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The Legacies of Meyer Fortes - conference at Trinity College

When Jun 30, 2015 12:00 AM to
Jul 01, 2015 12:00 AM
Where Trinity College, Cambridge
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Known as one of the old masters of our discipline, Fortes helped to shape, first with Radcliffe-Brown and Evans-Pritchard at Oxford, the mid-twentieth century intellectual landscape of British social anthropology. After moving to Cambridge, along with Edmund Leach and Jack Goody, he brought up a group of some of the brightest and most influential scholars in the subsequent generation. Some of these remember their experience at Cambridge in the sixties as a time of profound fracture, whereas for others the era provided openings to new terrains of knowledge. The legacies and enduring relevance of Leach have received renewed attentions in recent years; the same has not happened for Fortes.

This conference aims to change this imbalance in the heritage of modern social anthropology. It brings together scholars who knew and learned from Fortes with others who are actively rediscovering his work and who wish to know more about him and his times. Themes to be discussed would include: Fortes’ insistence that kinship and politics are mutually constitutive orders; the transformation of this idea with the rise of exchange theories; concepts of inheritance in Fortes’ early work; Leach’s ‘modernism’ versus Fortes’ ‘traditionalism’; African anthropology in the age of decolonization; and contradictions in the idea of the amity of kinship.

Taking part from the Division of Social Anthropology are Professor Marilyn Strathern, Professor Carrie Humphrey, Dr Susan Drucker-Brown, Professor Heonik Kwon and Professor Harri Englund.

The conference The Legacies of Meyer Fortes will take place on June 30 – July 1, 2015, at Trinity College, University of Cambridge.

Although this is a small conference mainly with invited papers and guests, limited space is available for general participation.  For those who are interested to join, please contact Professor Heonik Kwon (hik21 [at] before 1st May.