Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

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Understanding Culture: Conversation with Gananath Obeyesekere, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Princeton University; March 19, 2003, by Harry Kreisler

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.

Welcome to a Conversation with History. I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. Our guest is Professor Gananath Obeyesekere, who is Professor of Anthropology Emeritus at Princeton University. One of the world's leading anthropologists, he is visiting the campus as the Foerster Lecturer for the year 2003. He is the author most recently of Imagining Karma, published by UC Press.

  1. Background ... influence of father ... growing up in the colonial period ... independence ... effect on his education ... study of literary criticism ... comparative literature ... drawn into folk culture through excursions ... collecting folk songs ... graduate education
  2. Being an Anthropologist ... first research ... studying one's own culture with distance ... influence of Freud ... other intellectual influences ... importance of history ... storytelling
  3. Between East and West ... approach as an anthropologist ... study of Captain Cook ... European myth of white civilizer as god ... Imagining Karma ... universality of rebirth theory
  4. Advice for Students ... avoid trendiness

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