Readers of Ethnic and Racial Studies, both those of long standing and more recent ones, will be greatly saddened to hear of the passing of Michael Banton, who died in hospital on 21 May 2018 at the age of ninety-one. He was for at least fifty years one of the most distinguished British scholars of race and ethnicity and had a world-wide reputation. Michael was Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Bristol, where he had been since founding its Department of Sociology in 1965 till he retired in 1992 to become Emeritus. He was always an assiduous supporter of the journal from its very beginning and, over its forty-year history, he contributed twenty-seven articles as author or co-author, many still landmark statements of their subject. He produced for the journal three review articles and nineteen ordinary book reviews; over the years of the journal’s existence he has also been a thorough and careful reviewer of more than two hundred article submissions. Many younger authors will have appreciated his thoughtful comments made to improve their work. Michael was also a member of our Editorial Board from its earliest years and, when it met in recent times, made frequent trenchant comments in giving his views about what the journal ought to be publishing.
The Editors and the Editorial Board extend their sympathies to all members of Michael’s family for their loss. His was a life well-lived with many achievements, both inside and outside academia. Those of us who have known him personally, whether over many years or only more recently, will miss him greatly – as a sociologist of international standing, as a colleague, and as a friend.
In his lifetime, Ethnic and Racial Studies published two appreciations of his great contributions to our field, by Rohit Barot (2006) on the occasion of his eightieth birthday and by Christopher Husbands (2016) on that of his ninetieth; these celebrated the qualities of his scholarly approach to race and ethnicity in the terms for which we shall long remember him.
A later issue of the journal will contain a number of personal tributes and views about his life, his work, and his contributions to ethnic and racial studies.
Christopher T. Husbands
Barot, Rohit. 2006. “Reflections on Michael Banton’s Contribution to Race and Ethnic Studies.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 29 (5): 785–796. doi: 10.1080/01419870600813827.
Husbands, Christopher T. 2016. “Michael Parker Banton: An Appreciation of His Life’s Work.” Ethnic and Racial Studies, 39 (11): 1907–1919. doi: 10.1080/01419870.2016.1190027.