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Who are the most influential thinkers in world?

Identify leaders in your chosen discipline, research top professors in your area of study, and search for schools based on the luminaries who most inspire you!

Note: These rankings change dynamically as our artificial intelligence system learns new things and incorporates new publications and citations. Academics are constantly doing research and publishing new insights, with the result that our measure of influence is subject to continual adjustments. For quality assurance reasons, however, we forgo real-time changes, with most public updates happening only quarterly. In any case, don’t be surprised to see our rankings change over time.

Methodology: How and Why We Rank by Influence …

Gender designations here are based off data sourced from Wikidata.

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List of the most influential people in Anthropology, for the years 2000 – 2020

David Price
# 1
David Price

1960 - Present (61 years)

#4081 person's overall influence

David Price is a professor of anthropology at St. Martin’s University. He was born in 1960 and earned his B.A. from The Evergreen State College, an A.M. from University of Chicago, and a Ph.D from University of Florida.

Marshall Sahlins
# 2
Marshall Sahlins

1930 - Present (91 years)

#658 person's overall influence

Marshall Sahlins was the Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Social Sciences at the University of Chicago. Sahlins earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Michigan, and his Ph.D from Columbia University.

Ulf Hannerz
# 3
Ulf Hannerz

1942 - Present (79 years)

#2220 person's overall influence

Ulf Hannerz is an emeritus professor of social anthropology at Stockholm University, which is where he also earned his Ph.D. As an anthropologist, he has focused his research on urban and media anthropology. His research has taken him to locations in the United States, the Caribbean, and West Africa.

David Graeber
# 4
David Graeber

1961 - 2020 (59 years)

#2379 person's overall influence

David Graeber is a professor of anthropology at the London School of Economics. He earned his B.A. from the State University of New York at Purchase and his MA. And Ph.D from University of Chicago. From there, he spent twenty months conducting research in Madagascar on a Fulbright fellowship.

Nancy Scheper-Hughes
# 5
Nancy Scheper-Hughes

1944 - Present (77 years)

#10727 person's overall influence

Marc Augé
# 6
Marc Augé

1935 - Present (86 years)

#5218 person's overall influence

Marc Augé is a French anthropologist.

René Girard
# 7
René Girard

1923 - 2015 (92 years)

#2216 person's overall influence

René Noël Théophile Girard was a French historian, literary critic, and philosopher of social science whose work belongs to the tradition of anthropological philosophy. Girard was the author of nearly thirty books, with his writings spanning many academic domains. Although the reception of his work is different in each of these areas, there is a growing body of secondary literature on his work and his influence on disciplines such as literary criticism, critical theory, anthropology, theology, psychology, mythology, sociology, economics, cultural studies, and philosophy.

Bruno Latour
# 8
Bruno Latour

1947 - Present (74 years)

#605 person's overall influence

Bruno Latour is an anthropologist, philosopher, and sociologist. He earned his Ph.D from the University of Tours. Soon after graduating, he became interested in anthropology, and set out on a study of race and decolonization in Ivory Coast.

Arthur Kleinman
# 9
Arthur Kleinman

1941 - Present (80 years)

#6546 person's overall influence

Arthur Kleinman is a medical anthropologist and the Esther and Sidney Rabb Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard University. Kleinman is also the Professor of Medical Anthropology in Global Health and Social Medicine and Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He earned his A.B. and M.D. from Stanford University and an M.A. in social anthropology from Harvard University. He completed his internship at the Yale School of Medicine, before completing his psychiatric residency in Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital. He is notable

William M. Bass
# 10
William M. Bass

1928 - Present (93 years)

#5968 person's overall influence

William M. Bass is a forensic anthropologist, famous for his work on the study of human decomposition. He earned his B.A. from the University of Virginia, his M.S. from the University of Kentucky, and his Ph.D in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania.

# 11
Michael Tomasello

1950 - Present (71 years)

#4417 person's overall influence

Michael Tomasello is an American developmental and comparative psychologist, as well as a linguist. He is co-director of Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, co-director of the Wolfgang Kohler Primate Research Center, honorary professor at University of Leipzig and at Manchester University's Department of Psychology, and professor of psychology at Duke University.

Paul Rabinow
# 12
Paul Rabinow

1944 - Present (77 years)

#2914 person's overall influence

Paul Rabinow is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley and director of the Anthropology of the Contemporary Research Collaboratory (ARC). He earned his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D in anthropology from the University of Chicago. He has also studied at the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris, France. He has held Fulbright fellowships at the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro and the University of Iceland.

