Michigan State University

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JMC is Saddened to Announce the Death of Alumnus Stephen O. Murray

Stephen O. Murray (May 4, 1950-August 27, 2019)

Stephen O. Murray died in August in San Francisco of B-cell lymphoma, where he lived with his spouse Keelung Hong.   Stephen was a member of the second class at James Madison College in 1968, where he studied Justice, Morality, and Constitutional Democracy, while also majoring in Social Psychology at MSU.  An anthropologist, sociologist, and comparative historian, he was a pathbreaking and prolific scholar of sexual and gender diversity and social activist for LGBTQ rights.

After graduating from James Madison, Stephen received his Master’s in Sociology from the University of Arizona and his Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Toronto and continued in post-graduate work in Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley.  Stephen published a wide-ranging corpus of works exploring sexual and gender diversity that blazed the way for future scholars.  He wrote or edited sixteen books exploring the social and cultural context of different sexualities in an astounding number of geographical and historical eras.  His books include: Latin American Male Homosexualities (1995), Islamic Homosexualities (1997), Boy-Wives and Female Husbands: Studies in African Homosexualities (1998), and American Anthropology and Company: Historical Explorations (2013).  He was active in his professional associations, was a founding member of the Sociologists Gay Caucus (now Sociologists’ LGBTQ Caucus) in 1974, and helped to establish American Anthropological Association’s Anthropological Research Group on Homosexuality.     

Stephen remained grateful for his experience at James Madison College and contributed to its mission throughout his lifespan.  He will be mourned by all of those who were touched by his wit, his warmth, his dedication to scholarship and activism, and his devotion to his alma mater.

Read Stephen O. Murray's full obituary here.