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Encyclopedia > Gananath Obeyesekere
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Gananath Obeyesekere is one of the world's leading anthropologists, who has done much work in his home country of Sri Lanka. In the 1990's he entered into intellectual debate with Marshal Sahlins over the rationality of indigenous peoples


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Gananath Obeyesekere - definition of Gananath Obeyesekere in Encyclopedia (50 words)
Gananath Obeyesekere - definition of Gananath Obeyesekere in Encyclopedia
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Obeyesekere had denied the thesis of Sahlins that the natives of Hawaii in 1779 had regarded Captain James Cook as their returned god Lono.
Obeyesekere had claimed that the Hawaiians had too much 'practical rationality' to mistake an Englishman, who wore strange clothes, spoke no Hawaiian and knew nothing of their religious beliefs or practices, for one of their gods.
Sahlins replies that Obeyesekere, though a Sri Lankan, is a captive of Western concepts, a man who cannot think outside this form of rationality and who imagines that Western thought constitutes the universal mind of humanity.
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