All Press Releases for October 13, 2021

Pem Davidson Buck Celebrated for Dedication to the Field of Anthropology

Prof. Buck channels years of expertise to her current role as professor emerita with Elizabethtown Community and Technical College

    UPTON, KY, October 13, 2021 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Pem Buck has been included in Marquis Who's Who. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.

While earning a bachelor's degree at Oberlin College, Buck enrolled in an anthropology class that introduced her to the study of primate behavior, an interest that soon lead to other branches of anthropology. Although she was a French major, she became convinced that all she could do with French was teach, and she was sure she did not want to teach, and switched to anthropology on the assumption that would give her more options. Ironically, she soon found herself teaching English and anthropology in India. She and her husband received Shansi Fellowships for an exchange program between Oberlin College and two colleges in Tamil Nadu, India, where they spent two years after graduation.

On their return from India, they moved to Kentucky and eventually started a small plumbing business—an experience that, like her experience in India, greatly influenced her approach to anthropology and to community college teaching. After several years as plumber's helper, she returned to teaching, earning a Master of Arts from the University of Louisville while teaching part-time at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College. She then taught full-time there until her retirement in 2015, when she was granted professor emerita status.

Professor Buck's career as an anthropologist has focused on whiteness, discourses of inequality, intimations of U.S. fascism, incarceration, and the relationship between state formation and punishment, with a particular emphasis on Kentucky. Her published work includes two books relating to these topics, "The Punishment Monopoly: Tales of My Ancestors, Dispossession, and the Building of the United States" and "Worked to the Bone: Race, Class, Power, and Privilege in Kentucky" as well as an introductory anthropology textbook, "In/Equality: An Alternative Anthropology." She has also published articles in a variety of anthropological journals.

Buck is a member of, and has held elected and appointed positions in, the Association of Black Anthropologists and is a member of the American Anthropological Association and the Society for the Anthropology of North America. Prof. Buck has also conducted presentations for local chapters of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, Young Democratic Socialists and Citizens Standing Against the War, and has presented numerous papers relating to her research at American Anthropological Association meetings. Because her work focuses on Kentucky, she has not needed supporting grants for travel abroad. However she did need time from teaching, which her college made available by granting two sabbatical years and Summer Teaching Improvement Grants. She has also served her community, acting as liaison between the college and the local domestic violence program, and most recently delivering meals from the local Senior Citizens Center to elderly people homebound by health or by COVID-19.

Recognition of her work as a teacher has included selection for Who's Who Among America's Teachers, selection as runner-up for the Sarah Bennett Holmes Award, which recognizes work to improve the status of women in Kentucky, and nomination by Elizabethtown Community College for the state-wide community college system's New Horizons Faculty Excellence Award. In a career that has been filled with highlights, she is incredibly proud of the number of students whose faces lit up when something she said clicked, letting them see whiteness, race, and the world from a new perspective. Within the coming years, Prof. Buck aims to continue writing.

About Marquis Who's Who®
Since 1899, when A. N. Marquis printed the First Edition of Who's Who in America®, Marquis Who's Who® has chronicled the lives of the most accomplished individuals and innovators from every significant field of endeavor, including politics, business, medicine, law, education, art, religion and entertainment. Today, Who's Who in America® remains an essential biographical source for thousands of researchers, journalists, librarians and executive search firms around the world. Marquis® now publishes many Who's Who titles, including Who's Who in America®, Who's Who in the World®, Who's Who in American Law®, Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare®, Who's Who in Science and Engineering®, and Who's Who in Asia®. Marquis® publications may be visited at the official Marquis Who's Who® website at

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