Department of Anthropology

In Memory of Dr. Brian Stross

Fri, April 18, 2014
In Memory of Dr. Brian Stross

Professor Brian Stross passed away Thursday, April 17, 2014, after a long illness, although he remained active as a teacher and researcher until the last few weeks.

Professor Stross received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley in 1969.  He began teaching at the University of Texas the same year, and remained at UT his entire career.  A Linguistic Anthropologist, Professor Stross studied language use of the Tzeltal Maya, along with many other groups.  His interests extended to the iconography and epigraphy of the Classic Maya, and his knowledge of Mesoamerican languages was extensive.  He was also interested in foodways, feasting, and the language systems that applied to foods.  His most recent book, Lightning in the Andes and Mesoamerica: Pre-Columbian, Colonial, and Contemporary Perspectives, was published less than a year ago (with John E. Staller, Oxford University Press).

Professor Stross worked with many generations of UT students, supervising 23 Dissertations over his 45-year career.  He participated in the doctoral defense of the last of these students (Dr. Amber O’Connor) just weeks ago.  He supervised or served on the Ph.D., Masters, or Honors Thesis committees of literally hundreds of students.

Brian Stross was a gentle and generous man with enormous curiosity and a singular dedication to his students.  He was a warm and gracious colleague to generations of junior professors, and as the senior member of our faculty, a wise and steadying presence.  He will be greatly missed.


Brian and others will be recognized at the UT Remembers service on May 2nd, which honors our UT colleagues who have passed away in the previous year. The UT Remembers website, with information on the schedule of events, parking, and other details, can be reached here: There's also the opportunity to share written memories about Brian, which would be added to the University's UT Remembers archive. The following link provides details on how to share your memories:

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