ground in the humanities served him well. Netting was highly literate; a skillful and engaging writer, his lucid prose was devoid of the turgid constructions marring so much of social science writing today.

For graduate studies Netting went to Chicago, where he obtained his M.A. in anthropology in 1959 and his Ph.D. in 1963. In the summer of 1958 he conducted fieldwork in the Ft. Berthold Reservation in North Dakota. There he investigated sources of conflict in Indian voluntary organizations for his M.A. thesis. For his Ph.D. dissertation research Netting spent eighteen months from 1960 to 1962 studying the agrarian practices of the Kofyar, a people living in the hilly escarpments of the Jos Plateau in northern Nigeria. Netting's Kofyar study, published in 1968, was to become a classic monograph on the cultural ecology of intensive cultivators. Time and again, Netting was to return to this part of West Africa: he visited the Kofyar for nine months in 1966-67, for six months in 1984, for one month in 1992, and for three months in 1994. More recently he collaborated with M. P. and G. D. Stone in the publication of much of the quantitative data gathered these past few years on Kofyar demography, expansion, and cash cropping.

In addition to his African research, Netting carried out protracted field studies among Alpine villagers in the Törbel community of Valais, Switzerland. The fourteen months he spent in Törbel in 1970 and 1971, followed by two months in 1974 and 1977, resulted in numerous publications, including his famous book, Balancing on an Alp (1981). This is a superb analysis of the historical demography and intensive land use of a European agricultural and herding community.

The consummate teacher-beloved by his students, admired by his colleagues-Netting's first full-time academic appointment was in the anthropology department of the

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement