Professor Tadeusz Bielicki (1932–2022)

Katarzyna A. Kaszycka, Monika Łopuszańska-Dawid, Alicja Szklarska, Anna Lipowicz, Halina Kołodziej


Tadeusz Bielicki – distinguished Polish anthropologist, member of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN), long-term director of the Department of Anthropology of PAN in Wroclaw (1971–2001), passed away on June 20, 2022. He was born in Warsaw in 1932 and began his studies at the University of Warsaw (1950–1953). These were interrupted in 1953 when he spent 6 months in prison on political charges. He was thereafter allowed to resume his studies, but at a different university. He chose the University of Wrocław. There he graduated with a M.Sc. in 1956, earned his Ph.D. in 1959, and D.Sc. in 1968. Since 1983, he has been corresponding member and, since 1996, a full member of the Polish Academy of Sciences. In 1971 he was appointed director of the Department of Anthropology of PAN in Wrocław and, in 1999, Chairman of the Division of Biological Sciences of PAN. From 1992–1996 he was vice-president of the European Anthropological Association. In 1959–1960 he studied at the University of California in Los Angeles on a post-doctoral fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation for a year, and in 1967–1968 taught as Visiting Professor at Washington State University. He has also worked as Visiting Professor at Vrije Universiteit in Brussels (1989) and the University of Texas at Austin (1991). He was one of 22 co-authors of the UNESCO Statement on Race and Racial Prejudice (Moscow, 1964). He was author of ca. 150 articles and research reports, many of them published in leading anthropological journals in the U.S. and Great Britain. Professor Bielicki is best known for his in-depth critique of the typological concept of race (1960s), issues related to human evolution (e.g., “Deviation-amplifying cybernetic systems and hominid evolution”, 1969), and, most notably, for his anthropological studies of social stratification. During the 1970s his research centered mainly on analyses of the tempo of growth and maturation during adolescence; since 1980 his interest shifted to the use of such data (as well as of data on rates of premature mortality among adults and on the incidence of obesity) for analyses of social-class inequalities in living standards and of inter-generation changes in the magnitude of such inequalities. For his outstanding achievements in the field of science, and in recognition of the significance of his work, he was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta.


Tadeusz Bielicki; anthropologist; social stratification; history of Polish anthropology; Polish Academy of Sciences

Full Text:

PDF (Polish)