E. Valentine Daniel

Professor, Department of Anthropology

Columbia University

E. Valentine Daniel's consuming interest is in the relevance of the writings of Charles S. Peirce and Martin Heidegger for anthropological theory and practice. European modernity begins and is sustained, he holds, by the--unwarranted? --questions raised by Descartes and the --inadequate?--answers provided by him and most major thinkers in the western intellectual tradition who followed him. Daniel suggests that anthropology is a capricious child of such a modernity because of its encounter with systems of thought and action that interrogate this modernity on the one hand and its filial loyalty to its own disciplinary heritage on the other. Daniel suggests that Peirce and Heidegger, as two of the most powerful critics of Cartesianism, show us ways of connecting non-western (ethnographic) critiques to western modernism’s (philosophical) critiques deriving from these two thinkers. Against this broad problematique, Daniel does research and writes on semeiotic, violence, refugees and plantation labor. His geographic areas of research are South India and Sri Lanka.

Professor Daniel's publications include: Fluid Signs: Being a Person the Tamil Way (1984); Culture/Contexture: Essays in Anthropology and Literary Study, co-edited with Geoffrey Peck (1996); Mistrusting Refugees, co-edited with John Knudsen (1996); and Charred Lullabies: Chapters in an Anthropography of Violence (1997).