I have been think a lot of Geertz lately, and the influence he has as the big daddy of literary ethnography. When I was accepted as a Member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study back in 2006, it was Geertz’s theme year. I was going to be a member of a seminar that he was going to lead called “The Third World Now.” When I got to the Institute, I was even more thrilled to realize that my office was only three doors down from his office.
Unfortunately, by the time I arrived in September of 06, Geertz was already in the hospital. He passed away before I ever got a chance to meet him.
It was a fantastic year anyway, and Joan Scott did a brilliant job of leading the Third World Now seminar. I was also lucky enough to be in Princeton for the beautiful memorial service they had for Geertz in the spring of 2007, with almost everyone who was anyone in anthropology in attendance. But to this day, I still wish I had been given the chance to share at least a couple of hours with the Master.
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