Marilyn Strathern

Marilyn Strathern

Former William Wyse Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge and Life Fellow, Girton College Cambridge

April 17, 2018 — 4:10 PM
Alumni House, Toll Room — Berkeley Campus

Add to Google Calendar 04/17/2018 4:10 PM 04/17/2018 6:00 PM America/Los_Angeles Souls in Other Selves, and the Immortality of the Body

About the Lecture Sometimes the soul seems a more precise concept than the body.  This lecture goes to a place and time where all kinds of beings (including food plants) have souls and where the bodily basis of life is … Continued

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About the Lecture

Sometimes the soul seems a more precise concept than the body.  This lecture goes to a place and time where all kinds of beings (including food plants) have souls and where the bodily basis of life is immortalized through cloning.  It comments on the way present-day anthropology brings fresh illumination to what we thought we knew.

About Marilyn Strathern

Professor Strathern’s comparative research in Melanesia, and the reflections on Euro-American culture it prompts, is fueled by an abiding interest in gender and kinship.  Within the discipline she is best known for The Gender of the Gift (first drafted while a visiting scholar at Berkeley), an anthropological-feminist discourse on the individual and society, and outside the discipline for her writings on audit cultures and regimes of accountability.  Her theoretical work is associated with a critical approach to relationality, and she is at present working on a book simply called Relations.

Marilyn Strathern received her B.A. in archaeology and anthropology (1963) and her Ph.D. in social anthropology from Cambridge University (1968). Strathern held positions at the Australian National University in Canberra and at Girton and Trinity Colleges in Cambridge, as well as guest lecturing at University of California, Berkeley. In 1985, she was appointed chair of the Department of Social Anthropology at Manchester University before returning to Cambridge to serve as William Wyse Professor of Social Anthropology from 1993 until her retirement in 2008. Other notable positions include that of Mistress (head) and then Life Fellow of Girton College at Cambridge, Hon. Life President of the UK and Commonwealth Association of Social Anthropologists, Presidential Chair of the European Association of Social Anthropologists, Honorary Fellow of Trinity College, and former member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics.

A prolific author, Professor Strathern has published 15 books and a multitude of book chapters and articles in peer-reviewed academic journals over the past four decades. Among her most notable works are Women in Between. Female Roles in a Male World (1971), now regarded as a classic ethnographic text, and her highly influential The Gender of the Gift (1988), which she describes as a ‘gentle deconstruction’ of gender relations in New Guinea and anthropological theories of society in general. She has actively lectured around the world since 1980.