Marvin Harris

Harris, Marvin, 1927–2001, American anthropologist, b. New York City, grad. Columbia (A.B., 1949; Ph.D., 1953). A member of the faculty of Columbia (1952–80), he was chairman of the anthropology dept. (1963–66). He then became a graduate research professor of anthropology at the Univ. of Florida (1981–2000). Harris's major research consisted of community studies in Latin America and ethnologies of Africa. He was very influential in the development of the theory of cultural materialism, believing that human society and culture is shaped by the practical material needs of daily life. His 17 books include Patterns of Race in the Americas (1964), The Rise of Anthropological Theory (1968), Cannibals and Kings (1977), America Now (1981), Cultural Materialism (1979), Good to Eat (1986), Culture, People, Nature (5th ed. 1988), Our Kind (1989), and Theories of Culture in Postmodern Times (1999).

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