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Peter Loizos Tributes

The following are messages and tributes we have received since the death of Peter Loizos in March 2012.

If you would like us to include a message please email it to anthropology.enquiries@lse.ac.uk.

Follow this link to return to the web entry In Memory of Peter Loizos.
 Peter Loizos and students in the Seligman Library c1981
Peter and students in the Department of Anthropology's Seligman Library c1981.

Peter Loizos established an international scholarly reputation for himself with his work on those displaced by the conflicts in Cyprus.  His local, anthropological perspective on the consequences of the ‘high politics’ of military intervention and strategic boundaries was both illuminating and disturbing.  So, by the time I arrived at the School in 2002 Peter had already helped to establish the profile of the LSE on matters related to the Hellenic world.  As a new arrival – and as another Hellenist born outside the region (in my case with no family ties to it) – Peter was understanding, encouraging and warm.  When we developed the programmes and activities of the Hellenic Observatory here at the School, Peter was pleased to join us on a number of occasions and he also accepted our invitations to make presentations and participate in our discussions.  He gave a memorable talk on his experiences on the island when following the reactions of young Cypriots to the Annan Plan, speaking with much passion.  Peter both observed the campaign, but also became engaged in it.  He had a good sense of the historical moment.

My colleagues and I in the Hellenic Observatory will miss him, but we will also cherish his warmth and his encouragement.  Thank you Peter!

Kevin Featherstone
Head, European Institute, LSE

I long wished to have a chance to spend a long evening together with Peter Loizos. My wish was in part to hear from him, through such an occasion, about his time with the LSE Anthropology. I believe that one of the problems faced by today's anthropological community in Britian and elsewhere is the weakening institutional memory. So my hope was to seek help from Peter on this matter, to ask him whether he could kindly help fill some of the numerous gaps in my shallow historical knowledge of the LSE Anthropology. I was also interested in Peter's research into the Cyprus question and hoping to share our views of modern civil war experience and our mutual concerns about the terrible wounds to the human soul left behind by such a war.

I never had the chance to fulfil my wishes. I haven't yet had the pleasure to spend a long evening together with Peter over a nice bottle of ouzo, as I had imagined, in a pleasant family-run Greek restaurant somewhere in Covent Garden. And I now know, to my great sadness, I never will.

Heonik Kwon
University of Cambridge 

I wish to record my personal tribute to Peter’s memory, as a former anthropology student at LSE (1970-76). I recall his very lucid political anthropology lectures, his fascinating ethnographic film screenings, and his open and friendly attitude to students. A welcome visit from Peter and Gill during my Kenya fieldwork in 1974 led indirectly to his invaluable encouragement to me to complete my PhD thesis in 1991 after long delays due to taking a busy job outside academia, and to prepare it for LSE publication.

I last talked to Peter at the 2011 RAI ethnographic film festival, finding him in excellent form (with new projects following the Cyprus books which I then caught up on) and apparently excellent health.

I was shocked to hear he passed away. My wife and I send our sincere sympathies to Gill and his family. We will attend the LSE memorial gathering next month.

Martin Hill (LSE anthropology alumnus and PhD)

I remember Professor Pete Loizos very well as he was my tutor during my years at the LSE. As a fellow Mediterranean, I thought that his research on greek funerary rites was fascinating and it has inspired me in my own research. He was a very generous and fair tutor that helped me make sense of social anthropology! He will be sorely missed.

Costanza de Toma
(Anthropology student 1991-1994)

It is with really great sadness that I learn of the death of Peter Loizos - more so as he was only a few months older than me. I was one of his mature students and we probably caused him more trouble than the younger ones! He was my tutor in 1982 -83 and is the third of my lecturers to die - following Alfie Gell and Mike Sallnow. Three remarkable men.

I had another link with Peter as he came from and wrote about Cyprus and I come from Malta. I remember the evening he rang me at home to tell me what degree I had been awarded and he even expressed some regret though I didn't myself! We kept in touch afterwards, for a while, as I was planning my next courses of study.

Peter was quite patient sympathetic and about exam nerves - he probably had them coming at him from several directions. I remember so well sitting in his office and discussing issues and how precise he was in challenging my ideas and views.

To Peter's family I send my deepest condolences from a fellow Mediterranean. May you all find strength to bear the great shock and sadness of losing him.

Helen Tomkins
12th April 2012

It is with astonished sadness that I read today from your kind e-mail that Prof. Peter Loizos has passed away. 

I just wanted to share that even as I had studied the subject already for three years in Helsinki, it was only 1992-3 and with Peter as my MSc supervisor, that I learned what anthropology was about. I believe that Pieter took grate pleasure in converting ordinary anthropology students into special LSE graduates. His love child visual anthropology he offered in a gentle, suggestive way, maybe because art and science differ greatly. Quite literally, he still put a camera in my hand, even if I never used it on field for other than as aid-de-memoire. Peter’s humanity, humour and endurance with foreign students brought many of us not just safely into the harbour of real anthropology, but also made us to enjoy the rough route of exploration and frustrations needed to get there. I personally still stand to owe him so much more; for the chance to contribute to Conceiving Persons: The Symbolism of Procreation, Fertility and Growth’, and later for his unfailing belief in me when I no longer had enough of it myself for finishing a PhD. Those sentenses of support in his departmental review panel letter may one day even become a reason why I’d care to finish it, just to prove Pieter right. Thank you, Peter. 

