Luxton Lecture Series
Created to honor the contributions of longtime Professor of Sociology Richard Luxton, the Luxton Lecture Series provides free lectures and films by scientists, scholars, practitioners, journalists, politicians and diplomats. This program is cosponsored by the Department of Criminal Justice and Sociology and the D'Amour Library at Western New England University and welcomes prominent names from around the nation and the globe.
Shcolar and Educator
Professor Richard Neil Luxton (1950-2010) is remembered for his research in Mayan studies, which ranged in scale from travel writing to translating and deciphering two Mayan colonial books of counsel, for his exploration as an anthropologist studying the art, life, and spirit of the Maya. Dr. Luxton attended Essex University in England and was awarded a B.A. with honors in 1972. After completing his doctoral research and writing The Hidden Continent of the Maya and Quechua, he earned a Ph.D. in Sociology in 1978. He was awarded the Poulter Scholarship in archaeology from University of Essex, 1974-76; a British Academy grant, 1979-80; and a Harvard fellow at Dumbarton Oaks, 1981. In 1983, his second book, The Mystery of the Mayan Hieroglyphs: The Vision of an Ancient Tradition with Pablo Balam, was published.
Dr. Luxton founded the Latin American Indian Literatures Association in San Diego, CA, before moving to New England. He was hired with the rank of assistant professor of sociology and anthropology for the academic year 1989-90 in the School of Arts and Sciences. He became a tenured faculty member at Western New England effective September 1, 1994. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1995 and to Professor in 2002. He resided as Chair of the Department of Sociology for many years.
Richard Luxton was a dedicated scholar and teachers and an acute observer of the Mayan people, especially in the village of Tulum, Mexico, where he was much loved and admired. During the past two decades working with Mayans Pablo Balam and Valentino Vargas Chulin, he translated and deciphered two of the “sixteenth-century Mayan colonial books of counsel." These texts, written in Roman script Maya, are divined readings of now lost, hieroglyphic texts. The first of these, The Book of Chumayel: the Counsel book of the Yucatec Maya, 1539-1638, was published in 1995. The second, The Mayan Book of the Chilam Balam of Tizimin Mayan Prophecies 1539-1800, will be published posthumously, as well as Luxton's Spanish translation of the same title.