In the 14th century, the North African scholar Ibn Khaldun wrote the first historical work to focus on tribalism as the key to understanding human civilization. In his analysis, civilization faces an eternal dilemma and needs tribal values to survive. In his scholarship, Professor Weatherford tries to follow the tradition of Ibn Khaldun by studying the relationship of tribal people to the larger societies around them and to world history.
Professor Weatherford is a cultural anthropologist who has been teaching Anthropology at Macalester since 1983. He graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1967, with a B.A. in Political Science followed by a M.A. in Sociology in 1972. He also received a M.A. in Anthropology in 1973 and a Ph.D in Anthropology from the University of California, San Diego. He went on to post-doctoral work in the Institute of Policy Sciences at Duke University.
Dr. Weatherford has worked with contemporary groups in places such as Bolivia and the Amazon with emphasis on the role of tribal people in world history. The April 2000 issue from the Chronicle of Higher Education gives an overview of some of that work.
In recent years, he has concentrated on the Mongols. His book Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World was an international best seller published in more than twenty languages. In 2007 President Enkhbayar of Mongolia awarded him the Order of the Polar Star, Mongolia’s highest national award, in recognition of his contribution to Mongolian culture. His most recent work, The Secret History of the Mongol Queens, is the first book written on the daughters of Genghis Khan.
2012 is the 850th anniversary of the birth of Genghis Khan and to honor that anniversary, the Mongolian President’s office sent audio book recordings of Weatherford’s books, Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World and The Secret History of the Mongol Queens to be played at all Mongolia’s sacred places from the eastern to the western border. The project took four months.