Brian J. Spooner, DPhil

Title: Professor of Anthropology
Company: University of Pennsylvania
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Brian J. Spooner, DPhil, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership.

Dr. Spooner was always interested in the history of the objects around him. When it came time to pursue an academic degree, he enrolled at Oxford University. His initial area of study was ancient Greek and Latin anthropology, though he later shifted his focus on Iranian anthropology. After earning a Bachelor of Arts, he remained at the university and acquired a Doctor of Philosophy. He began his professional pursuits as a professor at his alma mater, going on to accept a position as an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania in 1958. There, his consistent success provided him with a platform to grow, going on to become an associate professor in 1974 and then a professor in 1989. He remains in that role today, continuing to enlighten his students about the wonders of anthropology.

As an active member of his professional community, Dr. Spooner maintains affiliation with many organizations. These include, but are not limited to, the American Research Institute in Syria, the American Institute of Yemeni Studies, and the American Institute of Pakistani Studies, for whom he acted as president from 1999 until 2005. More recently, Dr. Spooner was distinguished as a faculty fellow for the Penn Institute of Urban Research. He additionally oversees the Near Eastern Ethnology Section of the Penn Museum as the curator.

As an accomplished author, Dr. Spooner considers one of the highlights of his career to be his published article, “The Persianate Millennium.” It goes over the reasons why Iran has its current place in the world. Though the world is different today than it was when Dr. Spooner became involved in anthropology, he would advise those aspiring to work in the industry to follow their dreams. However, he recommends using caution. Outside of his primary endeavors, he is quite proud of his family, as his son went on to become a neurovascular surgeon and his daughter became a ballet and Pilates instructor.

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