Horace Mitchell Miner

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Horace Mitchell Miner (May 26, 1912 – November 26, 1993) was an anthropologist, particularly interested in those languages of his time that were still closely tied to the earth and agricultural practices. During World War II, he served as a counterintelligence agent in Italy and Japan. In 1955 [says 1937 below], he earned his doctorate at the University of Chicago, going on to teach there, as well as at other universities in the United States, and on a Fulbright Fellowship at a college in Uganda. He later worked elsewhere in Africa, and in South America. He published several books, including Culture and Agriculture (1949), and City in Modern Africa (1967). However, he is equally famous for a satirical essay entitled "Body Ritual among the Nacirema", which not only satirizes American culture from an anthropological perspective and, as the Encyclopedia of Social and Cultural Anthropology states, "...offered incipient cultural critiques of Euro-American arrogance, by showing that magic is not the prerogative of non-Western societies,"[1] but also provides "a classic and apt example of how ethnocentrism can color one's thinking."[2] The work was also featured in American Anthropologist.[3]


Decorated Legion of Merit, Bronze Star

Recipient Social Science Research Council Demobilization award, 1945

Society Science Research Council Fellow, 1936–37

Ford Foundation grantee, 1956; Rockefeller Foundation grantee, Nigeria, 1957–58

Fulbright research award

Horace Rackham grant for field research Algeria, 1950

National Science Foundation grant for research Nigeria, 1970-71[4]


AB- University Kentucky, (1933)

A.M.- University Chicago, (1935)

PhD- University Chicago, (1937)

Postgrad- (Yale Institute Human Relations fellow), Colombia, (1942)[5]


  1. ^ "magic." Encyclopedia of Social and Cultural Anthropology. London: Routledge, 2009. Credo Reference. Web. 24 September 2012.
  2. ^ Preston, Frederick William (1988) Sociology: A Contemporary Approach pg 73.
  3. ^ Miner, Horace (28 Oct 2009). "Body Ritual among the Nacirema". American Anthropologist. 58 (3): 503–507. doi:10.1525/aa.1956.58.3.02a00080.
  4. ^ "Profile Detail - Horace Mitchell Miner". Marquis Who's Who LLC. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  5. ^ "Profile Detail - Horace Mitchell Miner". Marquis Who's Who LLC. Retrieved 5 October 2012.