I met Connie Sutton in 1987 at the AAA Meetings in Chicago not long after I had published my first monograph on class, culture and ideology in urban Jamaica. As I recall, I had participated in a Caribbean panel on religion, presenting some of my subsequent research on women and Pentecostalism. Connie introduced herself at the conclusion of the panel. We had lunch. We discovered that we were both University of Chicago graduates and ‘no’, I was not a student of the Sydney-based Chandra Jayawardena but rather the Chicago-based Raymond Smith. I had sojourned in Chicago for just five years. This was the initial event in a friendship that endured for 30 years across an ocean and a continent. Connie opened her famous Grinnell home to me, and for a couple of decades I was at least an annual visitor. She clasped me close to American anthropology which has remained my intellectual home. Located far apart, we faced a shared challenge. Caribbean anthropology - concerned with the New World’s legacy of inequities so great they could not be put aside - was not fashionable at the time. My regular visits to New York armed me for the circumstance at home and stood me in excellent stead when my research focus, for a time, shifted to Central Australia. As a Caribbean ethnographer, two issues we discussed stand out: Connie’s completely convincing critique of Peter Wilson’s opposition between reputation and respectability as a gendered one between Caribbean men and women. We had both known numerous powerful and feisty Caribbean women especially from the working class. And where Pentecostal women were concerned, for me the striking feature was the tension between these orientations within the one person. I was also moved but not quite persuaded by Connie’s proposal, subsequent to her West African research, of the specifically African nature of the Caribbean female-centred household. I was, however, swept away by her growing pan-African historical perspective, one long-held by a swathe of Jamaican activists extending back to the Harlem Renaissance. So long with us, so long her loss will be mourned. Connie Sutton lived her anthropology like none other I have known.
--Diane Austin-Broos, University of Sydney