Sini Castrén (ex-Cedercreutz)
Helsinki, Finland

Peter Loizos was a great inspiration when I studied social anthropology at the LSE - fired with intellectual energy and a powerful sense of commitment to a field of endeavour which was and deserved to be explored and documented.

Jenny Kingsley

It is with great sadness that I heard about Prof. Loizo´s death. In my many years at LSE, amongst so many brilliant speakers, he was the only one of them who really was a teacher in the full sense. That is, someone truly interested in us students, always available for a chat and for going beyond what was in the reading lists. For this reason, when I returned to London 15 years after my graduation, it was him who I looked for. We exchanged e-mails and, of course, he came to meet me and have a coffee at the LSE. It was worndeful being able to chat about all that I had experienced as an anthropologist in Brazil after leaving England. He was enthusiastic about it and called me a "success case"! I noticed that he was not hearing so well, but in every other respect he seemed as youthfull as ever. Thus, I am truly surprised to hear of his passing away. Recently, I lost a brother at age 56 and what I can tell his family and friends is that, luckily, they will be able to face this sad period with peace in their hearts, for Prof. Loizo´s life was full of accomplishment and joy.

Best regards,
Deborah Kietzmann Goldemberg

I just want to express my condolences on the passing away of Prof. Loizos. I had him for several courses while doing my M.Sc. in anthropology during 1990. Without a doubt, he was a kind and caring person who was genuine about ensuring his students understood the material he was presenting. My fondest memory about him was when he went head to head with Prof. BLoch in the weekly seminar over Prof. Bloch's "Symbol, song, and dance". When it became clear that he was not going to win the argument, he was gracious. He demonstrated that when engaging in debate, the important thing is not to 'win' but to respect each other.

Rob vanSpronsen
M.Sc. (Social Anthropology) - 1990

I should like to express my profound sadness at the recent death of Peter Loizos. I first came to know Peter when we were both students at the LSE in the late 1960's; he was a couple of years ahead of me, as I recall, and helped induct me, a callow and very naive colonial from South Africa, into the esoteric, not always friendly, culture of the English academy. I appreciated and admired his incisive intellect, his wry sense of humour, his knowledge of the discipline -- which far exceeded my own. After I left the LSE for Manchester and then Chicago, our paths crossed less often. But whenever they did, I was reminded of my deep respect for Peter as a scholar and a human being. The world of anthropology is much the poorer for his passing.

John Comaroff
April 12, 2012

I have been so lucky to have Peter Loizos as supervisor for my PhD, and I was actually his last PhD student before he retired. I have been able to get to know him pretty well. He has been a wonderful person and an excellent teacher. We were planning to meet again this spring during my Sabbatical but unfortunatelly this will not happen. I will never forget Peter and I will always be missing him. Αντίο δάσκαλε!

Domna Michail
Assistant Professor of Social Anthropology School of Education University of Western Macedonia Florina-Greece

Dear Prof. Loizos,

I've just noticed it is already 20 years ago that I talked with you in your office for questions out of your lecture.
You listened my silly questions patiently (or, with that twinkling eyes full-of mischief intentions), and initiated thrilling discussions of how to put political aspect of anything into rigorous anthropological analysis.
(I also know you loved to see my lunch in Japanese lunchbox with chop sticks.)

I think you have moved to some other place and continue your discussion with your twinkling eyes.
I do hope I can join your conversation sometime in the future.

Yours sincerely,
Naomi Tobita
(Class of 1993, MSc.)

In my time in the Design Unit, I drew many maps for Peter’s publications, he was a lovely man and his work was extremely interesting to both illustrate and to read. I was very sad to hear that he had passed away, it is a great loss.

Jane Pugh

Peter will be greatly missed; a true scholar and supportive and open to students and colleagues.

Tim Forsyth
Department of International Development, LSE

When I first came to London, it was difficult to pluck up the courage to “cold-call” Peter Loizos – someone whom I knew then only through his inspiring work. However, he quickly made me feel not only welcome but as though I might have something to share myself with him and his many students, contacts, friends to whom he then began introducing me. He had a talent for creating a network of people, all connected through him but as always, with the focus away from himself. He was a man with a broad vision of anthropology, slow to judge others and a teacher whose aim was to push the individual to develop. A generous, wise man, he was also a lot of fun and had a habit of deflating overheated concerns with a raised eyebrow or an appropriate joke. It is hard to think of London and Cyprus without Peter.

Susan Pattie

I am sorry to read about Peter's death. I had just seen a citation in something I was reading and googled him - after many many years. We were students together at Penn, I somewhat ahead of him - and in City Planning and Sociology with some kibitzing in Communications. But I now remember him - and Caroline to whom he was then married - fondly. 

Herbert J Gans

Peter was an inspiring person and I feel privileged that our paths crossed in the 1960s in the Anthropology Department at L.S.E. I am sorry that he is no longer part of the L.S.E. community. I send my condolences to his family.

