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Seattle University


Excellence Enshrined

Written by Laura Paskin, College of Arts and Sciences
February 4, 2011

President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., will install Associate Professor Ted Fortier as the Reverend Louis Gaffney Chair in the College of Arts and Sciences on Feb. 10.  At the ceremony, Fortier will present “Converting the Black Robes: Native American Contributions to the Jesuits.” 

The Gaffney Chair is awarded every two years to a distinguished member of the Arts and Sciences faculty who is dedicated to promoting issues germane to the Jesuit mission and identity. Fortier was awarded the chair for his work cultural identities of indigenous people throughout the world.  He is a member of the Department of Anthropology, Sociology and Social Work. 

Watch a short video clip of Ted Fortier previewing what he'll be talking about at his installation as the Rev. Louis Gaffney Chair in Arts and Sciences. 

Focusing on spiritual elements, cultural adaptation and historic events, Fortier has conducted field research that addressed cultural memory, resistance, environmental justice, faith and identity. His anthropological studies have involved work with tribes in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska; Mayans in Chiapas, Mexico; and peoples of the First Nations in Canada.   

In addition to his numerous awards and grants for his research and scholarship, students selected Fortier for the Outstanding Faculty Member award in 1999. He currently teaches courses in cultural anthropology, Indians of the Pacific Northwest, psychological anthropology, shamanism, anthropological theory, linguistics, religions of the oppressed, and experiences of the sacred across cultures. He recently published Cultural Memory: Religion, Resistance and Identity (co-authored with Professor Jeanette Rodriguez).  

Fortier received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from Washington State University, Th.M. and M.Div. from the Jesuit School of Theology, M.A. from Gonzaga University, and B.A. from Simon Fraser University.  He joined the College of Arts and Sciences faculty in 1997. In addition to teaching in the Department of Anthropology, Social Work and Sociology, he has served as an adjunct professor in the School of Theology and Ministry.   

The installation ceremony takes place at on Thursday, Feb. 10, at 4 p.m. in Campion Ballroom on the Seattle University campus. A reception immediately follows the ceremony.