Steven Pinker
# 13
Steven Pinker

1954 - Present (67 years)

#183 person's overall influence

Cognitive scientist, linguist, and author, Steven Pinker currently holds the title of Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. Previously, Pinker taught at Stanford University at MIT. Pinker earned his bachelor’s in psychology from McGill University in 1976, and his Ph.D. in experimental psychology in 1979 at Harvard.

# 14
Jonathan M. Marks

1955 - Present (66 years)

#4649 person's overall influence

Jonathan M. Marks is a professor of biological anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is a significant figure in anthropology, especially on the topic of race. Marks is skeptical of genetic explanations of human behavior, of "race" as a biological category, and of science as a rationalistic endeavor. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Thomas Hylland Eriksen
# 15
Thomas Hylland Eriksen

1962 - Present (59 years)

#17932 person's overall influence

Thomas Hylland Eriksen is a professor of social anthropology at the University of Oslo and a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. He is a scholar of identity politics, cultural dynamics, the global response to accelerating change and crisis, and the creole world. He has published numerous works, including Common Denominators: Ethnicity, Nationalism and the Politics of Compromise in Mauritius, Fredrik Barth: An Intellectual Biography, and Overheating: An Anthropology of Accelerated Change. He has also published many research articles showcasing his work, including, Confessio

Michael Bhatia
# 16
Michael Bhatia

1976 - 2008 (32 years)

#39295 person's overall influence

Michael Vinay Bhatia was a researcher studying conflict resolution in war-torn countries. He was born in Upland, California. He attended Brown University, where he graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in International Relations in 1999. He was the recipient of the Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship and a Marshall Scholarship to study at the University of Oxford where he earned his M.Sc. in International Relations in 2002. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University and a lecturer at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.

Montgomery McFate
# 17
Montgomery McFate

1966 - Present (55 years)

#38653 person's overall influence

Montgomery McFate is the Minerva Chair of Strategic Research at the U.S. Naval War College. She earned her B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, a Ph.D from Yale University, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

# 18
John Comaroff

1945 - Present (76 years)

#2604 person's overall influence

John Comaroff is the Hugh K. Foster Professor of African and African American Studies and of Anthropology, and Oppenheimer Research Fellow in African Studies at Harvard University. Comaroff also serves as a research professor at the American Bar Foundation. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Cape Town and his doctorate from the London School of Economics.

Neil L. Whitehead
# 19
Neil L. Whitehead

1956 - 2012 (56 years)

#38091 person's overall influence

Neil L. Whitehead was an English anthropologist, who is best known for his work on the anthropology of violence, dark shamanism , post-human anthropology and the historical anthropology of South America and the Caribbean. From 1997 – 2007 he was the editor of Ethnohistory, Journal of the American Society for Ethnohistory.

# 20
Sidney Mintz

1922 - 2015 (93 years)

#1205 person's overall influence

Sidney Wilfred Mintz was an American anthropologist best known for his studies of the Caribbean, creolization, and the anthropology of food. Mintz received his PhD at Columbia University in 1951 and conducted his primary fieldwork among sugar-cane workers in Puerto Rico. Later expanding his ethnographic research to Haiti and Jamaica, he produced historical and ethnographic studies of slavery and global capitalism, cultural hybridity, Caribbean peasants, and the political economy of food commodities. He taught for two decades at Yale University before helping to found the Anthropology Departme

Tom Boellstorff
# 21
Tom Boellstorff

1969 - Present (52 years)

#27487 person's overall influence

Tom Boellstorff is a University of California at Irvine-based anthropologist, well known and respected for his work on the anthropology of sexuality, globalization, linguistics and more. He earned bachelor’s degrees in music and linguistics and his Ph.D. in anthropology from Stanford University, where he went on to teach.

Bill Maurer
# 22
Bill Maurer

1968 - Present (53 years)

#19558 person's overall influence

Jean Comaroff
# 23
Jean Comaroff

1946 - Present (75 years)

#2515 person's overall influence

Jean Comaroff is Professor of African and African American Studies and of Anthropology, Oppenheimer Fellow in African Studies at Harvard University. She is an expert on the effects of colonialism on people in Southern Africa. Until 2012, Jean was the Bernard E. & Ellen C. Sunny Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology and of Social Sciences at the University of Chicago and Honorary Professor of Anthropology at the University of Cape Town.

# 24
Laura Nader

1930 - Present (91 years)

#16327 person's overall influence

Laura Nader is an American anthropologist. She has been a Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley since 1960. She was the first woman to receive a tenure-track position in the department. She is also the sister of U.S. activist, consumer advocate, and frequent third-party candidate Ralph Nader, as well as community advocate Shafeek Nader.

Clifford Geertz
# 25
Clifford Geertz

1926 - 2006 (80 years)

#345 person's overall influence

Clifford James Geertz was an American anthropologist who is remembered mostly for his strong support for and influence on the practice of symbolic anthropology, and who was considered "for three decades...the single most influential cultural anthropologist in the United States." He served until his death as professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.