Wendy Ramsell

I have just seen the announcement in the LSE internet news of the death of Emeritus Professor Peter Loizos.

Peter and I (together with Maurice Bloch) were appointed to lectureships in Anthropology at LSE at the same time in 1968— to positions commencing, in Peter’s and my cases, in 1969.

Peter and I had earlier been graduate students in residence together and “regulars” at Raymond Firth’s famous Friday morning graduate/“fieldwork” anthropology seminar in 1966-1967.

Peter stayed at LSE and brought both grace and distinction to the department over many years.

I was not strong enough to survive in London and soon fled to New York where I remained (at Barnard College and Columbia University) for ten years before returning to a chair (and to my ageing and seriously ailing parents) here Australia in 1980.

I recall meeting Peter here on one of his visits to Sydney in the 1980s.

Peter was an unfailingly thoughtful man and a gentleman.

He served the LSE—and anthropology—well.

I am sure that you must all now miss him greatly.

I would be grateful if you could convey my appropriate sentiments to the memorial event that is to be held in May.

With best wishes to you all and sympathies to you in your collegial loss.

Clive S. Kessler
BA (Syd), PhD (Lond), FASSA 
Emeritus Professor, Sociology & Anthropology
SoSS: School of Social Sciences
The University of New South Wales

I was very sad to hear the news of Peter's passing. He was a wonderful colleague, a most supportive and generous person. He was loved by many staff and students here at the Institute of Social Psychology (he contributed to our teaching in the 90s).

Professor Sandra Jovchelovitch
MSc Social and Cultural Psychology, Director
London School of Economics and Political Science

I've just read an obituary for Peter Loizos, I am so sorry to hear about his death. I interviewed Peter for the DART project in 2008. He was a wonderful interviewee, extremely generous in his answers. I just thought that his wife or children might want to see the interview. In case they would like to, it is accessible online here:

Clarinda Still
University of Oxford

I don't know if you think this anecdote might suit the web page:

One of my classmates died shortly after we finished our degrees and I so well remember meeting with Peter to make a tape to be given to her son when he was old enough. I think this son was then about 3 months old and we wanted him to know, when he was older, that his mother had had friends who loved her and remembered her. Peter asked me to switch the tape recorder off for a moment and told a story which we didn't think should be included: our friend had told him that one of the wonderful things about living just off the King's Road was that at any time of the day or night you could go out and get laid within 15 minutes! It says something about the kind of man Peter was that his students were comfortable enough with him to share such confidences. I don't remember whose idea the tape was; we were recording it at my flat in Stoke Newington, just across the park from where Peter and Jill lived, in the late 80s.

With all good wishes,
Sue Ferrar

Remembering Peter

I look on Peter’s passing as a precipitous and gigantic loss for all of us who knew him as a friend, colleague and teacher. Peter was a close friend to the Department of International Development and a strong source of support for the establishment and growth of Development Studies in the School since the establishment of the Development Studies Institute (DESTIN) in 1991. While he quite wisely turned down the “opportunity” to lead the Institute, he played an active role on the inter-departmental steering committee that guided DESTIN in its early days. In those days the establishment of an institute to provide interdisciplinary post-graduate teaching on problems of development and to consolidate a centre for research on development within the School was a controversial project, not least among anthropologists. Peter understood its value and boldly supported our efforts from the very first. He was deeply involved in teaching methodology to our students during DESTIN’s first decade and he contributed enormously to developing an appreciation for primary research and participant observation methods to scores of students.

Peter was particularly supportive of DESTIN’s PhD students and a number of them count him as their mentor even when he played no official role in their supervision. Peter took a deep interest in the intellectual development of our students, but also had a profound appreciation of the pastoral care students require. He always could bring out the best in students and in colleagues and helped many of us to cope with both personal and professional difficulties and challenges over the years. Peter’s work on Cyprus and on the long term impact of displacement on the health of its refugees, one of his last projects, was driven by a sense of deep personal commitment that is not always found in the academic world. He was committed to “seeking the causes of things” in the very best traditions of the LSE.

Peter took a great interest in the establishment of the Crisis States Research Centre within the School and during our second phase, after his retirement, he attended our weekly research seminars on a regular basis. He demonstrated a thirst for new knowledge and understanding right up to the end and played a crucial role in discussion and interrogation of the research. But there was something more, which I will never forget: when a few years ago I arranged a film showing on Darfur at the School I invited Peter to attend and he turned me down. He said he could just not bear to see any more of the suffering human beings can inflict on one another. I found this a poignant reflection of the way in which Peter engaged with the world we study – he was deeply moved and deeply affected by the social realities that we often look at in very abstract terms. And yet, he never forgot how to smile or tell a joke to lift the spirits of those around him.

I am deeply sorry that I will be away during the Memorial event in Peter’s honour to be held at the LSE, but my thoughts will be with all who gather to celebrate Peter’s life and career. Peter was an inspiration to us all and his good works will live on in the lives of all those who were lucky enough to have encountered him as a teacher, a colleague and a friend.

