MacArthur Fellows Program

Eric Wolf

Anthropologist | Class of 1990

Bronx, New York
67 at time of award
March 7, 1999
Area of Focus
Cultural Anthropology
Published August 1, 1990

About Eric's Work

Eric Wolf was an anthropologist whose work compared and synthesized historical factors and trends across centuries and civilizations.

Much of his work focused on how the categories of race, ethnicity, and culture developed over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth-centuries.  Wolf also studied the effects of European and American expansion in relation to anthropological theory.  His research and writing have been influential among scholars interested in the comparative study of social change.  His books include Sons of the Shaking Earth (1959), Peasant Wars of the Twentieth Century (1969), The Human Condition in Latin America (1972) Europe and the People Without History (1982), Envisioning Power (1999) and Pathways of Power (2001).  He also contributed to a number of publications, including the American Anthropologist, Comparative Studies in History and Society, and Revista Mexicana de Antropologia.


Wolf was the Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Lehman College and the Graduate School of the City University of New York.  A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship (1960) and a National Endowment for the Humanities Senior Fellowship (1973), he was also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the National Academy of Sciences.

Wolf received a B.A. (1946) from Queens College and a Ph.D. (1951) from Columbia University. 

Last updated January 1, 2005

Select News Coverage of Eric Wolf
March 10, 1999
"Eric R. Wolf, 76, an Iconoclastic Anthropologist"
The New York Times
Eric Wolf , 1990 MacArthur Fellow
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