Marilyn Strathern
# 26
Marilyn Strathern

1941 - Present (80 years)

#5671 person's overall influence

Marilyn Strathern was born in 1941 in North Wales. She attended Crofton Lane Primary School and Bromley High School before moving on to study Archaeology and Anthropology at Girton College. She earned her Ph.D from Girton College in 1968.

Marcia C. Inhorn
# 27
Marcia C. Inhorn

1957 - Present (64 years)

#23562 person's overall influence

Marcia C. Inhorn is the William K. Lanman Jr. Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs at Yale University. She earned her M.P.H. and Ph.D from the University of California at Berkeley. She is a recognized expert in gender, fertility, and women’s health. Her research into the social impacts of infertility in Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon made her the first anthropologist to conduct such a study in the Middle East.

Michael Taussig
# 28
Michael Taussig

1940 - Present (81 years)

#7885 person's overall influence

Michael Taussig is a professor at Columbia University. He earned a medical degree from the University of Sydney and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the London School of Economics.

Christopher Hann
# 29
Christopher Hann

1953 - Present (68 years)

#23968 person's overall influence

Christopher Hann is one of the founding Directors of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology and a well-known British social anthropologist. He studied philosophy, politics and economics at Jesus College at Cambridge, before taking on his graduate studies at Corpus Christi College at Cambridge. As a graduate student, he focused his research on Eastern Europe, learning to speak and read Hungarian, and conducting field work in the Hungarian village of Tázlár.

Noam Chomsky
# 30
Noam Chomsky

1928 - Present (93 years)

#40 person's overall influence

Noam Chomsky currently holds joint appointments at MIT as Institute Professor Emeritus, and the University of Arizona as Laureate Professor. Chomsky completed his university studies between the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard.

# 31
Melford Spiro

1920 - 2014 (94 years)

#9842 person's overall influence

Melford Elliot "Mel" Spiro was an American cultural anthropologist specializing in religion and psychological anthropology. He is known for his critiques of the pillars of contemporary anthropological theory—wholesale cultural determinism, radical cultural relativism, and virtually limitless cultural diversity—and for his emphasis on the theoretical importance of unconscious desires and beliefs in the study of stability and change in social and cultural systems, particularly in respect to the family, politics, and religion. Explicated in numerous theoretical publications, they are empiricall...

Maurice Bloch
# 32
Maurice Bloch

1939 - Present (82 years)

#10372 person's overall influence

Maurice Bloch is Emeritus Professor at the London School of Economics. He was born in France in 1939. After his father, serving in the French army, was killed by the Nazis, he moved with his mother and her new husband to England. He completed his undergraduate education at the London School of Economics and earned his Ph.D in anthropology at Fitzwilliam College of Cambridge University.

Paul Kockelman
# 33
Paul Kockelman
#66250 person's overall influence

Paul Kockelman is the editor of the Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, co-editor of The Cambridge Handbook of Linguistic Anthropology, and a professor of anthropology at Yale University. He is known as one of the last great system-builders in the anthropology field.

# 34
Edward C. Green

1944 - Present (77 years)

#40178 person's overall influence

Edward C. Green is an American medical anthropologist working in public health and development. He was a senior research scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health and served as senior research scientist at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies for eight years, the last three years as director of the AIDS Prevention Project. He was later affiliated with the Department of Population and Reproductive Health at The Johns Hopkins University and the George Washington University as research professor . He was appointed to serve as a member of the Presidential Advisory C

# 35
Stanton Wortham

1963 - Present (58 years)

#65853 person's overall influence

Stanton E.F. Wortham is a teacher, scholar, and documentary film producer who is the inaugural Charles F. Donovan, S.J., Dean American professor at Boston College Lynch School of Education.

# 36
Roy D'Andrade

1931 - 2016 (85 years)

#18007 person's overall influence

Roy Goodwin D'Andrade was one of the founders of cognitive anthropology.

Mary Douglas
# 37
Mary Douglas

1921 - 2007 (86 years)

#1178 person's overall influence

Dame Mary Douglas, was a British anthropologist, known for her writings on human culture and symbolism, whose area of speciality was social anthropology. Douglas was considered a follower of Émile Durkheim and a proponent of structuralist analysis, with a strong interest in comparative religion.

Loïc Wacquant
# 38
Loïc Wacquant

1960 - Present (61 years)

#3895 person's overall influence

Loïc Wacquant is a professor of sociology and research associate for the Earl Warren Legal Institute at the University of California, Berkeley. He earned his Ph.D from the University of Chicago.

