I cannot remember the first meeting of Connie Sutton. It was sometime in 2000 or 2001 but the moment I met her felt like I had known her forever. She took me in under her wing like a little sister and nurtured me intellectually. When I was with her there never seemed to be a time before not knowing her. She was kind, generous, a great listener and intellectually and politically committed to knowledge by way of achieving justice.
As early as only a few months after meeting Connie, I would often leave her home or office with boxes of books and documents that she so willingly passed on to me. I remember loading the various anthropological gems from her fieldwork in West Africa into my car and driving them from her apartment on Manhattan’s upper west side to my office in New Haven. There were a few trips like that – late night drop offs in my office after a social evening at Connie Sutton’s place. She opened her home and life to so many of us. Those moments were priceless and shape multiple generations of scholars.
Connie Sutton was a giant. I always felt – somehow – that she would live on forever. This news of her passing has left so many of us wanting more, upset that we didn’t have that one last time: that one last discussion, that smile, that hug, those words of encouragement.
Connie was incredible. She was a role model and example of what a scholar, mentor and a caring human should be. She believed in the power of anthropology’s critical tools and believed in its potential to transform our world. Connie’s passing is a great loss to us all. Her impact will live on. Rest in peace Connie. We love you.
Kamari Clarke, Carleton University