LEACH, Edmund Ronald. Sidmouth, Devon 10.11.1910 — Cambridge 6.1.1989. Sir. British Anthropologist. Son of William Edmund Leach and Mildred Brierley, educated at Marlborough College. Studies at Cambridge (Clare College). B.A. 1932, then four year in China serving a British business company. A visit to the Austronesian Tao (Yami) people of Taiwan aroused his interest in anthropology and back in England he studied it at London School of Economics (under Raymond Firth). In 1938 fieldwork among Kurds of Iraq, in 1939 war prevented him from going to Kachin of Burma. In 1939-45 served in British Burmese army, finally as Major. M.A. Ph.D. 1947. From 1953 Lecturer at Cambridge, 1957 Reader, 1972 Professor. Retired in 1979. Fellow of British Academy 1972, knighted 1975. Married Celia Joyce, a painter and author, one daughter and one son.
As anthropologist Leach combined British structural-functionalism (Radcliffe-Brown and Malinowski), and French structuralism (Levi-Strauss).
Publications: Diss. Cultural change, with special reference to the hill tribes of Burma and Assam. 732 p. 1947.
– Political Systems of Highland Burma: A Study of Kachin Social Structure. 12+324 p. London School of Economics Monogr. on Social Anthropology 1. Cambridge, MA 1954.
– “Polyandry, Inheritance and the Definition of Marriage”, Man 55, 1955, 182-186.
– Edited: Aspects of Caste in South India, Ceylon and North-West Pakistan. 8+148 p. Cambridge 1960.
– Pul Eliya. A Village in Ceylon. A Study of Land Tenure and Kinship. 15+344 p. L. 1961.– Much not related with South Asia.
Sources: *S.J. Tambiah, Edmund Leach: An Anthropological Life. 2002; Wikipedia.
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