Dwight W. Read


Dwight W. Read

Department of Anthropology

Research Interest

My research spans the subfields of anthropology and integrates a mathematical way of thinking (from my academic background) with anthropological reasoning (my chosen profession). In archaeology, I consider artifacts to be a manifestation of the ideational domain of shared concepts. The archaeologist’s access to that domain is through methods for artifact classification, hence my publications on the concepts and methods of artifact classification. In socio-cultural anthropology, I have focused on the logic underlying the structure of kinship terminologies — central to our understanding of human social systems — analyzed as idea-systems. This has required a paradigm shift from assuming kinship in human societies is primarily an expression of biological reproduction through genealogical relations to viewing kinship as a symbolically determined system of relations expressed through the generative logic of a kinship terminology. My work on kinship integrates with biological anthropology through research on the evolution from non-human primate forms of social organization based on face-to-face interaction to human forms of social organization based on culturally constructed systems of relationship expressed through kinship terminologies.

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