James Putzel
Professor of Development Studies

I was saddened to hear of Peter's death. He was my supervisor in my Master's year and his enthusiasm for the subject infected me. He was a very generous teacher and his death is a great loss.

Amit Desai
Queen's University Belfast

It is with much sadness that my colleagues and I learned of the death of Peter Loizos.

After I arrived at LSE in 2002 to take up the Chair in Contemporary Greek Studies, I soon met Peter and I found him to be an exceptionally warm and encouraging colleague. Over recent years, he has participated in a number of the events organised by the Hellenic Observatory and he gave a very interesting seminar for us on the Annan Plan. His work on Cyprus was widely admired. His interventions in discussions were always insightful, but couched in a polite and constructive manner.

We know nothing of the circumstances of Peter’s death and we hope that he did not suffer too much. We send you our sympathy at this difficult time. We will remember him with much respect and affection.

Kevin Featherstone
Eleftherios Venizelos Professor of Contemporary Greek Studies & Professor of European Politics, LSE

I was very sad to have the news of Peter's passing away. He supervised the last year of my thesis; his feedback was always careful and level headed. He offered me and other students in my cohort such valuable support and encouragement. My first academic presentation to the Friday morning seminar at the LSE was at his invitation, helping launch my career. His company over food and drink was always welcomed for his humane view of the world and clear good sense of it. Many times have I wondered what he would make of the current situation in Greece. I also remember his retort to someone who said that all gender identities were cultural - "tell that to someone whose hormones don't develop in puberty".

With best wishes,
Mark Harris
The University of St Andrews

Peter was my tutor in the second year of my LSE degree, and also taught me on his Mediteranean Ethnography course, during my time studying anthropology at the School (1982-1985). I was very sad to hear of Peter's death and would like to pass on my condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. Peter was a very warm and welcoming presence in the Anthropology Department and took a real interest in his students and their ideas and work. He was an inspiring tutor, as well as the dispenser of useful advice on how a boy up from the country could best survive living in a hard-to-let GLC flat in Hackney.

Ben Priestley
BA Social Anthropology (1985)

In Memoriam Peter Loizos

Peter Loizos and I met sometime in 2006 during the Crisis States Research Center’s seminar series. From then on we met and discussed regularly and became friends.

Peter was not only an outstanding scholar, but a warm-hearted fantastic human being. He combined his wide knowledge of scholarship as well as his deep insights into the human condition with a humble, friendly and supportive attitude to his friends, colleagues and to his students. In more private talks, his outstanding sense of humour was remarkable.

It was always a great pleasure to meet him, be it in academic environments or for a drink in the pub. Conversations with Peter were fascinating, insightful, warm and supportive.

He was so brave in dealing with medical problems in recent years. Peter conquered several challenges successfully, but in the end he could not get on top of the latest one, which cut his life too short.

Peter Loizos is missed by many who feel a deep loss in their own lives.

He will be remembered with deep respect and the fondest of memories.

Gabi Hesselbein
Research Fellow

Peter was the first member of the Anthropology Department I met, as he interviewed me before I was admitted to the LSE. I was a (very) mature student arriving from a first career and the experience of the interview with Peter made me certain I had made the right decision to leave work and that it was to the LSE I wanted to go. Peter was friendly and welcoming but it didn't stop him asking some tough questions. I never had the pleasure of having him as a personal tutor but I enjoyed every course he taught, every lecture he gave and every class he took. He was a marvellous presence in the department, combining brilliance, thoughtfulness and, always, benign good humour. He also, of course, introduced me to anthropological film. Lastly, having come from a career in publishing I always appreciated good writing. Peter was a fine writer and it was always a pleasure when he - rather diffidently - put something he had written on to a reading list.

Kate Gavron (1988-1997)

Thank you for letting me know this sad news. I had not been aware that Peter had died and I received the news with great shock and sadness. When I came to Anthropology at LSE he was admissions tutor. I had not applied to LSE but when I got my A level results and faced with leaving London – which I realised I really didn’t want to do – I decided to just go into the department (off the street as it were) and ask if I could come. It was in August but Peter was in the department and the secretary arranged for me to see him there and then. He sort of interviewed me and offered me a place unofficially, which was then made official. He always talked about me coming with my A levels clutched in my hand --- and that was right, that is how it was. Once there as an undergraduate I never stopped arguing with Peter in seminars (I was a radical, anti-colonial Marxist full of arguments about capitalist and imperialist exploitation) and he would push me and push me getting me to hone and support my arguments; to explore the cracks in the theoretical structure and logics etc etc. A challenge that irritated the hell out of me but also forced me to think with greater clarity and precision, to ground claims in firmer ground. I don’t know if I have succeeded but I do know that this was fine teaching – and teaching that left a permanent mark and which I take to my own student now.

I lost all touch with Peter but he was among those who formed me as a scholar. I am sad but hope he rests in peace.

Best wishes
Gail Lewis

I first met Peter in the early 1970s, but got to know him well when I arrived as a young lecturer in anthropology in 1979 and quickly found him to be an exceptionally friendly and supportive colleague, who helped me find my feet and understand the workings of both the department and the school.  His friendship and support continued throughout more than thirty years in the department, and after retirement as well.   

