A distinguished scholar of the Kingdom of Benin, photographer and professor of anthropology, Joseph Nevadomsky died Jan. 15.
During his 30-year tenure at Cal State Fullerton, Nevadomsky taught such courses as “Culture and Art,” “Traditional Cultures of the World,” “Contemporary Anthropology,” “History of Anthropology,” “Visual Anthropology” and more. He guided numerous graduate students in their theses and in installing exhibits in the Anthropology Teaching Museum. He was recognized as the Humanities and Social Sciences Distinguished Professor in 2000.
While his fieldwork took him to several countries — including Trinidad, India, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Belize — Nevadomsky’s areas of expertise included the Kingdom of Benin, rituals of kingships, Benin brass and other arts, effigies, and architecture. He published more than 100 journal articles and other works, co-curated “Benin: Art of Power” at the Bowers Museum, and gifted 20,000 of his Benin photographs to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art.
An educator for more than 45 years, Nevadomsky also taught at UCLA, USC, University of Lagos, University of Benin and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He received his doctorate and master’s degrees from UC Berkeley, and his bachelor’s degree from the University of San Diego. He also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nigeria and participated in a Fulbright student program in India.