Dwight W. Read

Departments of Anthropology and Statistics, UCLAMember since 1971

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My Biography

Prof. Dwight W. Read has been selected to receive the 2022 Conrad M. Arensberg award. This honor recognizes individuals who have furthered anthropology as a natural science.

Having obtained a Ph.D. with honors in Mathematics, Dwight W. Read occupied a unique niche when he joined the faculty of anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1970. He is currently a Distinguished Research Professor of Anthropology at UCLA, having brought into anthropology a formalism that has the quality of theoretically unifying anthropology in its four subfields. His research addresses both methodological and theoretical issues (statistical modeling of hominid evolution, theory and method of artifact classification, formal representation of cultural constructs, and currently the structure and logic of kinship terminologies). His current research focuses on modeling the interrelationship between the material and the ideational domains in human societies, with particular emphasis on kinship terminologies, leading in part to the development of a major computer program (Kinship Algebraic Expert System) that constructs a formal (algebraic) model of the logic underlying the structure of a kinship terminology. He single-authored the books Archaeological Classification: A Conceptual and Methodological Approach (2007) and How Culture Makes Us Human, Series: Big Ideas in Little Books (2012), and has published more than 200 research articles in peer-reviewed journals covering the four subfields of anthropology. Prof. Read is the co-founder and co-senior editor of the new eJournal Kinship published through the University of California, a scientific journal dedicated to the study of, and research on, kinship. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.