Pierre L. van den Berghe (born 1933) is professor emeritus of sociology and anthropology at the University of Washington, where he has worked since 1965. Born in the Belgian Congo to Belgian parents, and spending World War II in occupied Belgium, he was an early witness to ethnic conflict and racism, which eventually led him to become a leading authority on ethnic relations. He has conducted field work in South Africa, Mexico, Guatemala, Iran, Lebanon, Nigeria, Peru, and Israel. A student of Talcott Parsons at Harvard (receiving the Ph.D. in 1960), he nevertheless had little interest in structural functionalism and was one of the first proponents of sociobiological approaches to social phenomena.
In 1978, van den Berge was awarded a Golden Fleece prize by Senator William Proxmire for "the biggest, most ridiculous or most ironic waste of taxpayers' money" relating to a study that used part of a $97,000 grant to conclude that Peruvian brothels serve as, among other things, a gathering place for drinking and storytelling.
Van den Berghe, Pierre L. 1990. "From the Popocatetepl to the Limpopo." pages 410-431 in Bennett M. Berger, editor, Authors of Their Own Lives: Intellectual Autobiographies by Twenty American Sociologists. University of California Press.