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.