Rex of Savage Minds shares with us sobering news that famous cultural anthropologist Clifford Geertz has passed away. There was some skepticism that it maybe a bad joke, but unfortunately Clifford GeertzDr. Geertz’s death has been officially anounced by Institute for Advanced Study. Here’s an excerpt from the post,

“Clifford Geertz, an eminent scholar in the field of cultural anthropology known for his extensive research in Indonesia and Morocco, died at the age of 80 early yesterday morning of complications following heart surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Geertz was Professor Emeritus in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study, where he has served on the Faculty since 1970. Dr. Geertz’s appointment thirty-six years ago was significant not only for the distinguished leadership it would bring to the Institute, but also because it marked the initiation of the School of Social Science, which in 1973 formally became the fourth School at the Institute.

Dr. Geertz’s landmark contributions to social and cultural theory have been influential not only among anthropologists, but also among geographers, ecologists, political scientists, humanists, and historians. He worked on religion, especially Islam; on bazaar trade; on economic development; on traditional political structures; and on village and family life. A prolific author since the 1950s, Dr. Geertz’s many books include The Religion of Java (1960); Islam Observed: Religious Development in Morocco and Indonesia (1968); The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays (1973, 2000); Negara: The Theatre State in Nineteenth Century Bali (1980); and The Politics of Culture, Asian Identities in a Splintered World (2002). At the time of his death, Dr. Geertz was working on the general question of ethnic diversity and its implications in the modern world.”

I share Peter Goddard’s words that, “Cliff will be greatly missed, and we extend our deep sympathy to his wife, Dr. Karen Blu, and to his children, Erika and Benjamin.” Rest in peace Dr. Geertz.

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