May 11, 2009
Professor of Anthropology and Marine Sciences James Acheson is the University of Maine Alumni Association Distinguished Maine Professor. Acheson, an Augusta, Maine native, received a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Rochester in 1970 and has taught at UMaine since 1968. He has served as chair of the Department of Anthropology and as program coordinator for marine policy in the School of Marine Sciences. He also is a cooperating research professor in the Lobster Institute. Colleagues describe him as the consummate professor for his rigorous teaching and internationally recognized interdisciplinary research in environmental policy related to forests and fisheries. As a social scientist and economic anthropologist whose research connects the social, cultural and environmental components of marine policy, Acheson has provided invaluable service to the state. Acheson was integral in the establishment of a comanagement system in Maine's lobster industry that has since become a national model. In 2004, the Maine legislature recognized Acheson with an Expression of Recognition for his environmental policy research applied to the lobster and fishing industries. Acheson's forestry landowner research was cited last year as a National Science Foundation Highlight. Acheson is the author of 82 articles, focused primarily on the social science aspects of resource management. He also has written five books, including The Lobster Gangs of Maine and Capturing the Commons: Devising Institutions to Manage the Maine Lobster Industry. His most recent research includes an NSF grant for studying small-plot forestry land use in Maine, and another NSF grant for environmental policy research on the state's lobster and groundfish industries. Acheson received the American Anthropological Association's Solon T. Kimball Award for Public and Applied Anthropology in 2004 and the UMaine Presidential Research and Creative Achievement Award in 2005.