Journal: Social Evolution & History. Volume 22, Number 2 / September 2023

It has been more than a year since Henri J. M. Claessen passed away. However, we are still filled with sorrow at his passing. At the same time, after his passing we reflect more deeply on what a scholar he was, with a broad mind and interests, a sharp intellect and a truly scientific vision. In the autumn of 2022, we dedicated a special section of our journal to recollections of Henri Claessen by people who knew him and were in contact with him. However, this was not enough to pay tribute to Henri Claessen, to his contribution to anthropology and philosophy, and to his memory. We have therefore decided to publish a special issue dedicated to Claessen's memory.

Eleven authors have contributed to the special issue, with ten articles. Of course, the topics of the articles vary. However, the structure of the issue reflects very well Claessen's field of interest and his contribution to the development of social and political anthropology, both in the study of individual societies and in his larger theoretical generalizations. The first section is devoted to the topic of the anthropology of power and governance. The second section is devoted to a subject which was perhaps central to Сlaessen's work and which made him famous throughout the world. This is the subject of the early state, its formation and development. Finally, the third section is devoted to the study of social evolution, to the development of the theory to which Claessen made a major contribution. This section contains two articles devoted to the study of the demographic component (dimension) of social evolution. This is very relevant for the legacy of the great scholar, as among the several key factors for the early state formation, Henri Claessen included the demographic factor (in particular, in his notion of ‘a societal format’).

Each of the articles presented in this special issue are of great academic interest. And taken together, they undoubtedly make a significant contribution to strengthening the memory of the outstanding scholar, Henri J. M. Claessen.

Dmitri M. Bondarenko, Leonid E. Grinin, and Andrey V Korotayev