In addition to his contributions to teaching and research, I shall always remember Peter as a man with a constant commitment to fairness and a lack of personal selfishness.  He was certainly not a soft touch and knew when it was necessary to hold the line, but Peter always tried to be a peacemaker in what was sometimes a very argumentative department, and I was particularly grateful for these reliable qualities during my time as head of department - both in the office and afterwards over a drink.  Peter was also unusual in the range of his friendships with members of other departments in the LSE and his deep loyalty to the school as a whole was always one of his most distinctive qualities.  But he was never pious and never took himself, or the rest of us, too seriously, which also counted as one of his virtues.  I shall miss Peter sorely. 

Chris Fuller
27 April 2012

Peter was very important to me as a person and as an anthropologist. He made time to interview me for admission to the undergraduate programme while we were both working in Kenya and he has been an ethical guide to the world of anthropology right the way through my professional career. He was kind, knowledgeable, considerate and thoughtful and was an amazing teacher. He set an outstanding example of how be an anthropologist as a kind of ethical practice. I will miss him and think of him often.

Maia Green

I was saddened to hear that Peter had passed away on 2 March. I was his student in the late 1990's and was lucky to have him as a supervisor and mentor. I came to the LSE because I had met Peter in an empty corridor and explained to him that the person I was supposed to have worked with in Cambridge had left for the states and since there was no one left in that department with whom I could work, I had been advised to visit the LSE. Peter was kind, considerate, and eager to learn more about Egypt and so I moved to the LSE to work with him. He was a friend and champion who always made time when his time was needed but also gave me my own space and freedom. My time at LSE was a turbulent one with family and health problems getting in the way but Peter was always considerate and generous with his emotional and intellectual support.

I sorely regret not seeing him before his death. I wanted to say thank-you Peter.

Hania Sholkamy
Associate Research Professor
The Social Research Centre
The American University in Cairo 

I was fortunate to know Peter Loizos for eleven years until his untimely death. He got in touch sometime in 2000, soon after I arrived to work at the LSE after finishing graduate school in the United States. He had heard that I was undertaking major research on post-war Bosnia & Herzegovina and he was interested in talking about the topic. We met for lunch in the LSE's senior dining room (SDR) in autumn 2000. That turned out to be the first of many conversations and the beginning of a relationship I enjoyed and valued greatly.

I have so many memories of Peter: of long hours over pints in the Beavers Retreat pub at the LSE, of delicious dinners at his and Gill's home in Highbury. But perhaps the memory I will treasure most is of driving all over Cyprus with him in a somewhat dilapidated car one summer, of inpromptu wine tasting in wineries in the Troodos mountains and of putting up together in a rather peculiar 'retro' hotel in Paphos, among other experiences.

When I sent him one of the first copies of a book I published in 2007, he wrote excitedly to say that he had by coincidence received it on his seventieth birthday.

Peter was a person utterly free of any kind of vanity, pettiness or self-interested motives. That in itself made him an unusual academic. As a scholar he was simply motivated by a spirit of inquiry and intellectual curiosity. But what made him truly special is how his stellar qualities made him a really exceptional human being, going beyond the razor-sharp scholar, caring teacher and mentor and exemplary colleague so many admired and appreciated. He was that rare--very rare--person whose wisdom and integrity encompassed all aspects of his life, not merely the scholarly and the professional.

He was and will remain an inspiration to me in both the personal and the professional spheres. And of course, remembering that mischievous twinkle in his eyes as he pulled my leg makes me smile even as I write this sad note.

Sumantra Bose
Professor of International and Comparative Politics, LSE

I first knew Peter as a PhD supervisor and afterwards as a friend. He was almost the ideal supervisor, candid but supportive, ready with ideas which were always offered and never imposed, and a perceptive guide through the relevant literature. He was also excellent company, warm and generous-spirited, and I shall miss our occasional meetings which for me were both enjoyable and a source of reliable and encouraging advice.

Dr. Patrick Heady
Research Associate
Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology

We are all sad. The world lost one of the most outstanding anthropologists as well as a decent, kind, sincere, friendly, helpful and supportive human being.

I am proud and lucky that I worked with one of the greatest anthropologists in the world and made some modest contribution to his work about the village of Argaki.

Many thanks for everything, PETER. I will never forget your kindness, support and guiding hand.
Your philosophy has always been guidance for my life. I will never forget you; my friend, my teacher and my father PETER!!!
You will always live in my heart.


Peter's Turkish Cypriot masters student and villager from Argaki

I am greatly saddened by the death of Peter Loizos. I was privileged to have been his colleague both at the LSE in the late 1990s and, later, at SOAS, where he taught courses after his retirement. My memories of Peter will be familiar to many. He was among the first to take me to lunch when I took up a humble post as visiting lecturer at the LSE many years ago. This was the first of many kindnesses from someone I quickly came to consider both mentor and friend. On a regular basis, he took time to find out how I was doing, what I was working on, and what ideas I was mulling over. He was gifted in conversation—equally good at listening and at sharing his own perspectives—a trait that bore splendid fruit in his ethnographic works in a range of media, as well as in his teaching. When I returned to London after a few years away in New York, I found myself living across the street from Peter in Highbury, and enjoyed his and Gill’s hospitality on many occasions. His home, like his office, was a place where information and ideas were easily exchanged, whether with him or, as was often the case, with other guests he had invited knowing of shared interests. In treating younger colleagues like myself earnestly as peers—in demonstrating a genuine desire to learn from us—he ultimately taught us a great deal more, not only of what he knew of our world and its workings, but also about how to learn from one another. He will be greatly missed, and fondly remembered.

