Valentine Daniel

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Valentine Daniel
EducationAmherst College
University of Chicago

Professor Errol Valentine Daniel is a Sri Lankan Tamil academic, anthropologist and author. He is currently Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Southern Asian Institute at Columbia University.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Daniel was educated at Jaffna College.[3][4] After school he joined Amherst College from where he received a B.A. degree.[5] He then received M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago.[5]


Daniel taught at the University of Washington (1978–90).[6] He then taught at the University of Michigan (1990–97), serving as Director of the Program in Comparative Studies in Social Transformation from 1995 to 1997.[5] He then joined Columbia University. Daniel has also been a visiting professor at the University of Amsterdam, University of Texas at Austin, Centre d’étude de l’Inde et de l’Asie Sud and United Nations University.[5]

Daniel was one of the recipients of the 1995 Guggenheim Fellowship.[5] He is proficient in Tamil, Sinhala, French and Malayalam.[5][7]


Valentine has written several books:[1]

  • Karma: An Anthropological Inquiry (1983, University of California Press. co-editor Charles F. Keyes)[8]
  • Fluid Signs: Being a Person the Tamil Way (1984, University of California Press)[9]
  • The Semeiosis of Suicide in Sri Lanka (1989, in Semiotics, Self, and Society by Benjamin Lee and Greg Urban, Mouton de Gruyter)
  • Plantations, Proletarians, and Peasants in Colonial Asia (1992, Frank Cass & Co, co-editors Henry Bernstein and Tom Brass)
  • Culture/Contexture: Essays in Anthropology and Literary Study (1996, University of California Press, co-editor Jeffrey M. Peck)[10]
  • Mistrusting Refugees (1996, University of California Press, co-editor John Knudsen)[11]
  • Charred Lullabies: Chapters in an Anthropography of Violence (1997, Princeton University Press)[12]
  • Suffering Nation and Alienation (1997, in Social Suffering by Kleinman, Das and Lock, University of California Press)[13]
  • The Limits of Culture (1998, in In Near Ruins: Cultural Theory at the End of the Century by Nicholas B. Dirks, University of Minnesota Press)
  • The Refugee: A Discourse on Displacement (2002, in Exotic No More: Anthropology on the Front Lines by Jeremy MacClancy, University of Chicago Press)


  1. ^ a b "E Valentine Daniel". Columbia University.
  2. ^ Daniel, E. Valentine (17 October 1999). "But Neelan Tiruchelvam, I trusted". The Sunday Times (Sri Lanka).
  3. ^ "Jaffna College celebrates two centennials". Sunday Observer (Sri Lanka). 14 November 2004. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 8 August 2015.
  4. ^ Kanagsabapathipillai, Dushiyanthini (10 August 2013). "Jaffna College: Celebrating Excellence". Ceylon Today (02/225). p. 5.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "About the Authors". Macalester College.
  6. ^ Keyes, Charles F.; Daniel, E. Valentine, eds. (1983). Karma: An Anthropological Inquiry. University of California Press. p. ix. ISBN 0-520-04429-0.
  7. ^ "E. Valentine Daniel". John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
  8. ^ "Karma, an Anthropologoical Inquiry". University of California Press.
  9. ^ "Fluid Signs: Being a Person the Tamil Way". University of California Press.
  10. ^ "Culture/Contexture: Explorations in Anthropology and Literary Studies". University of California Press.
  11. ^ "Mistrusting Refugees". University of California Press.
  12. ^ "Charred Lullabies: Chapters in an Anthropography of Violence". Princeton University Press.
  13. ^ Sivaguru, Puthu. "Book Review: Suffering Nation and Alienation". Ilankai Tamil Sangam.