Vincent Crapanzano


Research Interests

  • Literary and linguistic theory
  • hermeneutics
  • anthropology and literature
  • existentialism and phenomenology
  • life-historical texts
  • anthropology and poetics of the imagination
  • the philosophical recit


  • A..B. in philosophy from Harvard
  • PhD in anthropology from Columbia

Vincent Crapanzano earned his B.A. from Harvard and his Ph.D. in anthropology from Columbia University. He has taught and lectured in major universities in North and South America, Europe, Hong Kong, and South Africa. The subjects of his study and writing are wide ranging: the epistemology of interpretation, psychoanalysis, ethnopsychiatry and folk healing, spirit possession, theories of the self and other, domination, life histories and the articulation of experience, fieldwork and the writing of anthropology, imaginative horizons, memory, transgression and hope, and literary criticism.
Crapanzano has done fieldwork with the Navajo Indians, the Hamadsha (a Moroccan Muslim confraternity), white South Africans during apartheid, Christian fundamentalists and legal conservatives in America, and the Harkis (Algerians who sided with the French during the Algerian War of Independence). Among his numerous books, several of them translated into German, French, Italian, and Japanese, are The Harkis: The Wound that Never Heals (2011); The Fifth World of Forster Bennett: Portrait of a Navajo (2003); Waiting: The Whites of South Africa (1985); Tuhami: Portrait of a Moroccan (1985); Hermes’ Dilemma and Hamlet’s Desire (1982); and The Hamadsha: A Study in Moroccan Ethnopsychiatry (1981). His essays have appeared in academic journals as well as such magazines and newspapers as The New Yorker, the New York Times, and the Times Literary Supplement.