Clifford Geertz was born in San Francisco in 1926. He holds degrees from Antioch College (A.B., Philosophy, 1950) and Harvard University (Ph.D., Anthropology, 1956) and has taught at Harvard University, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Chicago, Oxford University, and Princeton University. Professor Geertz was a Senior Career Fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health from 1964-1970. In 1970 he became Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton, NJ) and since 1982 has been the Harold F. Linder Professor of Social Science.

Professor Geertz has done fieldwork in Indonesia (Java, Bali, Sumatra, Sulawesi) and Morocco. His books, which have been translated into many languages, include Peddlers and Princes (1963), Islam Observed: Religious Development in Morocco and Indonesia (1968), The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays (1973), Negara: The Theatre State in Nineteenth Century Bali (1980), Local Knowledge: Further Essays in Interpretive Anthropology (1983), Works and Lives: The Anthropologist as Author (1988), and After the Fact: Two Countries, Four Decades, One Anthropologist (1995). He is a member of the editorial board of Daedalus, the Journal of American Folklore, History and Anthropology, and Common Knowledge; he has also been a contributing editor of the American Anthropologist.

Clifford Geertz has been awarded the Talcott Parsons (Social Science) Prize from the America Academy of Arts and Sciences (1974), the Sorokin Prize from the American Sociological Association (1974), the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Association for Asian Studies (1987), the National Book Critics Circle Prize in Criticism for Works and Lives: The Anthropologist as Author(1988), the Horace Mann Distinguished Alumnus Award from Antioch College (1992), and the Fukuoka Asian Cultural Prize (1992). He was Distinguished Lecturer of the American Anthropological Association (1983) and the Huxley Memorial Lecturer and Medalist of the Royal Anthropological Institute in the same year. He has also been awarded numerous honorary degrees.

Since 1990, Geertz has been the Hitchcock Lecturer, University of California (1990); the Harvard-Jerusalem Lecturer (1990); the Hardy Lecturer, Hartwick College (1992); the Fukuoka Five-Year Anniversary Lecturer, Tokyo and Fukuoka (1995); the Lecturer in Modern Philosophy, Institut fur die Wissenschaften vom Menschen, Vienna (1995); the William James Lecturer, Harvard Divinity School (1998); and the Wells Lecturer, Indiana University (1998).

Professor Geertz held an ACLS Fellowship in 1950-51. He was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in 1958-59. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and is a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland.

The 1999 Charles Homer Haskins Lecture