Beyond the Juxtaposition of Nature and Culture

Lawrence Krader on Human Being, Society and Person:
Encounters with Pragmatism, Critical Theory,
Symbolic Interactionism, Anthropology


An International Conference at McMaster University
(May 2016)

Organized by:
Prof. Dr. Cyril Levitt:
Dr. Sabine Sander:
Jacqueline Kutt, MA:

At the Lawrence Krader Research Project
McMaster University


The main reference work for the background to the conference is: L. Krader. (2010). Noetics: the science of thinking and knowing. (C. Levitt, ed.). Peter Lang: New York, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Bern, Frankfurt, Berlin, Brussels, Vienna, Oxford.

An intellectual biography of Krader and an introduction to Noetics by C. Levitt may be found on the website: It can be downloaded from there.

A list of Lawrence Krader’s unpublished manuscripts may be found at the project website and a bibliography of his published works is also available there. 

If you are interested in working on any of the unpublished manuscripts in conjunction with the project, please contact one or the other of the conference organizers listed above.


Brief Biography

Lawrence Krader was not a famous public intellectual, although he was offered appointments to America’s top-ranked universities over the years. He began his studies at the City College of New York (CCNY) in 1937 where he studied with Morris Raphael Cohen. He spent a year at the University of Chicago with Rudolf Carnap, returning to CCNY to serve as Alfred Tarski’s research assistant. Introduced to Franz Boas and his students at Columbia University in the early forties, he developed an interest in anthropology and linguistics, which he studied after serving in the U.S. Merchant Marine during World War II. He taught linguistics at MIT (where he was offered a position in linguistics by Ithiel de Sola Pool) and anthropology at the University of Ohio, the University of Syracuse, the City University of New York and the University of Waterloo in Canada. He turned down several offers of a position at Harvard University where he completed his doctoral dissertation on the Kinship Systems of the Altaic-speaking Peoples of the Asian Steppes in 1954. He married Dr. Barbara Lattimer, an accomplished ethnomusicologist and linguist, whom he had met at Roman Jakobson’s graduate linguistics seminar at Columbia University in the early fifties.

He was the first Western anthropologist allowed to conduct field research in Soviet Central Asia after the Second World War, and he was the author of one of the central texts on the peoples of Central Asia. At the suggestion of his friend, Karl Korsch, he transcribed, edited and introduced Karl Marx’s ethnological notebooks. His last academic appointment was as Director of the Institut für Ethnologie at the Freie Universität Berlin. Since becoming an emeritus professor in 1982 he composed over 153 manuscripts from then until his death in December 1998. He endowed the Lawrence Krader Research

Project at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, which has been functioning since May of 2008. His work Noetics was his magnum opus, which he began as a philosophy undergraduate student at City College in 1937. It was published posthumously in 2010.


The Conference

The conference will be held over two days (tentatively May 6-7, 2016) on the campus of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

The conference will bring together senior scholars from Canada, Germany, Mexico and the United States with junior colleagues and graduate students who will present papers on their work in the areas covered by Noetics.

Potential contributors are asked to submit an abstract of no more than 500 words to The Lawrence Krader Research Project online at: Successful applicants will be supported in their travel, accommodation, and subsistence while at the conference. It is expected that a publication of the conference papers will be forthcoming.

Prospective applicants to the conference can acquaint themselves with Krader’s life and work by referring to the Editor’s Preface and Introduction to Noetics which will also be posted on the website of the Krader Research Project. For further information please contact:

Professor Cyril Levitt at:
Dr. Sabine Sander at:
Jacqueline Kutt, MA at:

The conference will aim to take up a number of themes developed in Krader’s Noetics that bear a relationship to many aspects and lines of development in a variety of intellectual traditions including: Pragmatism, Critical Theory, Symbolic Interactionism, and Anthropology. In many of these approaches the relationship between nature and culture remains problematic. One of the major tenets of Krader’s work on Noetics has lead to a new theory of nature in which it is conceived of as comprising different orders according to the different systems of space-time. 

Krader has envisioned at least three different orders of space-‐‑time and thus of nature: the material, the quantum and the human orders. This approach has a significant implication for the various traditions named above.

The organizers welcome abstracts that promise to take up these new ideas in relation to various disciplines or fields of research. For further details, refer to the Call for Papers.


To register interest and download the Conference Outline please follow the "Express Checkout" below.

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