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ANTHROPOLOGIST RECEIVES HONOR
Anthropology Professor John Baker, the 11th recipient of Moorpark College’s Distinguished Faculty Chair DFC award, was honored at Moorpark College today. Criteria for the DFC award are excellence in teaching as well as service to the college and community.
Potential recipients for the DFC award are nominated by a faculty member and all nominations are voted on by former award holders and members of the Academic Senate. Each year the Moorpark College Foundation inaugurates a $500 scholarship to honor the DFC. Baker will establish his scholarship's criteria and it will be awarded for the first time in May, 2008.
Baker was nominated based on the following qualifications, said Rolland Petrello an officer with the Academic Senate. “He is a nationally recognized authority in the field of anthropology, has been published in 40 academic journals on the subject of consciousness and culture, sits on the executive board of several Anthropological Associations and is the President of the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness.”
Baker who is fluent in German, has translated numerous scholarly articles for German universities and he is the co-author of a forthcoming book on the anthropology of religion
Supernatural as Natural: A Bicultural Approach to the Study of Religion
. Prentice-Hall is the publisher.
Along with the honor of being named DFC, Baker was required to give a lecture to 300 college faculty and staff who convened for the start of the semester briefing, called Flex Day.
Baker’s talk was about the cultural changes that erupted in 1967, the year that Moorpark College opened, and if society learned anything from that cultural eruption.
Baker highlighted 1967 events including: the summer of love and the hippie movement to question authority and reject consumerism; the Vietnam war protests which were based on the belief that the war lacked clear objectives and an understanding of the culture; and a series of major oil spills off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts that led to the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Baker said today, “we have nearly doubled out world population and the planet can not support the level of consumerism that America enjoys. We need to stop driving our living rooms around.”
He let the audience decide for themselves if the lessons of Vietnam have been ignored by the current administration with regard to Iraq.
Baker hopes the planet will be in good shape for another 40 years, he said, but that can only happen if we learn a little bit from the movements of the 60s and if we don’t let the mistakes of the past get replayed in the future.
“So when you start teaching next week, please help your students see the big picture. They are the future. Let's help them learn from our history,” he said.
Baker has a B.A. from Pepperdine University. While an undergraduate, he participated in a study abroad program that provided him with his first in-depth exposure to a foreign culture. “Since that time, I have been fascinated with the ways in which cultures shape their members and the ways in which each person in turn shapes his or her culture.” This interest eventually led him to return to Germany to study anthropology. He earned his doctoral degree from the University of Hamburg in 1989. That same year, he returned to the U.S. and was hired as an adjunct faculty member of Moorpark College. He became a full-time instructor of anthropology in 1990.
Baker remains committed to travel and to international education. Since joining the faculty at Moorpark College, he has co-led study abroad programs to England, Germany, Nepal, and India, and has also traveled with students to Thailand, Mexico, and Australia. “Experiencing life in another country is both personally enriching and essential to understanding why other people see the world differently than we do. Many of our problems today could be reduced or avoided if more of us would simply follow the old adage and walk a while in another person’s shoes.”
Baker, who has been a member of the full-time faculty taught since 1990, has twice before received honors at the college. In 1991, he was selected Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year by the Associated Students and in 199, he received the Outstanding Service Award for Faculty by the Academic Senate,.
Last year he and Philosophy Professor Janice Daurio, conceived and produced the Year of Science and Religion at Moorpark College, a campus wide dialogue that featured a series of speakers on the topic.
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Last Updated 12/18/08
Moorpark College, 7075 Campus Road, Moorpark, CA 93021
(805) 378 -1400
Ventura County Community College District
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