Northwestern Events Calendar


Peter Van der Veer: Master Class on "The Value of Comparison"

When: Wednesday, May 29, 2019
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM Central

Where: Scott Hall, 212, 601 University Place, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Gina Giliberti  

Group: Global Politics and Religion Research Group

Co-Sponsor: Religious Studies Department

Category: Academic


Peter Van Der Veer leads a masterclass on his new book, The Value of Comparison. In this book, he argues that many attempts at comparison are based on a misplaced quest for generality. This quest may be based on universals like the Mind or the brain; on the mathematical manipulation of big sets of “data”, but they tend to rely on the uncritical extension of Western cultural categories. Instead he argues that comparison can be done (and is important to do) on the basis of the intensive study of fragments of social life, like caste, race, or gift exchange, whose meaning is determined by their relationship to other fragments of social life at particular times and places.

Co-sponsored by Religious Studies and Anthropology 

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