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Charles A. Valentine attended graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania during the 1950s. He was selected by Ward A. Goodenough to join a group of students accompanying him to Papua, New Guinea to assist with ethnographic study of the culture and linguistics of the inhabitants. Valentine studied the "cargo cult" phenomena on this expedition. While there, Valentine became immersed in the cultural politics of the region.
Goodenough and Valentine experienced a "falling out" resulting in Valentine's dissertation not being published. However, Valentine's work was praised as impactful in Holger Jebens’ paper “Vali Did That Too: On Western and Indigenous Cargo Discourses in West New Britain (Papua New Guinea).”
In 1958, Valentine and Robert Squier of the University of California-Berkeley were charged with starting an Anthropology Department at Kansas University. After two years of organization and busy teaching schedules the program was running and hiring other professors. While at Kansas, Velentine was also active in integrating the municipal swimming pool. Valentine received a Mellon post-doctoral fellowship for advanced studies that took him to the University of Pittsburgh.
Valentine was married twice. His first wife, Edith, was a fellow anthropology student at Penn who accompanied him to New Guinea. They had two children. Valentine's second wife Bettylou Burleigh also became an anthropologist specializing in cultural and urban anthropology using "full immersion", in which the Valentines and their child lived with the members of the community she was studying.
Charles and Bettylou Valentine wrote at least one article together, "Making the Scene, Digging the Action, and Telling it Like It Is: Anthropologists at Work in a Dark Ghetto," published in Ira E. Harrison and Faye V. Harrison’s book African American Pioneers in Anthropology (Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1999.
Valentine also taught at the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Washington and at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. While in Seattle, he and his wife helped to found the local branch of CORE and the University branch of CRAG, (Civil Rights Action Group) after the university administration refused to allow an NAACP chapter on campus
Following their teaching careers, the Valentines taught and did research in and about Suriname, Papua, New Guinea and China. Ever the activist, Charles Valentine died within twenty-four hours of walking the picket line in front of the Federal building in Seattle in 1990.
Valentine publishedCulture and Poverty; Critique and Counter Proposals, in 1968. His article, "Deficit, Difference and Bicultural Models of Afro-American Behavior" appeared in the Harvard Educational Review in 1971.
Charles A. Valentine attended graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania during the 1950s. He was selected by Ward A. Goodenough to join a group of students accompanying him to Papua, New Guinea to assist with ethnographic study of the culture and linguistics of the inhabitants. Valentine studied the "cargo cult" phenomena on this expedition.
The collection of Charles A. Valentine Papers consists of one folder of documents divided into three series: Correspondence (1), Field Notes (5), and Publication (1). The Correspondence folder consists of letters written to and from Charles and Edie to their children Jess and Charlie, during 1953-1963. Many letters from the Valentine children were sent from their home in Chapel Hill, NC to their parents abroad in Australia. Also enclosed is J. K. McCarthy’s notes regarding Charles Valentine’s manuscript, in draft form. The Field Notes series consists of five folders which appear to follow the organizational scheme of the Human Relations Area Files. The Publication folder consists of a single group of notes in draft form relating to Mr. Valentine’s 1956 expedition to Rapuri, West Nakanai.
- University of Pennsylvania: Penn Museum Archives
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- Finding aid prepared by S. Buchanan J. Rodgers
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