GANANATH OBEYESEKERE

Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus
Princeton University, USA

Gananath Obeyesekere is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at Princeton University.  He studied at the University of Ceylon, Peradeniya and graduated with first class honours in English; his PhD in Anthropology was from the University of Washington, Seattle and his post-doctoral work was at Cambridge University.   He has taught for twenty years in Princeton till he retired in 2000.  He was twice Chairman of the Department of Anthropology there.  Prior to that he was Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, San Diego, and earlier Professor of Sociology at Peradeniya.  He has given major public lectures all over the US, Europe and Australia and is the recipient of many awards among them the Guggenheim Fellowship, Visiting Distinguished Scholar at the London School of Economics, Mellon Fellow at the National Humanities Center in the US and Harold White Fellow at the Australian National library in Canberra.  Recently a group of younger Australian scholars brought out a book in his honour entitled, Body Trade: Captivity, Cannibalism and Colonialism in the Pacific, edited by Jeanette Hoorn and barbara Greed, Routledge, 2000.   He is the author of six books and over hundred scholarly articles.  His books are: Land Tenure in Village Ceylon: A Sociological and Historical Study, Cambridge University Press (1966); Medusa's Hair.. An Essay on Personal Symbols and Religious Experience, University of Chicago Press,1981; The Cult of the Goddess Pattini, University of Chicago Press, 1984; Buddhism Transformed (with Richard Gombrich), Princeton University Press, 1988; Medusa's Hair, (Japanese trans. by Shibuya Toshio), Tokyo, 1988; The Work of Culture: Symbolic Transformation in Psychoanalysis and Anthropology, University of Chicago Press, 1990; and The Apotheosis of Captain Cook: European Mythmaking in the Pacific, Princeton University Press, 1992.  This last controversial book was awarded the prize for the most outstanding book in Sociology and Anthropology for 1992 by the Association of American Publishers and the 1993 Gottschalk prize of the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies.  His most recent book is Imagining Karma: Ethical Transformation in Amerindian, Buddhist and Greek Rebirth, University of California Press, to appear July 2002.  Several of his books are being currently translated into Japanese. Professor Obeyesekere fives alternately in Kandy and in Manhattan, New York.