In Honor of Dr. Kathryn A. Kozaitis’s Decades of Service

Kozaitis.pngDr. Kathryn A. Kozaitis, applied anthropologist and ethnographer of Greece and the United States, has retired as Professor of Anthropology after 28 years of service at Georgia State University. She completed the Joint PhD Program in Anthropology and Social Work at the University of Michigan, taught sociocultural anthropology at Emory University, and in 1996 joined the faculty at GSU. Upon her promotion to the rank of associate professor with tenure in the newly established Department of Anthropology and Geography, she was appointed its chair. Subsequently she led Anthropology, which became a stand-alone department in 2006. 

The ensuing years under her leadership were ones of significant growth, resulting in what is now a department of 13 permanent faculty across all four subfields of anthropology, with thriving undergraduate and graduate programs, and a shared ethos concerning the importance of a public-facing, collaborative, and community-based anthropology. In addition to serving a total of five three-year terms as chair, Dr. Kozaitis maintained a multi-faceted research agenda, including NSF-funded participatory action research projects on urban educational reforms and the Fulbright-funded ethnography on socioeconomic crisis that led to her book Indebted: Despair and Resilience in Greece’s Second City (Oxford University Press 2021). In addition, she taught courses in sociocultural, urban, and applied anthropology. Among these were her signature four-field and cross-field “Anthropological Theory and Praxis,” a seminar on ethnographic methodologies, anthropological theories, and agentive interventions that address the safety, health, education, and cultural integrity of disfranchised communities, including immigrants, migrants, and refugees. Her courses were central to the Department’s mission and helped shape the intellectual sensibilities and skills of multiple generations of GSU graduates, including but not limited to her dozens of research advisees. In recognition of her significant accomplishments as both a scholar and a teacher—and of the close, dynamic relationship between those two areas of her professional life—Dr. Kozaitis was awarded Georgia State University’s Distinguished Alumni Professorship in 2023. She currently serves as President of the American Anthropological Association’s General Anthropology Division (GAD), a role that affords her the privilege to advance further her vision of anthropology as a humanistic social science and a humane profession, and she continues at GSU as Emerita Professor of Anthropology.

In honor of Dr. Kozaitis’s decades of service, her inspiration of so many students and faculty, and the legacy of praxis anthropology she established at Georgia State, the Department of Anthropology has established a new award. The Kozaitis Praxis Award will be given annually to a GSU Anthropology student whose studies are focused in applied and/or practicing anthropology. The Department is fundraising currently with the goal of raising $25,000 so that the fund can be endowed. All funds contributed will be used exclusively for this award. To donate, please visit Georgia State University | Honoring Dr. Kathryn Kozaitis (

Plans also are underway for a panel honoring Dr. Kozaitis’s contributions to applied and engaged anthropology at the annual meeting of the AAA in Tampa, FL in November 2024. If you are a former student and/or a colleague in applied anthropology who would like to present on this panel, please contact Dr. Jennifer Patico, Professor and Chair of Anthropology, at by March 15. We seek 15-minute paper presentations on research shaped by Dr. Kozaitis’s work on anthropological praxis and/or inspired by, and reflecting more broadly, Dr. Kozaitis’s approaches to the field. 

©Society for Applied Anthropology 

P.O. Box 2436 • Oklahoma City, OK 73101 • 405.843.5113 •