Edward Westermarck (1862 – 1939) was a Finnish philosopher and sociologist, known internationally as a pioneer of social anthropology.
Westermarck first came to England in 1897 and frequently thereafter. He learnt English in order to read Darwin and others. His research into reverse sexual imprinting (basically, not being attracted to a sibling) is now known as the Westermarck effect. .
He helped found academic sociology in the United Kingdom, becoming the first professor of sociology (with Leonard Trelawny Hobhouse) in 1907 in the University of London.
He was one of the founders of The Anglo-Finnish Society (founded in London in 1911). As part of its centenary celebrations in 2011 The Society organised a international conference celebrating his life and work, held at Chancellor’s Hall, Senate House, University of London. With the co-operation of the University of London, the Society also arranged for a plaque in memory of Westermarck to be erected on the site of a house where Westermarck had once lived when he was teaching at the LSE. The plaque is installed on the north elevation of the south block Senate House, as marked on this map.
His work is continued by The Westermarck Society, based in Turku, Finland.