GELL, Alfred

GELL, Alfred Antony Francis (born Antony Francis Gell). 12.6.1945 — 28.1.1997. British Social Anthropologist. Son of Professor Philip Gell, an Immunologist, and his wife Susan. Studies at Trinity College, Cambridge (M.Phil. under E. Leach) and London School of Economics (Ph.D. 1973 under R. Firth). Taught at University of Sussex, from 1974 at A.N.U. in Canberra. Finally from 1979-97 Reader at London School of Economics. Fellow of British Academy 1995. Died of cancer.

As an anthropologist Gell’s main interests were art, language, symbolism and ritual. Fieldwork in India (Muria Gonds in Andhra Pradesh, 1977-78), but his main field was Melanesia.

Publications: Diss. publ. as Metamorphosis of the cassowaries: Umeda society, language and ritual. 1975.

– “The Market Wheel: Symbolic Aspects of an Indian Tribal Market”, Man 17, 1982, 470-491.

– “Exalting the King and Obstructing the State: A Political Interpretation of Royal Ritual in Bastar District, Central India”, JRAnthrInst N.S. 3, 1997, 433-450.

– E. Hirsch (ed.), The Art of Anthropology: Essays and Diagrams. L. 1999.

– Writings on Melanesia, etc.

Sources: *E. Hirsch, Amer. Anthropologist 101, 1999, 152-155; A. MacFarlane, Proc. Br. Acad. 120, 2003, 123-147 with photo; Wikipedia.

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