You are here

Professor David Parkin

Emeritus Fellow since 2008
Current research includes a) the sociolinguistic consequences of new, global migratory patterns; b) proliferating religious and healthcare traditions; and b) semiosis as multi-modal sensory communication and how it is orchestrated. Socio-cultural areas of interest include eastern Africa, China and northern European cities.
Contact: david.parkin at
Professor David Parkin
  • Background

    • Emeritus Fellow, All Souls College (from 2008)
    • Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Oxford and Fellow, All Souls College (from 1996 to 2008)
    • Lecturer (to 1976), Reader (to 1981), finally Professor (from 1981), School of Oriental and African Studies, London (from 1965 to 1996)
    • Undergraduate and Postgraduate, School of Oriental and African Studies, London (from 1959 to 1965)
  • Research interests

    • Social anthropology
    • Evolution
    • Healing and sensory systems
    • Semantics and language use
    • Islam / religion
    • Swahili and Bantu- and Nilotic-speaking peoples
    • East Africa, the Indian Ocean littoral and China
  • Selected publications

    • Anthropology situated in the contemporary world. (Shenchu Dangdai Shijie De Renleixue). (Beijing: Peking University Press, 2017).
    • (ed. with Stanley Ulijaszek), Holistic Anthropology: Emergence and Convergence (Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2007).
    • (ed. wth Paul Dresch and Wendy James) Anthropologists in a Wider World: Essays on Field Research (Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2000).
    • (ed. with Stephen C. Headley) Islamic Prayer Across the Indian Ocean: Inside and Outside the Mosque (Richmond, Surrey: Curzon Press, 2000).
    • (ed. with Françoise Le Guennec-Coppens) Autorité et Pouvoir chez les Swahili (Paris: Karthala; Nairobi: IFRA, 1998).
    • (ed. with Lionel Caplan and Humphrey Fisher) The Politics of Cultural Performance (Oxford: Berghahn Books, 1996).
    • Sacred Void: Spatial Images of Work and Ritual Among the Giriama of Kenya (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991).
    • Publications (PDF)
  • Other professional memberships and roles

    • Directeur Associé, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris (1986, 1987, 1993)
    • Research Associate, CNRS, Paris (from 1992 to 1993)
    • Honorary Director, International African Institute (from 1992 to 1995)
    • Chairman, Association of Social Anthropologists of Great Britain and Commonwealth (from 1989 to 1993)
    • Member Comité d’Orientation Scientifique et Stratégique (COSS) of the Collège de France (2007-present)
    • Peking University Global Fellow (2016)
  • Research awards and grants

    • Rivers Memorial Medal, RAI (1985).
    • Royal Anthropological Institute President’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2018).