Location: Bowdoin / Sociology and Anthropology / Faculty & Staff / Leslie Shaw

Sociology and Anthropology

Leslie Shaw

Leslie Shaw

Leslie C. Shaw passed away on August 29, 2012, from complications following surgery at Maine Medical Center in Portland. Born on July 8, 1955, in Washington, DC, she was the daughter of John and Ann Shaw. She grew up in Bethesda, MD, and developed a lifelong interest in archaeology and anthropology while she was an undergraduate student at the University of Maine at Orono.

Leslie earned an M.A. in anthropology at the University of Wyoming in 1980 and a Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1991. Over the course of her career she developed expertise in each of the areas of the world in which she worked, from the forests and coastlines of Maine to the high plains of Wyoming, from the isolation of Easter Island in the Pacific to the urban landscapes of Boston and Salem and to the jungles and savannas of the Maya Lowlands of Central America. A highly-regarded researcher and colleague, she published numerous articles in scholarly journals on each of these geographic areas, was the author of nearly 50 technical reports, and delivered dozens of professional papers at national and international conferences.  She began her teaching career at the Harvard University Summer School, and held positions at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the University of Massachusetts at Boston, and the University of Southern Maine. She was a fellow at the Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute at Radcliffe College in 1993-94, and also was an archaeologist with the National Park Service. Since 1998 she had been a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Bowdoin College, where she was an especially effective teacher and valued mentor. In 2008 she was named the Liaison for Native American Affairs in the President's Office at Bowdoin. In that capacity she worked closely with leaders, educators, and students among the Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Micmac, and Maliseet nations of the Wabanaki confederation and with her counterparts at Colby and Bates colleges as part of the WCBB Consortium. Each spring she led a team of Bowdoin students and faculty to tribal and community schools to offer enrichment programs designed to encourage students to consider college as a possible option and as a goal. For each of the past four years she organized the Wabanaki Arts Festival that brought artists, drum groups, and dancers to the Bowdoin campus. She was an advisor to the College's Native American Student Organization, and was a passionate advocate for broadening educational opportunities for Native American students.

Dr. Shaw was a member of the Society for American Archaeology and was a member of the Board of the Maine Archaeological Society for many years. She edited The Maine Archaeological Society Bulletin, developed the Society's web site, coordinated the activities and publicity for Maine Archaeological Awareness Month, and worked to expand the understanding of Maine‚Äôs archaeological heritage in public school curricula. She was a member of the Board and a past president of the Pejepscot Historical Society in Brunswick, and she was a member of the Town and College Club. She met her husband, John Cross, in the doctoral program in anthropology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. They were married in 1986. She is survived by her husband; two beloved daughters, Lauren T. Cross and Audrey L. Cross; her parents, John and Ann Shaw of Salem, MA; two sisters, Julie Shaw Lutts (Timothy) of Salem, MA, and Jennifer L. Shaw (Scott Tromanhauser) of Belmont, MA; two brothers, Mark C. Shaw (Donna) of Boyds, MD, and John H. Shaw (Carol) of Manchester, MA; an aunt, Polly Jettinghoff of Newcastle, ME; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.  There will be a memorial service at 12 noon on Saturday, September 8, at the Bowdoin College Chapel, with a reception to follow.