A Social History of Anthropology in the United States
Thomas C. Patterson
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"In part due to the recent Yanomami controversy, which has rocked anthropology to its very core, there is renewed interest in the discipline's history and intellectual roots, especially amongst anthropologists themselves. The cutting edge of anthropological research today is a product of earlier questions and answers, previous ambitions, preoccupations and adventures, stretching back one hundred years or more. This book is the first comprehensive history of American anthropology. Crucially, Patterson relates the development of anthropology in the United States to wider historical currents in society.
American anthropologists over the years have worked through shifting social and economic conditions, changes in institutional organization, developing class structures, world politics, and conflicts both at home and abroad. How has anthropology been linked to colonial, commercial and territorial expansion in the States? How have the changing forms of race, power, ethnic identity and politics shaped the questions anthropologists ask, both past and present? Anthropology as a discipline has always developed in a close relationship with other social sciences, but this relationship has rarely been scrutinized.
This book details and explains the complex interplay of forces and conditions that have made anthropology in America what it is today. Furthermore, it explores how anthropologists themselves have contributed and propagated powerful images and ideas about the different cultures and societies that make up our world.
This book will be essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the roots and reasons behind American anthropology at the turn of the twenty-first century. Intellectual historians, social scientists, and anyone intrigued by the growth and development of institutional politics and practices should read this book."
the ethnology of Eastern Europe (Spencer 1979:672–85). – 58 – Anthropology in the Liberal Age Merriam, who had also taught anthropology for a number of years at Berkeley earlier in his career, was concerned with the problem of organization in anthropology. He quickly decided that it should have a close relation with psychology. His intentions became clearer, however, in a lecture he delivered to the members of the Galton Society in December 1918. The problem with anthropology, he argued, was
ability to develop meaningful working relationships with individuals in diverse disciplines thrived in these circumstances, and he was quickly recognized and acknowledged as a leading figure in the field, a truly public intellectual. Discussion Anthropology was professionalized in the waning years of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century. The first professional anthropologists were employed by the federal government in the surveys of the Western states, the National
life in primitive society were dissolved when class structures and private property appeared, and when families and women were removed from the safety of the clan and were forced to fend for themselves (Engels 1884/1972:95, 137– 45, 233; Leacock 1972). 4. Boas was born in the wake of the liberal revolution that spread across Europe after the French king was overthrown in 1848. His home was a place “where the ideals of the revolution of 1848 were a living force” (Boas 1938:201; Frank 1997; Hyatt
shifted to new areas [i.e. Europe]. . . . The industrial revolution brought profound cultural changes to Western Europe and caused competition for colonies and for areas of exploitation. Japan entered the competition as soon as she acquired the general pattern. The realignments of power caused by Germany’s losses in the first world war and by Italy’s and Japan’s in the second are of a social order. What new cultural patterns will result from these remains to be seen. The general assumption today
built on Spencer’s and Durkheim’s notions of increasing social differentiation. Willey at Harvard was a leading proponent of the former, and Robert Braidwood (b. 1907) of the University of Chicago championed the latter. Both took to heart Walter Taylor’s (1948) assertions that archaeologists needed to move beyond the construction of cultural sequences and that they should begin to explore the cultural and social dimensions of the societies whose artifactual remains they had excavated. Both