Gananath Obeyesekere, Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus, Princeton University
March 18, 2003 Toll Room, Alumni House, UC Berkeley Campus
Distinguished anthropologist Gananath Obeyesekere investigates and compares rebirth beliefs in an array of cultures and religions, including North American Indian, Ancient Greek and Buddhism.
ABOUT GANANATH OBEYESEKERE A distinguished anthropologist and highly recognized scholar, Gananath Obeyesekere has made fundamental contributions in the fields of philosophy of religion, social theory, psychological anthropology, and Buddhism. He is currently engaged in fieldwork in remote regions of Sri Lanka studying the manner in which hunting groups influenced Buddhist practices. Much of his research has focused on psychoanalysis and anthropology, and the ways in which personal symbolism is related to religious experience. Obeyesekere has published numerous articles and reviews. His recent books include, Buddhism Transformed (1990), The Apotheosis of Captain Cook: European Mythmaking in the Pacific (1993), and Imagining Karma: Ethical Transformation in Amerindian, Buddhist and Greek Rebirth (2002). Obeyesekere is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Princeton University where he has taught since 1980, and has previously chaired his department. In 1955 he received his B.A. with first class honors from the University of Ceylon. He earned his M.A. from the University of Washington 1955 and his Ph.D. in 1964. Obeyesekere has received many prestigious honors and awards and has been elected a fellow of several societies, including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Humanities Center, and senior fellow of the Institute for Asian Studies.