Harry G. West 
Chair, SOAS Food Studies Centre

Peter Loizos’ work was especially inspiring to a fellow Europeanist who studied places and cultures with personal ‘local’ connections. I loved his superb description of the speech he made at the feast in his honour where, in front of so many previously unknown kin, he celebrated his hitherto disconnected name, having been brought up as an ‘Englishman’. (The Heart Grown Bitter). This encouraged me to explore the notion of ‘Hybridity, birthplace and naming’. Peter confirmed how an assigned name has huge resonance. I had one from another Mediterranean island. Peter’s vivid declarations gave courage.

He kept the pledge, like so many anthropologists, of pursuing what draws them both intellectually and emotionally. He also followed through politically the pain of conflict, refugees and exile, all the while exploiting his professional filmic skills. His ‘Innovation in ethnographic film’ was a key text. Peter was always both intellectually engaged and good fun, whenever our paths crossed. In June, at the RAI film festival, we sat laughing in the sunshine for another brief exchange. That delightful, now poignant image remains so much longer.

Professor Judith Okely
Emeritus Hull University, Research Associate, School of Anthropology, Oxford.

I’m teaching in Istanbul and it is a matter of great regret that I’m unable to participate in the memorial meeting.

I have deeply fond memories of Peter. My first meeting with him, which I remember with great clarity, was an interview for an undergraduate place at LSE in 1977. I remember it for several reasons – I was understandably nervous and he managed to put me at my ease while also rigorously quizzing me about numerous questions relating to my A level studies (“Was Iago a racist” was one I remember particularly clearly). I knew almost nothing about anthropology as a formal subject but he managed to figure out whether I had the broader curiosity to make a stab at it. I recall his enjoyment of the sheer process of conversation and argument. I still have the letter he sent a couple of days later (Dear Mr.Pinney”) saying how much he’d enjoyed meeting with me. I’ve no idea whether that was compulsory LSE policy but I sure appreciated it. The other reason I’ll always recall that encounter was that it was the first time I’d ever met anyone whose name I’d seen printed in a book. My parents left school aged 15 and I’d never encountered anyone who’d ever published anything. But that evening after the interview, I found an article by Peter footnoted in my copy of the Penguin edition of Lucy Mair’s Marriage. It was strangely thrilling to connect the name “Loizos” with the person I’d met earlier in the day: I stared at it in astonishment. This must sound ridiculous in an age of desktop publishing but that’s how it was in those distant days if you didn’t happen to come from a professional caste of academics.

All my subsequent meetings with Peter were great (he managed to combine pride in the LSE tradition with an energizing discontent: I recall highly engaged discussions about Popper, Dahrendorf, Hayek). I certainly learnt a lot from him, both bodies of knowledge but more importantly attitudes and the necessity of focusing on what was troubling because the problems were gateways to the zones that were really interesting. I will certainly miss his warm and delightfully idiosyncratic presence. But I’ll also always remember him for his generosity at that first meeting, and for initiating me into the mysterious power of printed names.

Chris Pinney

Peter was a humane and human advisor on the academic life. Since he kindly acted as one of my doctoral supervisors, I first heard some of his wise and honest suggestions a long time ago, but they’ve stayed in my thoughts over the years, often proving to be true and useful in all sorts of different situations. Like many other people, I’ve admired Peter’s commitment to Cyprus and his ability to inspire many fine anthropologists of Greece. It was a particular pleasure to see him in recent years since his official retirement from the department, a little more relaxed, but characteristically lively, forthright and engaged with his development work. I think of him with respect for his work in ethnography and film, and also with gratitude and affection.

Fenella Cannell

One of the last times I saw Peter, he had just been made Professor at the LSE. He was beaming with joy and enthusiasm, although he was close to retirement. This is how I remember Peter: a man full of energy, empathy and kindness. In my undergraduate years, in the mid-1980s, Peter taught Political and Economic Anthropology. These were the years of the Thatcher government, the miners’ strike, the Greenham Common peace camp, the anti-apartheid movement, and the split of the 'Gang of Four' from the Labour party. Inevitably, everyday politics spilled in our classes on Leach’s Political Systems in Highland Burma, or on Modes of Production, and Peter never shied away from a good argument, often continuing over a pint in a nearby pub [I also remember epic arguments during Friday seminars between Peter and Joseph llobera!!]. He was an inspiring teacher, and he made me love anthropology by showing me how it could enrich my everyday life, unsettling and challenging my political certitudes. Above everything else, though, Peter was a wonderful human being, the one member of faculty one could turn to for emotional support and encouragement. He was very well liked by all students, and routinely invited to our parties or dinners. Peter will always be in my heart [and his remarkable books will remain a permanent feature of my reading lists]!!

