her published and unpublished work and on the class lecture notes of four of her students. My study of her late work will be accompanied by texts of five of her courses which I have compiled for a volume, near completion, for the University of Nebraska Press.


Plural societies, biculturalism, Southeast Asian Chinese, Caribbean, Asian America, history of anthropology.


In Memoriam

J. Christopher Crocker
Professor, Emeritus
James Deetz
Professor, Emeritus
Floyd Nelson House
First Chair (Anthropology & Sociology)
Virginia D. Hymes
Lecturer, Emerita
Dell H. Hymes
Commonwealth Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus
Nancy J. Martin-Perdue
Scholar in Residence, Emerita
Charles L. Perdue, Jr.
Professor, Emeritus
Edith Turner
Lecturer Emerita
Victor W. Turner
William R. Kenan Professor of Anthropology and Religion
Roy Wagner
Edward H. Winter
Professor, Emeritus
Virginia Young
Lecturer, Emerita