Obituary - Ernest Gellner

Elizabeth Vance (epoland@OSF1.GMU.EDU)
Sat, 11 Nov 1995 13:53:34 -0500

This obituary was in the Washington Post, 11 November 1995 (Saturday)

Social Anthropologist

Ernest Gellner, 69, a philosopher and social anthropologist
whose influential work, "Nations and Nationalism", provided an
understanding to post-Cold War political shifts, died Nov. 5 in Prague
after a heart attack.

Dr. Gellner was a professor of philosophy at the London School
of Economics from 1962 to 1984. he headed the social anthropology
department at Cambridge University from 1984 to 1993. He then helped
set up the Center for the Study of Nationalism at the new Central
European University in Prague, where he was research director until his

In the 1960's, he published extensively on the Soviet Union and
its satellite states, bringing anthropology works in the Russian
language to a wider audience. His anthropological field work in Morocco
resulted in "Saints of the Atlas", a study of how holy men keep the
peace among nomadic Berber shepherds of the High Atlas mountains. His
most recent work, published in 1994, was "Conditions of Liberty: Civil
Society and Its Rivals," about democracy in the late 20th century.