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Dame Marilyn Strathern FBA

Social & Cultural Anthropology, Other Branches

About this Fellow

Strathern studied Social Anthropology at Girton College, Cambridge (PhD 1968). After a spell in the Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, she held posts in Canberra (ANU) and Port Moresby before returning to the UK. This was when she was Hon. Editor of the RAI journal Man. She moved to her first full departmental appointment in 1985, taking up the chair in Social Anthropology at Manchester University, to be followed by the William Wyse Professorship of Social Anthropology in Cambridge in 1993. Strathern was concurrently Mistress of Girton College between1988-2009. Papua New Guinea has been a principal area of fieldwork, from 1964 to most recently in 2015, although she is also intrigued by developments in knowledge practices in the UK and Europe. Initial work on gender relations led in two directions: feminist scholarship & the new reproductive technologies (1980s-1990s), and legal systems & intellectual and cultural property (1970s, 1990-00s). Subsequent work on regimes of audit and accountability has attracted interdisciplinary attention. Formerly Presidential Chair of the European Association of Social Anthropologists, Trustee of the National Museums & Galleries on Merseyside, and member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, she is now Hon. Life President of the Association of Social Anthropologists.


Current post

  • Professor Emerita, Cambridge University

Past Appointments

  • Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Manchester, 1985 - 1993
  • William Wyse Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge, 1993 - 2008
  • Mistress, Girton College University of Cambridge, 1998 - 2009

British Academy Appointments

  • Member of Council, 2000 - 2002


Partial Connections 1991

Property, substance and effect 1999

Women in between 1972

The gender of the gift 1988

After nature 1992

Kinship, Law and the Unexpected 2005

Other Anthropology and Geography Fellows

Professor Stephen Daniels

The history of landscape representation, design and management; the landscape arts of eighteenth century Britain; the history of geographical knowledge and imagination

Dr Alan Baker

Historical geography: the development through time and distribution in space of leisure-related voluntary associations (especially musical societies and sports clubs) in rural France during the nineteenth century

Professor Alan Barnard

Comparative ethnography of southern Africa; contemporary hunter-gatherers; the history of anthropology; the social anthropology of human origins, especially the co-evolution of language and kinship

Professor Matthew Gandy

Cultural, urban, and environmental geography, from the middle decades of the nineteenth century to the present, with particular interests in landscape, infrastructure, and bio-diversity