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Olivia Harris (1948-2009)

Photograph of Professor Olivia HarrisIt is with great sadness that we have to report the death of Professor Olivia Harris (pictured) on Thursday 9 April.

Olivia was born on 26 August 1948. She was a postgraduate student at the London School of Economics (LSE) from 1970 to 1975. She taught for many years at Goldsmiths' College, University of London (now Goldsmiths), and co-founded the Anthropology department there in 1986, but she also taught in research institutes and universities in Latin America, Europe and the USA. She returned to the LSE in 2005 as Professor of Anthropology. She served as head of the Anthropology Department from 2005 to 2008.

Olivia was an eminent anthropologist of Latin America who specialised in Highland Bolivia. Her work addressed a range of issues including gender, household, kinship, feminist theory, law, money and economic anthropology, symbolism and ritual. In 2006 she co-authored a major study of Inka rule and Spanish conquest in Bolivia. Olivia's work addressed broad issues which cut across disciplines: she worked on the interface between anthropology and history and explored the nature of historical change, the impact of significant change on those who experienced it and the myth-making and historical narratives of later generations; she also worked on post-colonialism and notions of citizenship in Latin America.

Director of LSE Howard Davies said: "Olivia will be greatly missed by everyone here. She was an outstanding scholar, an academic leader in every respect, and a warm, friendly colleague. Her memory will live on at the School."

Olivia had many friends at the LSE and other institutions, among both staff and students. Her funeral will take place at 2.30 pm on Tuesday 28 April at Southwark Cathedral (Anglican Cathedral, Montague Close, London SE1; by London Bridge station) and everyone is welcome to attend. In place of flowers, please make a donations to charity at https://www.bmycharity.com/OliviaHarris

Our sympathies go to all her family, but in particular to her daughter Marina and to her husband, Harry Lubasz.

17 April 2009