Who's Who Top Educators

Joseph Walter Whitecotton, PhD

Title: Professor Emeritus
Company: University of Oklahoma
Location: Visalia, California, United States

Joseph Walter Whitecotton, Professor Emeritus at University of Oklahoma, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership in anthropology education.

With more than 45 years of experience to his credit, Dr. Whitecotton retired from the anthropology department at the University of Oklahoma in 1999 and continued to teach cross-disciplinary courses in the College of Liberal Studies (now the College of Professional and Continuing Studies) until 2014. He previously excelled at the aforementioned university as a professor of anthropology from 1980 to 1999, an associate professor of anthropology from 1971 to 1980, the chairman of the department of anthropology from 1969 to 1972 and an assistant professor of anthropology from 1967 to 1971. During this time, he was additionally active as a visiting professor of anthropology at Wake Forest University, a curator at the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, a curator at the University of Oklahoma Stovall Museum, an instructor of anthropology at Lawrence University and a teaching assistant at the University of Illinois. Beyond his primary responsibilities, Dr. Whitecotton has found success as a performing jazz musician and an author who has written on such subjects as the influence of jazz in popular culture as well as a classic book on the Zapotec civilization of southern Mexico (The Zapotecs: Princes, Priests, and Peasants).

A renowned specialist in Latin American cultural anthropology, Dr. Whitecotton initially pursued an education at the University of Miami, from which he earned a Bachelor of Arts on a band scholarship in 1959. He subsequently continued his academic efforts with postgraduate coursework at Mexico City College in 1960 and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 1961. He eventually concluded his studies at the University of Illinois in 1968, graduating with a Doctor of Philosophy in 1968. Attributing his success to his creativity and curiosity, Dr. Whitecotton considers his identification and translation of 16th century documents written in the Zapotec language to be among his most important achievements.  This project produced 3 volumes: Zapotec Elite Ethnohistory and Native American Ethnohistory, the latter of which was co-edited with his wife, Judith Bradley Whitecotton.The Whitecottons also compiled the first colonial Zapotec – Spanish dictionary (Vocabulario zapoteco-castellano).

In addition, Dr. Whitecotton has studied and written about the Hispanic population of northern New Mexico and co-authored the first paper applying world-systems analysis in archaeology.

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