The Valley Academic Mentors  

Bio: Douglas Raybeck

Douglas Raybeck and friends.I was raised in a New Hampshire village of 1,100 people that could quite reasonably be characterized as homogenous.  Everyone was white, the great majority were Protestants who worshipped at the classically severe, white church in the center of the village, and most were farmers.  Indeed, the only significant minority was an island of eight registered Democrats who maintained a somewhat precarious social existence amidst a sea of Republicans.  When I discovered the variety that lay beyond these borders, I was immediately attracted to anthropology, the discipline that studies humanity in all its variegated forms and behaviors.

Student Testimonial for Doug RaybeckI went on to earn a scholarship to Dartmouth College for my BA, and a fellowship to Cornell University for my PhD.  One of the conditions for the fellowship was that I work several semesters as a Teaching Assistant, and through that 'work' I discovered I loved teaching, and that I could make a respectable, well largely respectable, living at it.  I then obtained a NIMH grant to underwrite the costs of fieldwork in Kelantan, Malaysia.  Kelantan was chosen because it was relatively undeveloped, a repository of traditional Malay culture, and rested on an agrarian small village base that was very appropriate for the research I wished to conduct on values and deviance.

After the initial year and half of fieldwork, I and my wife, Karen, sought employment at a small liberal arts college committed to the value of teaching, Kirkland, in Upstate New York.  Kirkland was coordinate with Hamilton College and, after the unfortunate financial straits that terminated Kirkland, I continued at Hamilton, another small liberal arts college that emphasizes the importance of teaching.  Over the course of my somewhat checkered career I have written, co-authored or co-edited half a dozen books and scores of articles.  Now in semi-retirement, I hire out for the occasional course at small liberal arts colleges in the Valley.   I am delighted to find that I still derive pleasure from presenting students with a challenge that requires efforts to which they are not accustomed. I particularly enjoy teaching students how to strap on their intellectual crampons.

Student Testimonials

"I hear through my fellow alums that you are retiring this year.  I also hear that your courses are still the most popular on campus. As I look back over my own education, including two graduate degrees, my experiences as a student in three of your courses stand out the most. (I am sure you've heard that many times!) Some of the basic themes about understanding culture in context and looking at non verbal behavioral cues, still resonate in my work today. I spend my days now trying to "change the world" by encouraging public investment in early care and education, searching for ways to enable families and communities to better nurture their young children."

1976 Graduate

" I just received news from Hamilton that you are retiring this year and wanted to write and thank you for being such a fabulous teacher. When I think back to my time in College, it is always your class that had the greatest influence on me. And, my semester in Bali still stands out as one of the greatest experiences I have ever had. Thank you.

I exhibited my art with another Hamilton graduate last year. When talking about our time at Hamilton, we both said that you were our favorite teacher."

1993 Graduate

"You should know that that class was by far the most rewarding class I took at Hamilton. I am in touch with other professors, but I assure you that I make no similar claims about anything they taught me. I use a couple things I learned in that class on a daily basis."

2005 Graduate

Download Doug Raybeck's Curriculum Vitae...
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