March 29, 2001
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—Stanley J. Tambiah, the John J. McCloy ’16 Professor of American Institutions and International Relations at Amherst College and Esther and Stanley Rabb Professor of Anthropology at Harvard University, will deliver three lectures on “Formations in an Age of Globalization” at Amherst College in April.

The first, “Contesting the Nation State: Ethnic Conflict and Political Violence in South Asia,” takes place on Friday, April 6, in the Cole Assembly Room in Converse Hall; the second, “Transnational Migrations and Diasporas” on Thursday, April 12, in the Babbott Room in the Octagon; and the third, “Multiculturalism and Multiple Modernities” on Wednesday, April 18, in the Babbott Room. All three lectures begin at 4 p.m. and are free and open to the public.

Educated at the University of Ceylon and Cornell University, Tambiah has studied the cultures of South and Southeast Asia and the function of ritual in human society. A fellow of the British Academy, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Anthropological Association, the Royal Anthropological Association and a member of many other learned societies, Tambiah has also taught at Cambridge University and the University of Chicago.

His early fieldwork in Thailand focused on the relationships among religion, society and politics, in works such as World Conqueror and World Renouncer: A Study of Religion and Polity in Thailand Against a Historical Background (1976). Tambiah more recently has concentrated on issues relating to nation-state-making, ethnonationalist movements, ethic conflict and collective political violence in South Asia. He has written about the ethnonationalist conflict in Sri Lanka (Ethnic Fratricide and the Betrayal of Democracy (1986) and Buddhism Betrayed? (1992).) Most recently he has written a larger comparative work on similar conflicts in Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka, Leveling Crowds: Ethnonationalist Conflicts and Collective Violence in South Asia (1996).

Tambiah has also written about Magic, Science, Religion, and the Scope of Rationality (1990) in both Western and non-Western cultures, considering rationality, translation, commensurability of cultures, cultural universals and cultural relativism.

The John J. McCloy ’16 Professorship was established at Amherst College in 1983 to honor John J. McCloy and his outstanding career of service and accomplishment in American politics and international diplomacy. Professor Tambiah’s visit is hosted by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.