University of Nevada, Reno

Basque Center


William A. Douglass


William A. Douglass Distinguished
Scholar Award




Center for Basque Studies establishes
William A. Douglass Distinguished Scholar Award

The Center for Basque Studies of the University of Nevada, Reno is pleased to announce the establishment of the William A. Douglass Distinguished Scholar Award in conjunction with the ministries of Education, Culture and Foreign Affairs of the Basque Government. The Douglass Scholar will be a specialist in Basque Studies selected by the Center annually. The scholar will be chosen from anywhere in the world on the basis of his/her contribution to Basque Studies and consistent record of research achievement and scholarly innovation.

Scholars will be expected to complete a major research or writing project during their tenure, the results of which will normally be published by the Center. The scholar may also be asked to develop and co-organize an international conference, to be sponsored by the Center, regarding his/her area of expertise. The period of the award is September 1 to July 31.

William A. Douglass
Dr. William Douglass was hired in 1967 to initiate the Basque Studies Program (now Center for Basque Studies) at the Desert Research Institute / University of Nevada, Reno, and served as its Coordinator for over thirty years. During that time he expanded the activities of the Program to include development of a library collection, instruction of college courses and eventual establishment of a Basque Ph.D. program, publication of a semi-annual newsletter, publication of a book series in English on the Basques, and organization of a summer school in the Basque Country which later developed into the University Studies Abroad Consortium.

During these years he continued to carry out anthropological research and fieldwork, mainly on the Basques. His research has resulted in publication of some twenty books and numerous articles on such topics as peasant society, ethnic groups and ethnicity maintenance, Basque society, Mediterranean social structure, and family history. In 1968, he and Professor Jon Bilbao jointly initiated a study of the historical movement of Basques into the New World, which was incorporated into the publication Amerikanuak: Basques in the New World (Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1975; reprint 2005). In 1979 he published Beltran, Basque Sheepman of the American West, a biography of a Basque sheep rancher in eastern Nevada. He also carried out extensive fieldwork among the Basque and Italian sugarcane cutters of Australia and wrote two works on their immigration into that part of the world: From Italy to Ingham. Italians in North Queensland (St. Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 1995), and Azúcar amargo. Vida y fortuna de los cortadores de caña italianos y vascos en la Australia tropical (Lejona: University of the Basque Country Press, 1996). In 1996, he co-authored, with Joseba Zulaika, Terror and Taboo. The Follies, Fables and Faces of Terrorism. (New York and London: Routledge).

Throughout his career, William Douglass was dedicated to meeting the Center’s major goal of bringing information about the Basques to the general public. His implementation of the activities of the Center as well his extensive research and many publications on the Basques serve as testimony to his success in achieving this goal. The many honors he has received from Basque people and institutions—an Honorary Doctorate awarded in 1984 by the University of the Basque Country, his naming in 1998 as one of twenty corresponding members of Euskaltzaindia (the Basque Language Academy), and the 1999 Lagun Onari Award for distinguished service to the Basque people given by Eusko Jaurlaritza (Basque Government)—reflect the great respect and appreciation of his work held by the Basques.




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