American anthropologist Clifford Geertz (1926-2006) earned his PhD from the prestigious Harvard University, where he followed the interdisciplinary approach pioneered by the institution's Department of Social Relations. Previous generations of anthropologists had imported their own value systems and culture, regardless ...
The author wishes to thank the British Association for American Studies, British Association for Canadian Studies, and the Eccles Centre at the British Library for the award as Eccles Centre Visiting Professor in North American Studies 2008-2009, which made possible the research, reflection, and writing of parts of this essay. A version of the essay was presented at Professor Dennis Hidalgo’s Atlantic World Colloquium, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, 26 March 2012.
On the theory of thick description and his own method of ethnography, see Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures; Selected Essays (New York: Basic Books, 1973); on the ethnography of Virginia Indians, see Karen Ordahl Kupperman, Ch. 2., “Reading Indian Bodies,” in Indians and English: Facing Off in Early America (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2000), 41-76; see also Crandall Shifflett, : “Clothing and Self Presentation,” in American Centuries: The Ideas, Issues, and Trends that Made U.S. History, ed. Karen Ordahl Kupperman (New York: Facts on File, 2011), 31-37.
The interpretation of cultures : selected essays
A collection of essays meant as an assessment of what could be done and had been done since The Interpretation of Cultures (). In these essays Geertz laid a claim for interpretative anthropology as one form of science, not restricting it to the narrow scientific premises of causality but expanding scientific understanding to include history, sentiment, affect, and meaning.