Filippo Osella
University of Sussex

Peter was well known to many of us in the Anthropology Department at Sussex. A number of us were trained as undergraduates, and/or as postgraduates, at the LSE Department and thus experienced first hand his wise teaching, caring counsel and insightful grasp of anthropology. Others knew him as colleague, interlocutor, editor and friend in the context of the themes of his work: the anthropology of the Mediterranean, politics, refugees and displacement, health, ethnographic film. Still others knew him primarily through his written work. He leaves as legacy not only his stimulating and perspicacious writings but the inspiration of his humanity, generosity and humour. We at Sussex pay tribute to Peter and will miss him greatly.

The Sussex Anthropology Department

I have been struggling to accept that Peter has died. He was always so vital, so full of conversation and so wonderfully unstuffy that he seemed to have friends everywhere he turned in the Senior Dining Room. I can’t remember when we first met but I can remember many enlightening conversations about delayed bachelorhood in rural communities, about the persistence of borders in Cyprus and Northern Ireland and about my fledgling research on Irish immigrants. I also remember Peter’s warmth, his wry humour and his chuckle when we reminded each other of our hearing difficulties (a long-running joke). Then there was that little twinkle that would appear in his eye and a mischievous thought would follow a little later. Even though we were in different departments Peter became an informal mentor and great source of encouragement even long after he had retired. To use an old Irish saying: we may not see his like again.

Pat McGovern,
Dept. of Sociology,

In this way I would like to personally, and on behalf of NAFA (The Nordic Anthropological Film Association), pay tribute to Peter Loizos. We received the news about his death with great sorrow and a sense of loss to the international community or ‘family’ of visual anthropology in which he played such an important part. I have known Peter personally for many years, most intensively during my time at the Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology at the University of Manchester, where we were privileged to have Peter as external examiner. Although Peter never became a frequent participant in NAFA events, I actually believe he only took part in one or two of our annual ethnographic film festivals, he had, probably without knowing it, a lasting impact on the development of ethnographic film and visual anthropology in the Nordic countries. In the 1990s he wrote a wonderful and supportive review of the first three volumes in the NAFA book series, published by Intervention Press, and his own seminal book on ‘innovation’ in ethnographic film has inspired a whole generation of visual anthropologists in the Nordic countries (and elsewhere) and remains, for example, one of the most important basic readings in our visual anthropology programme at the University of Tromsoe. I have personally enjoyed many wonderful moments with Peter, meeting as we did at conferences and festivals and have vivid memories of sitting enjoying a chat with him, both of us nursing a decent pint, while he would enviously watch me light up my pipe (he quit smoking years ago). I have lost a good friend and we, in NAFA, have lost a true mentor and a ‘family’ member. Our thoughts now go with Peter’s family.

Peter I. Crawford
17 May 2012

I would like to add a brief personal postscript to the eloquent and moving accounts that we heard yesterday [18 May 2012 at the memorial for Peter at LSE] about Peter's many contributions to Mediterranean anthropology, refugee studies, also as teacher and as a friend. It concerns something that Alan MacFarlane mentioned, but only in passing, namely, Peter's substantial contribution to establishing visual anthropology as a serious academic endeavour in this country. Although I have the impression that the general atmosphere at LSE was not conducive to getting any significant institutional initiative going there, he played a very important in the early years of the Granada Centre at the University of Manchester, as visiting speaker, as external examiner for the first three years of our MA programme, as Forman Lecturer, and as a general friend, supporter and counsellor. He also gave his book on ethnographic film to Manchester University Press. In my view, it remains the best overview of ethnographic film-making in the second half of the twentieth century, and I continue not only to recommend to it students, but consult it myself. Some years ago, when it went out of print, I tried to persuade Peter to propose a second edition to MUP. I recall his words very clearly: "Let's face it", he said, with that resigned tone of his, "it's out of date and there wouldn't be any demand". I thought that he was wrong on both counts, but he clearly wasn't going to allow his mind to be changed! I suspect that for him, by that time, it was water under the bridge.

Of course, he also contributed to developing visual anthropology in ways that had nothing to do with Manchester. Life Chances was a pioneering work, Sophia's People a fitting sequel. He also wrote about film in a very interesting way in a series of articles published in a variety of different places. Even as an undergraduate, I remember coming across a film review by him in Man - I think it was of John Marshall's film, The Hunters - could it be as long ago as 1968?. He did us all a great service by explaining what Robert Gardner was trying to do rather better than Robert Gardner himself was able to do. But, more generally, aided by the fact that in another incarnation he was a mainstream anthropologist with impeccable literary credentials, his writing about film played an important part in encouraging the view that film was not just a lightweight adjunct to teaching, but rather a serious mode of ethnographic representation.

Like a number of the speakers yesterday, I very much regret the fact that I did not take the chance to express my admiration for Peter, both as a friend and as fellow labourer in the visual anthropology vineyard, to him directly, face-to-face. So finally, I'd like to thank the LSE for making yesterday's event possible, thereby providing us all with the opportunity to come to terms with how much Peter meant to us and with the many and various ways in which he touched our lives.