# 39
Irma McClaurin

1950 - Present (71 years)

#53168 person's overall influence

Irma P. McClaurin is an American poet, anthropologist, academic, and leadership consultant. She was the first female president of Shaw University, and is the author or editor of several books on topics including the culture of Belize, black feminism, African-American history, and her own poetry.

# 40
Naomi Quinn

1939 - 2019 (80 years)

#22659 person's overall influence

Naomi Robin Quinn was a major figure in cognitive anthropology, with contributions to research methods and cultural models, particularly applied to topics such as American models of marriage and relationships and to child-rearing cross-culturally.

Genevieve Bell
# 41
Genevieve Bell

1968 - Present (53 years)

#17316 person's overall influence

Genevieve Bell is the Florence Violet McKenzie Chair and Distinguished Professor for the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science, a Senior Fellow at Intel, Director of the Autonomy, Agency and Assurance Institute (3A Institute) at Australian National University, and the first SRI International Engelbert Distinguished Fellow. She earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Philosophy from Bryn Mawr College. She went on to earn an additional Master’s degree and a Ph.D from Stanford University.

Jane Goodall
# 42
Jane Goodall

1934 - Present (87 years)

#584 person's overall influence

Dame Jane Morris Goodall , formerly Baroness Jane van Lawick-Goodall, is an English primatologist and anthropologist. Considered to be the world's foremost expert on chimpanzeess, Goodall is best known for her 60-year study of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees since she first went to Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania in 1960.

Bradd Shore
# 43
Bradd Shore

1945 - Present (76 years)

#24986 person's overall influence

Bradd Shore is an American cultural anthropologist who is best known as a leading authority on Samoan culture and a foundational theorist of the cultural models school of cognitive and psychological anthropology. He holds the Goodrich C. White Chair of Anthropology at Emory University and is the current Department Chair. He is the former Director of the Emory Center for Myth and Ritual in American Life and is also a past President of the Society for Psychological Anthropology.

# 44
C. Loring Brace

1930 - 2019 (89 years)

#2701 person's overall influence

Charles Loring Brace IV was an American anthropologist, Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan's Department of Anthropology and Curator Emeritus at the University's Museum of Anthropological Archaeology. He considered the attempt "to introduce a Darwinian outlook into biological anthropology" to be his greatest contribution to the field of anthropology.

Jared Diamond
# 45
Jared Diamond

1937 - Present (84 years)

#768 person's overall influence

Jared Mason Diamond is an American geographer, historian, anthropologist, ornithologist, and author best known for his popular science books The Third Chimpanzee ; Guns, Germs, and Steel ; Collapse , The World Until Yesterday , and Upheaval . Originally trained in biochemistry and physiology, Diamond is known for drawing from a variety of fields, including anthropology, ecology, geography, and evolutionary biology. He is a professor of geography at UCLA.

Hugh Gusterson
# 46
Hugh Gusterson

1959 - Present (62 years)

#57799 person's overall influence

Hugh Gusterson is an anthropologist and professor at the University of British Columbia. He formerly held the position of Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs at George Washington University. He earned a B.A. from Cambridge University, an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. from Stanford University.

Arjun Appadurai
# 47
Arjun Appadurai

1949 - Present (72 years)

#6280 person's overall influence

Arjun Appadurai is an Indian-American anthropologist recognized as a major theorist in globalization studies. In his anthropological work, he discusses the importance of the modernity of nation states and globalization.

# 48
Michael Silverstein

1945 - 2020 (75 years)

#8452 person's overall influence

Michael Silverstein was an American linguist. He was the Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor of anthropology, linguistics, and psychology at the University of Chicago. He was a theoretician of semiotics and linguistic anthropology. Over the course of his career he created an original synthesis of research on the semiotics of communication, the sociology of interaction, Russian formalist literary theory, linguistic pragmatics, sociolinguistics, early anthropological linguistics and structuralist grammatical theory, together with his own theoretical contributions, yielding a compreh

Aren Maeir
# 49
Aren Maeir

1958 - Present (63 years)

#33769 person's overall influence

Aren Maeir is an American-born Israeli archaeologist and professor at Bar Ilan University. He is director of the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project .

# 50
Robert Lemelson

1952 - Present (69 years)

#39068 person's overall influence

Robert Lemelson is an American cultural anthropologist, ethnographic filmmaker and philanthropist. Lemelson received his M.A. from the University of Chicago and Ph.D. from the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Lemelson's area of specialty is transcultural psychiatry; Southeast Asian Studies, particularly Indonesia; and psychological and medical anthropology. He currently is a research anthropologist in the Semel Institute of Neuroscience UCLA, and an adjunct professor of Anthropology at UCLA. His scholarly work has appeared in numerous journals and books.