November 05, 2006

Clifford Geertz, 1926-2006

Jeff Weintraub has a nice appreciation of Clifford Geertz, who died last week, along with links to other appreciations of this great scholar. Geertz's work displayed a rare combination of depth and subtlety, and a resolute refusal to accept easy answers or facile generalizations about culture. It's a testimony to his influence that "thick description" became a term of art widely used not just in anthropology but in the social sciences and humanities, including linguistics (it gets 188,000 Google hits), even if he sometimes raised an eyebrow at the way people deployed the phrase. I knew Cliff a bit, and fondly recall both his personal warmth and intellectual generosity. He will be missed.

Posted by Geoff Nunberg at November 5, 2006 01:23 PM