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Dame Ann Marilyn Strathern, DBE, MA, PhD, FBA (born 6 March 1941) is a British anthropologist, and was Mistress of Girton College, Cambridge from 1998 until her retirement in 2009. She was the William Wyse Professor of Social Anthropology at Cambridge University from 1994 to 2008.


Born Ann Marilyn Evans to Eric Charles Evans and Joyce Florence Evans, Strathern was educated at Bromley High School and at Girton College, Cambridge. In 1963 she married another anthropologist, Andrew Strathern, and they had three children though the marriage was later dissolved.

Strathern was a visiting professor at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia and the University of California, Berkeley. From 1985 to 1993 she was Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester, before returning to take a chair at the University of Cambridge. In addition she has been Mistress of Girton College since 1998.

Strathern has conducted fieldwork in Papua New Guinea and the United Kingdom: her anthropological work has used Melanesian conceptions, as well as feminist insights, to question the universality of some Western categories often taken to be fundamental: society, the individual, relation, property, substance, effect, nature, culture and so on. She has also written about new reproductive technologies and intellectual property law and her most recent work focuses on the complexities of transparency, accountability, and audit, especially within the academy.


  • Self-Decoration in Mount Hagen (1971)
  • Women in Between (1972)
  • No Money on Our Skins: Hagen Migrants in Port Moresby (1975) ISBN 0858180278
  • Kinship at the Core: an Anthropology of Elmdon, Essex (1981) ISBN 0521233607
  • The Gender of the Gift: Problems with Women and Problems with Society in Melanesia (1988) ISBN 0520072022
  • Partial connections. Savage, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield (1991). Re-issued by AltaMira Press, Walnut Creek, CA. (2004)
  • After Nature: English Kinship in the Late Twentieth Century (1992) ISBN 978-0-521-42680-0
  • Property, substance and effect. Anthropological essays on persons and things. London: Athlone Press (1999) Collected essays, 1992-98 ISBN 0485121492
  • Commons and borderlands: working papers on interdisciplinarity, accountability and the flow of knowledge (2004) ISBN 0954557220
  • (ed. with Eric Hirsch) Transactions and creations: property debates and the stimulus of Melanesia, Oxford: Berghahn.
  • (ed) Audit Cultures. Anthropological studies in accountability, ethics and the academy. (2000) London: Routledge.
  • Kinship, law and the unexpected: Relatives are often a surprise. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2005) ISBN 0521615097

External links

Academic offices
Preceded by
Juliet J. D'Auvergne Campbell
Mistress of Girton College, Cambridge
Succeeded by
Susan J. Smith
Preceded by
Ernest Gellner
William Wyse Professor of Social Anthropology Cambridge University
1984 - 1992
Succeeded by
Henrietta Moore


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