The Lawrence Krader Research Project was established in 2008, supported by a generous bequest to McMaster University by the late Professor Krader. In August of 1998 Professor Krader asked Cyril Levitt of the Department of Sociology at McMaster to help him establish a program of research and publication based on some 150 unpublished manuscripts that he had authored from the time of his retirement from the directorship of the Institute of Ethnology at the Freie Universität Berlin. Krader and Levitt were to begin the project later that same year but Krader’s sudden death in November of that year postponed the enterprise for another decade.
Since the establishment of the project, Krader’s personal library, which was shipped to Canada in May of 1999, has been catalogued and re-established in Hamilton, Ontario. The unpublished manuscripts, most of which existed only in longhand (some 25,000 pages) are scanned and digitized and are available to scholars in several formats, including searchable PDF files, and Krader’s papers and collections of third party publications and research material were professionally archived.Two of the manuscript collections were edited and published. The first, Labor and Value, edited and introduced by Cyril Levitt and the late Rod Hay, was published in 2003; the second, Noetics, edited, introduced and prefaced by Cyril Levitt, in 2010.
Lawrence Krader was trained in philosophy at the City College of New York, the University of Chicago and Columbia University in the late thirties and early forties and received his doctorate from Harvard University in anthropology in 1953. He is best known for his empirical research and writings on the peoples of Central Asia and as the editor of The Ethnological Notebooks of Karl Marx. He never lost interest, however, in his first academic subject, philosophy, and the Festschrift, published in his honour on the occasion of his 75 birthday, aptly bears the title: Ethnohistorische Wege und Lehrjahre eines Philosophen [Ethno-historical Paths and Years of Apprenticeship of a Philosopher]. Noetics, is largely a philosophical work which covers important topics in a variety of fields including, aesthetics, anthropology, history of philosophy, linguistics, literary theory, mathematical logic, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, psychology and sociology. Krader was not averse to thinking of Noetics as his magnum opus, having started working on it in 1937 as an undergraduate philosophy major at CCNY. His remaining unpublished manuscripts cover a breath-taking range of subjects and disciplines and it was Krader’s hope, that through the establishment of this research and publishing project, that his Nachlass would provide material and impetus for future scholars to work the fields of knowledge that he had prepared for them.