E. E. Evans-Pritchard

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Sir Edward Evan "E. E." Evans-Pritchard (21 September 1902 – 11 September 1973) was an English anthropologist who was instrumental in the development of social anthropology. He was Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford from 1946 to 1970.


E.E. Evans-Pritchard, in full Sir Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard (born September 21, 1902, Crowborough, Sussex, England—died September 11, 1973, Oxford, Oxfordshire), one of England’s foremost social anthropologists, especially known for his investigations of African cultures, for his exploration of segmentary systems, and for his explanations of witchcraft and magic.

After studying modern history at the University of Oxford, Evans-Pritchard did postgraduate work in anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He then did fieldwork among the Zande and Nuer of what is now South Sudan. Two books about these peoples, Witchcraft, Oracles, and Magic Among the Azande (1937) and The Nuer (1940), made his reputation. In 1940 he and Meyer Fortes edited a volume of essays, African Political Systems, that revolutionized the comparative study of governments.

Although Evans-Pritchard was throughout his life a prolific writer, especially on kinship, religion, and the history of anthropology, his later writings were eclipsed by his earlier work. His later writings were often theoretical essays and lectures on the relations between anthropology and other social sciences. These revealed a great depth of scholarship but were often controversial and divergent from the trends of the time. However, his influence as a teacher in the latter part of his life was considerable, for under his guidance the Oxford school of social anthropology attracted students from many parts of the world; and he sponsored fieldwork in Africa and elsewhere as a member of the Colonial Social Science Research Council.

Evans-Pritchard received numerous academic honours. He was a professor of social anthropology at Oxford and a fellow of All Souls College from 1946 to 1970, and he was subwarden from 1963 to 1965. He was knighted in 1971 (Source).


Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic Among the Azande, 1937/1976, PDF.
  • Kinship and Marriage among the Nuer, Oxford University Press, 1938; repr., 1990.
The Nuer: A Description of the Modes of Livelihood and Political Institutions of a Nilotic People, 1940, PDF.
  • The Nuer: A Description of the Modes of Livelihood and Political Institutions of a Nilotic People, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1940, PDF, IA, ARG.
    • Los nuer, Bracelona: Anagrama, 1977; 2nd ed., 1992, PDF. (Spanish)
    • 努尔人:对尼罗河畔一个人群的生活方式和政治制度的描述, trans. Chu Jianfang [褚建芳], Yan Shuchang [阎书昌] and Zhao Xudong [赵旭东], Huaxia [华夏出版社], 2002, 328 pp. (Chinese)
  • The Political System of the Anuak of the Anglo Egyptian Sudan, Berg, 1940.
  • The Sanusi of Cyrenaica, 1954; ACLS History E-Book Project, 1999.
  • Man and Woman among the Azand, Faber and Faber, 1974.
  • with Meyer Fortes, African Political Systems, Kegan Paul, 1994.