Remembering Clifford Geertz: Some links

For those who are interesting in learning more about Geertz or did not get a chance to meet him or see him speak in person, I’d like to recommend Alan Macfarlane’s “video interview”: with Geertz. It is part of Macfarlane’s “Interviews With Ancestors”: websire, which I’ve mentioned in the past but which I’ll link to again since it is such an incredible and wonderful resource. Macfarlane has also made the “audio of Geertz’s 2004 lecture”: available as well as “the full video taped interview”: for people who would like to watch the whole thing.

There are also some other links that we have mentioned here on SM in the past that will help people who are interested in learning more about Geertz, including his memoir “A Life In Learning”: and the exhaustive “HyperGeertz Catalog”: Many of his essays appear on the web as well.


Alex Golub is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. His book Leviathans at The Gold Mine has been published by Duke University Press. You can contact him at

8 thoughts on “Remembering Clifford Geertz: Some links

  1. […] Needed some relax and looked at Savage Minds blog and read this sad news from Institute for Advanced Study. Clifford Geertz has passed away […]

  2. Yesterday, there was only one email that has a lot of attention from me. It was an email from mailing list of scholars interested in Indonesia. The message was short email but could sadden alot of people. Prof. Geertz passed away. As an Indonesian, i could not thank enough to his contribution to Indonesia as a country or object of study.

  3. Sad news. Can anyone help me on tracking down a quote from Geertz? Somewhere he said something to the effect that we start out in life with the possibility of living 1,000 different lives, but we end up only living one. Source please?

  4. My uncle knew Geertz from shared decades on the Council on Foreign Relations. He said he was a very nice man, but he was always surprised to find an anthropologist like Geertz to be so politically conservative.

  5. This is in response to Richard’s inquiry about the Geertz quote. I think this is from the first essay from “Interpretation of cultures: selected essays,” the essay on “thick description.” Hope this helps.

  6. [O]ut of such reformulations of the concept of culture and of the role of culture in human life comes, in turn, a definition of man stressing not so much the empirical commonalities in his behavior, from place to place and time to time, but rather the mechanisms by whose agency the breadth and indeterminateness of his inherent capacities are reduced to the narrowness and specificity of his actual accomplishments. One of the most significant facts about us may finally be that we all begin with the natural equipment to live a thousand kinds of life but end in the end having lived only one.” From “The Impact of the Concept of Culture on the Concept of Man,” in The Interpretation of Cultures, p. 45.

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