Sincerely, Paul Henley
Manchester University

An anecdote about Peter Loizos' visit to my fieldsite (I was his last PhD student).

Peter's visit to Hurezi

In 2002 Peter asked me if he should accept an invitation to speak at a conference in Romania in order to visit my fieldsite afterwards. On the day the conference ended, after a night of revelry and excess (for me), Peter (in a dashing Fedora) and I set off bright and early to the Sibiu bus station, to take a bus to my fieldsite, a three hours' ride away. However, whilst we were getting coffee at the station bar, our bus arrived and left from the bay just outside – as the taxi drivers gleefully informed us when we later inquired. This was the only bus until the afternoon, and Peter had only a day before his flight. However, his quick thinking saved us: we instantly piled into a cab with all our luggage and bribed the driver to race as fast as possible and catch the bus up before the edge of town, where it was making another stop. After a tense race against hay laden horse carts, ancient Dacia cars and sundry trucks, the bus finally appeared before us, just at the edge of town. The cabbie pulled up in front of it with a flourish reminiscent of a film car chase, and we were able to switch vehicles.

Much energised by this successful bid to leave town, we settled back to enjoy the views of the mountain pass and the river Olt winding far below the road, in the glorious late autumn sunshine. Four hours later, we descended from a cement mixer truck (which, at Peter's insistence, we had hailed for the final part of the journey) in front of the gates of Hurezi convent, in south central Romania. “Some people have all the luck with their fieldsite” was Peter's comment.

I had hoped to be able to introduce Peter to some of the characters of the convent, and as luck would have it the first person we met, inside the main church, was the 93 year old former abbess, a well educated battle-axe with great sense of humour. She and Peter hit it off instantly, and I soon (although I am not sure how this came up) found myself in the incongruous position of translating an animated discussion on the subject of whether nuns should be allowed to enter the church whilst menstruating. Neither party seemed willing to concede on this point (Peter said yes, the abbess no) and so the debate went on for quite a while, with biblical evidence being adduced on both sides.

This captivating discussion was reprised at the formal dinner we were offered, where the convent's secretary (quite a senior ranking position) kept us company. This nun seemed to take rather a fancy to Peter and enjoyed bantering with him long into the evening, despite the arctic temperatures of the dining room. I found myself again translating long detailed arguments about the differences between Protestant and Orthodox churches and, yes, the pros and cons of menstruating in church. Unfortunately mistranslation, which had helped me end the earlier conversation rather gracefully, was not an option now, as this nun had been to Whitby on a course and spoke enough English to be able to check my rendition of her points and join in, in halting English, when I left out any details. Eventually she gave up relying on me and, rocking back and forth like a student trying to recite a lesson, launched into a prolonged, laborious and hilarious direct conversation with Peter.

The day was deemed a great success by all, and the memory of Peter that stands out most for me is his willingness to engage in anything, however crazy, his enthusiasm for adventure and intense joy, his being there fully, taking chances and making the most of the moment.

Alice Forbess

I have only recently read of the death of Peter Loizos. He was my tutor when I came to LSE in 1970 and he opened my mind to many things - not all of them to do with anthropology. It was his unstuffy approach, his sense of humour and his treatment of me almost as an equal that made me like him and respond to him. And he certainly helped me to get a better degree than I would have otherwise. I am sad to learn of his death and would like his family to know that I, too, greatly valued him.

David Reynolds
Old Street Publishing

Oh, to be in the anthropology department at LSE in the seventies. How lucky we were: the department had a fine ancestry: the renowned Malinowski, Seligman, Westermark, Raymond Firth...all had taught there. Now in the seventies we again had erudite, inspirational teachers.

Being a mature student, rather naive, I found the atmosphere during our departmental Friday morning seminars awe-inspiring as staff and students read their papers,and then, embattled, answered their critics, and/or expanded the meaning of their texts. All the tutors and supervisors had different characters: Firstly I knew the enthusiastic and encouraging Alfie Gell who had done field work in a remote area of New Guinea, his research emphasising ritual and its meaning; Maurice Bloch with his rather nervous exposition of the theories of Claude Levi-Strauss.......And then a young, good looking, logical and kind Peter Loizos - we could not be afeared of him - he gave us lectures on political anthropology that we could understand, we could ask him to elucidate points which he always happily did however banal the question. His criticism enlightened and did not demolish.

One of my fellow students was Gill Shepherd, who came up from Oxford. She was both very intelligent and quietly beautiful.: Peter fell in love with her, and she with him. After the course finished, Gill and Peter came to spend a week at Bonnieux, on their way to the French coast, the village where my husband, a painter, and I spent many working weeks during the summer. Peter was always charming, generous, and willing to do battle with my rather too pressing husband, who, having read my books on shamanism, wanted to know Peter's views, but Peter was more down to earth and not really interested in a pseudo spirit world. But he and Gill wanted to know about painting: consequently we had a wonderfully enjoyable and interesting few days together- a very happy time to remember. It is hard to believe that Peter is no longer with us. It is not surprising that people travelled thousands of miles to come to his memorial to tell us about a Peter that we might not otherwise have known...... 

Connie Gore

Peter with students in Nicosia
Peter and students in Nicosia.