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Dean Discusses His Life-Changing Journey from Christian Missionary to Controversial Linguist


Dean Discusses His Life-Changing Journey from Christian Missionary to Controversial Linguist


Research, News

Bentley University Dean of Arts and Sciences Daniel Everett discussed the documentary of his life living among the Pirahã people of Brazil in what began as a Christian mission and grew into an in-depth study of the tribe’s singular language and culture in which there is no God.

The film, Grammar of Happiness, was featured in The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science Film Showcase on February 13, 2013, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Harvard Museum of Natural History in Boston. The program features clips and commentary by award-winning filmmakers and scientists from the 2012 Jackson Hole Science Media Awards.

Starting as a Christian missionary, Everett dedicated seven years over the course of three decades to living among the Pirahã people of Brazil. His research and conclusions of their singular language and culture -- which includes no words for numbers or colors, no sense of the distant past, no concern for the future and no need for God -- have challenged some conventional wisdom in modern linguistics.

The film aired worldwide in the 2012. It is a production of Essential Media and Entertainment, produced, co-directed and co-written by Michael O'Neill; co-produced by Pedro Novaes; and co-directed and shot by Randall Wood for broadcasters Smithsonian Networks, ABC Australia and Arte France. It won the prestigious Young European Jury Award at the FIPA festival in Biarritz, France in 2012 and was a finalist at the Pariscience Film Festival at the Paris Museum of Natural History in 2012.

About Daniel Everett: In addition to 14 years in university administration, Everett is an extraordinarily accomplished scholar, with much of his research centering on the study of the Pirahã people. He has published over 100 articles and 11 books. Slated for release this year, Shaping the Future of Business Education: Relevance, Rigor, and Life Preparation presents a best practice model of undergraduate business education that combines the intellectual power and uniqueness of a business education infused with a deeper understanding of arts and sciences. Recently released books include Language: The Cultural Tool, published by Pantheon Books, and Linguistic Fieldwork: A Student Guide, a textbook published by Cambridge University Press. His 2008 book, Don’t Sleep There are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle, is published in six languages. Profiles about his research have been published in The New Yorker, New Scientist, GEO Magazine, Gehirn & Geist, Scientific American Mind and Science News.

Please click here to see a trailer for the documentary Grammar of Happiness.

BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and customized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,200 full-time undergraduate, 82 part-time undergraduate, 1,000 graduate and 24 doctoral students. Bloomberg BusinessWeek ranks Bentley among the top 10 undergraduate business programs in the country. The Princeton Review’s Annual Best Colleges Guide names Bentley number one in the nation for career services and internship opportunities. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education.


by Meredith Mason  January 31, 2017

Princeton Review has ranked Bentley University the No. 1 college for internship opportunities in the United States as part of their 2017 edition of “Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 Schools That Give you the Best Bang for Your Tuition Buck.”