Marilyn Strathern

 

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Field:
Lived: 1941-

Marilyn Strathern was born on 6th March 1941 in Bromley Kent. In 1960 she went to read Archaeology and Anthropology at Girton College, having become interested in the subject after reading Rousseau in school history classes. Girton was then one of only two colleges allowing women students, and her mother had also studied there in the 1930s. She achieved a PhD in 1968 and then held posts at Australian National University in Canberra and University of California (Berkeley). She returned to Girton, in the 70s, becoming a fellow, until taking up the post of Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester. She returned to Cambridge for the final time in 1993 upon being made William Wyse Professor of Anthropology, a post she held until her retirement in 2008. She is retiring as Mistress of Girton in October 2009.

 

Marilyn Strathern was born on 6th March 1941 in Bromley Kent. In 1960 she went to Girton College to read Archaeology and Anthropology, having become interested in the subject after reading Rousseau in school history classes. She achieved a PhD in 1968 then held posts at Australian National University and University of California (Berkeley). She returned to Girton in the 70s until taking up the post of Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester. She returned to Cambridge again in 1993 upon being made William Wyse Professor of Anthropology, a post she held until retirement in 2008. Strathern’s fieldwork has focused on the Pacific island of Papua New Guinea, and her interests include gender, reproductive technology and intellectual property. She is the author of numerous books on these and many other topics. She questions categories such as ‘nature’ and ‘culture’ which are often found in the work of Western thinkers and presumed to be universal by describing the very different concepts used by the people of Papua New Guinea. She is the author of numerous books on these and many other topics, her most famous being The Gender of the Gift, published in 1988. Others include Women in Between, Partial Connections and After Nature. Strathern is greatly respected by many anthropologists and her work is an innovative, individual and unique contribution to anthropology. Recognition for her work includes her DBE for services to social anthropology in 2001 and election as lifetime President of the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth in 2008. She is an honorary fellow of Trinity College and holds honorary doctorates at universities from Oxford to Athens and, of course, the University of Papua New Guinea. Sources: “Marilyn Strathern: http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/information/biography/pqrst/strathern_marilyn.html “Marilyn Strathern” http://www.girton.cam.ac.uk/fellows-and-staff/mistress/ “Marilyn Strathern” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marilyn_Strathern “Marilyn Strathern” http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=164347 “Marilyn Strathern” http://www.ukwhoswho.com/view/article/oupww/whoswho/U36504/STRATHERN_Dame_Ann_Marilyn?index=1&results=QuicksearchResults&query=0

 

Marilyn Strathern was a student and then a fellow here:

Girton College

Girton College

Address:
Girton College,
,
Cambridge
CB3 0JG

For opening hours and entry costs please see the website.

 

 

Marilyn Strathern did much of her work here:

Department of Social Anthropology

Department of Social Anthropology

Address:
Department of Social Anthropology,
Free School Lane,
Cambridge
CB2 3RF

For opening hours and entry costs please see the website.

 

 

Property as persons and things

Necessary equipment:

Method:

Strathern wrote a famous anthropological book called Gender of the Gift in which she explored the concepts of personhood (essential properties by which we recognise a human being as a person) between people in different societies. Now enshrined in modern law is an inalienable right which means no one has a right to buy or sell you as a person. Think of all the various situations where people are or have been exchanged for money or goods. What brought about change?

What's going on?

 

Marilyn Strathern does not seem to have an associated activity.

 

 

Marilyn Strathern is currently included on the following tours:

 

 

 

Web references

[references will be made available here]

Random facts:

  • Portrait artist Daphne Todd painted Strathern's portrait which won the Royal Society of Portrait Painters' Ondaatje Prize for Portraiture in 2001. The artist painted the Mistress of Girton with two heads.
  • Professor Strathern has creatively rethought Melanesian concepts of personhood using concepts drawn from Chaos Theory, particularly fractals.
  • Marilyn Strathern is noted for her difficult conceptual writing and for this reason leading anthropologist Alfred Gell to write a playful tribute to her in 'Strathernograms, or, the Semiotics of Mixed Metaphors' published in 1999.