USA/Sri Lanka

Stanley Jeyaraja Tambiah

1997 Balzan Prize for Social Anthropology

For his penetrating social-anthropological analysis of the fundamental problems of ethnic violence in South East Asia and the original studies on the dynamics of Buddhist societies, which have opened the way to an innovative and rigorous social-anthropological approach to the internal dynamics of different civilizations.

STANLEY JEYARAJA TAMBIAH was born in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) on January 16, 1929 (†2014).

Lecturer at the University of Ceylon (1951-60);UNESCO Technical Assistance Expert in Thailand (1960-63);University of Cambridge, U. K.: Smuts Fellow; Commonwealth Fellow of St. John’s College (1963-64); Lecturer, (1964-72); Fellow of Clare Hall (1965-70); Fellow of King’s College and Tutor for Graduate Students and Director of Studies in Social Anthropology (1970-72); Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago (1973-76); Esther and Sidney Rabb Professor of Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University, and Curator of South Asian Ethnology, Peabody Museum, Harvard University (since 1976).

He served as the President of the Association for Asian Studies (1989-90), is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1984) and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (1994).

Honorary degrees from Jaffna and Peradeniya Universities, Sri Lanka (1980, 1991) and from the University of Chicago (1991). He was awarded the Fukuoka International Academic Prize (1998).

In addition to numerous articles, his writings include the following books:

  • Buddhism and the Spirit Cults in Northeast Thailand, Cambridge University Press, 1970.
  • Bridewealth and Dowry (Jack Goody, co-author), Cambridge University Press, 1973.
  • World Conqueror and World Renouncer, A Study of Religion and Polity in Thailand Against a Historical Background, Cambridge University Press, 1976.
  • The Buddhist Saints of the Forest and the Cult of Amulets, A Study in Charisma, Hagiography, Sectarianism and Millennial Buddhism, Cambridge University Press, 1984. Culture, Thought and Social Action, Harvard University Press, 1985.
  • Sri Lanka: Ethnic Fratricide and the Dismantling of Democracy, University of Chicago Press, 1986.Magic, Science, Religion and the Scope of Rationality, Cambridge University Press, 1990.
  • Buddhism Betrayed? Religion, Politics and Violence in Sri Lanka, University of Chicago Press, 1992.
  • Leveling Crowds: Ethnonationalist Conflicts and Collective Violence in South Asia, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1996.
  • His most recent book, Edmdund Leach: An Anthropological Life, will be published in February 2002, by Cambridge University Press.

(December 2001)

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