Name:  Richard Chacon
Title:  Professor of Anthropology
Education:  Ph.D., Anthropology, University of California-Santa Barbara
M.A., Anthropology, University of California-Santa Barbara
B.A., Anthropology, California State University
Office:  327 Kinard Hall   
Phone:  803/323-4656
Area(s):  Human Behavioral Ecology, Subsistence Strategies, Natural Resource Conservation, Warfare, Belief Systems, Ethnohistory, Medical Anthropology, Development of Social Complexity and Globalization; Indigenous Peoples of the Americas; Minorities and Education


College of Arts and Sciences

Faculty & Staff Profiles

Dr. Richard J. Chacon is a Professor of Anthropology at Winthrop University who conducts anthropological research throughout the Americas. He documented the subsistence patterns and belief systems of the Yanomamö of Venezuela, the Yora of Peru, and the Achuar (Shiwiar) of Ecuador. Additionally, he investigated the traditional belief patterns of both the Kuna of Panama and of the Bribri of Costa Rica. He studied ritual violence among the Otavalo and Cotacachi Indians of Highland Ecuador. He documents traditional beliefs and natural resource utilization among the Haida and the Nuxalk (Bella Coola) of Canada’s British Columbia. Currently, he conducts research on the rise of inequality and social complexity across the globe. His specializations include subsistence strategies, optimal foraging theory, conservation, natural resource utilization, warfare, ritual violence, slavery, history of the enslaved, native beliefs, leadership, collective action, inequality and the rise of social complexity, long distance exchange, secret societies, ethnohistory, the effects of globalization, the impacts of missionization of Indigenous peoples, and the African diaspora. He has a special interest in encouraging members of minority communities to pursue higher education. He currently serves as Editor for Springer's Conflict, Environment, and Social Complexity (CESC) Series. He also serves as Editor for Springer's Anthropology and Ethics Series. He co-organizes the “Warfare, Environment, Social Inequality and Pro-Sociability” (WESIPS) Biennial Conference in Seville, Spain. His publications include: The History and Environmental Impacts of Hunting Deities: Supernatural Gamekeepers and Animal Masters, ed. R. Chacon. New York: Springer (2023). Archaeological and Ideological Manifestations of Domination in Indigenous Latin America, eds., Y. Chacon and R. Chacon. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida (2023). Trade Before Civilization: Long Distance Exchange and the Rise of Social Complexity, eds., J. Ling, R. Chacon, and K. Kristiansen, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2022). Up Close and from Afar: New World Anthropology From Russian and American Perspectives. Proceedings from the 1st and 2nd Russian-American Research Nexus Forums. Eds., D. Bondarenko, R. Chacon, and R. Ignatiev. Moscow: Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences (2022). Feast, Famine or Fighting? Multiple Pathways to Social Complexity, eds., R. Chacon and R. Mendoza, New York: Springer (2017). The Great Awakening and Southern Backcountry Revolutionaries. Co-authored with Michael Scoggins. New York: Springer (2014). The Ethics of Anthropology and Amerindian Research: Reporting on Environmental Degradation and Warfare, eds., R. Chacon and R. Mendoza, New York: Springer (2012). North American Indigenous Warfare and Ritual Violence, eds., R. Chacon and R. Mendoza, Tucson: University of Arizona Press (2007). Latin American Indigenous Warfare and Ritual Violence, eds., R. Chacon and R. Mendoza, Tucson: University of Arizona Press (2007). The Taking and Displaying of Human Body Parts as Trophies by Amerindians, eds., R. Chacon and D. Dye, Springer: New York (2007). He has held visiting positions at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, the Russian State University for the Humanities in Moscow, and at the University of Costa Rica.