Professor Dame Marilyn Strathern

Elected: 2018

Area(s): Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences

Specialist Subject(s): Anthropology

Born in north Wales, Professor Dame Marilyn Strathern’s career as an anthropologist began as a researcher for the New Guinea Research Unit of the Australian National University, followed by roles teaching at Girton College and then Trinity College, University of Cambridge. In 1985, Strathern was appointed Chair of the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester, then William Wyse Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge from 1993 to 2008, and Mistress of Girton College, Cambridge, from 1998 to 2009.

Noted for distinguished contributions to field research and for pioneering feminist perspectives in social science, Strathern’s work has covered Melanesian culture with a focus on gender relations, legal anthropology and feminist scholarship, while her publications on the culture of the United Kingdom include studies of kinship, audit culture, and reproductive and genetic technologies.

Strathern is a prolific author and her publications include 64 journal articles, 78 book chapters, and 18 books written (or edited) alone or with another author. Her honours include the British Academy’s Leverhulme Medal, the T. H. Huxley Memorial Medal, the W. H. R. Rivers Memorial Medal and Honorary Foreign Membership of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. To recognise Dame Marilyn Strathern’s longstanding research connection with Papua New Guinea she was awarded the country’s 30th Anniversary of Independence Medal (2005).