Claude Lévi-Strauss: Remembering the French anthropologist on his 110th birth anniversary
Claude Lévi-Strauss was an eminent figure in French philosophy who considerably altered the then-prevalent Western outlook towards culture and civilisation
Often referred to as one of the fathers of modern anthropology, Claude Lévi-Strauss was an eminent figure in French philosophy who considerably altered the then-prevalent Western outlook towards culture and civilisation.
28 November, 2018 marks the 110th birth anniversary of this anthropologist, who rose to prominence after the publication of his work Tristes Tropiques (A World on the Wane) in 1961. Through his writings, he described culture as a phenomenon with certain underlying structures and behaviours uniform across communities, irrespective of other societal differences. His works were greatly influenced by notable figures such as the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure and the anthropologist Franz Boas.
Born in Belgium on this day in 1908, Lévi-Strauss was raised in Paris and attended Sorbonne where he studied philosophy and law. After a brief sojourn in Brazil, he enlisted in the French army during World War II. He migrated to the New York City in 1941 following France's capitulation.
Among his notable works include Myth and Meaning, and his early work, The Elementary Structures of Kinship and Structural Anthropology. Lévi-Strauss was bestowed with an honorary doctorate from Ivy League universities such as Harvard, Yale, Oxford and Columbia, and was also the recipient of the Erasmus Prize in 1973. He was also a honoured with the Grand-croix de la Legion d’honneur, the Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres and the Meister-Eckhart-Prize, among other awards.
Lévi-Strauss passed away in France on 30 October 2009, a few weeks before his 101st birthday.
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