Kevin A. Yelvington
Fellow: Awarded 2008
Field of Study: Anthropology and Cultural Studies
Competition: US & Canada
Kevin A. Yelvington is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of South Florida. He received a B.S. in communications (1983) and an M.A. in international studies (1985) from Florida International University. He then continued his studies at the Institute for Development Studies at the University of Sussex in Brighton, England, where he earned his Ph.D. in social anthropology in 1991; as part of his work there, he conducted research for a year in Trinidad, studying work, family, and identity issues among women workers. The importance of his findings earned him the Radcliffe-Brown Memorial Fund Award from the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, which allowed him to complete his dissertation on the subject. Power: Ethnicity, Gender, and Class in a Caribbean Workplace (Temple UP, 1995), his first monograph, grew out of that research.
He returned to his alma mater in 1990 as Associate Director of its Institute for Public Policy and Citizenship Studies; he held that post for two years, before taking up an appointment as an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. In 1994, he joined the faculty of the Department of Anthropology at the University of South Florida.
His continued interest in the Caribbean and the African diaspora is evidenced by many of his publications, including his edited volumes Trinidad Ethnicity (University of Tennessee Press, 1993) and Afro-Atlantic Dialogues: Anthropology in the Diaspora (SAR Press, 2006); and “The Anthropology of Afro-Latin America and the Caribbean: Diasporic Dimensions,” which he had been invited to contribute to the 2001 Annual Review of Anthropology (vol. 30). During his Guggenheim term, he continued his research on Melville J. Herskovits, who in 1948 founded at Northwestern University the Program of African Studies, the first such program at an American University, and a pioneer in diasporic studies. He detailed some of his findings in “Melville J. Herskovits’s Theory of Folklore,” a paper he presented at the Mellon Seminar on Caribbean Cultural History at UCLA in May 2009.
Also a proponent of applied anthropology, Mr. Yelvington has conducted research on urban revitalization and displacement of residents in the Miami neighborhood of Overtown as well as on conflicting interpretations of history in Tampa, exemplified by the controversy over the proposed Whydah pirate/slave ship museum. He was elected a Fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology in 2007.