Announcing a Name Change: The History of Anthropology Review

In 2016 we relaunched this website as an online, collectively-edited update of the History of Anthropology Newsletter. We’re delighted to have celebrated our third birthday this summer. Our editorial collective has made the transition to a digital format, preserving not only HAN’s back issues (under the editorship of George Stocking and Henrika Kuklick) but, we believe, its goals and vision.

The site is serving as a regular channel for news of the discipline, including reviews (of books, conferences, and exhibits), essays, special issues (as with our recent dossiers on a landmark of Brazilian anthropology and on Canguilhem’s philosophy of the milieu), a record of recent and classic publications, plus tidbits from the archives in Clio’s Fancy (most recently, on the Dell Hymes-Gary Snyder correspondence). With the support of our Advisory Board and our remarkable contributors— coming from an enormous variety of nations, disciplines, and career stages—the site is helping to sustain the worldwide community of researchers exploring the vast range of topics and approaches that continue to reshape the history of anthropology.

Considering this expansion, and the ways in which people read, write, and organize today, we have felt that the name ‘Newsletter’ no longer quite fits what we do. We publish online nearly continuously, with considerably more new content than before. And while we welcome the radical associations of the term “newsletter”—as highlighted in Ira Bashkow’s past and recent essays on its meaning for Stocking— we no longer use a mimeograph or stapler, or aim primarily at a focused group of fellow travelers.

After much discussion, the editorial collective has decided to give the site a new name: History of Anthropology Review. This title strikes us as both modest and august. It emphasizes the importance for us and our readers of reviews of books, conferences, and exhibitions, while underlining our commitment to rethinking and re-evaluating the long and complex history, current trends, and future developments of both anthropology and its history. 

It strikes us that this new name (and its piratical abbreviation, HAR) keeps our aims and accomplishments intact. We hope, further, that it will encourage even more scholars to contribute to a publication that is not only a timely and relevant messenger for a discrete community, but an enduring, widely-accessible historical document in its own right.

We will make this change official later this month, in October 2019; our web address and other contact information will remain the same, and issues of HAR will simply be joined to those of HAN.   

As always, we warmly welcome contributions: in the forms of reviews, announcements, suggestions for articles, special issues, or archival finds (please write to the editors of each of the website’s departments with your suggestions or inquiries), and encourage you to continue to spread the word to potential contributors and subscribers. We also warmly thank all our authors, advisors, and readers—and look forward with great excitement to the future development of the field and of the History of Anthropology Review

The Inspiration for the History of Anthropology Newsletter

A few years ago when the History of Anthropology Newsletter (HAN) relaunched as an online publication, a number of articles described how it was started by George Stocking in 1973. More recently, a series of 24 articles has reflected on HAN’s inaugural editorial vision statement, which had the goal of marking out and developing the history of anthropology as a field of inquiry. We know a lot about the purposes which HAN was founded to serve, but we know little about the models that might have inspired it. 

One intriguing suggestion offered by Richard Handler is that Stocking’s experience producing and distributing a local union newsletter to Boston meatpacking workers in the 1950s, at a time when he was a union activist and meatpacking worker in Boston’s North End, primed him to see the utility of a newsletter for cultivating the network of interdisciplinary scholars he conceived as a young faculty member in the 1960s. We haven’t yet seen copies of this earlier mimeographed newsletter. If anyone finds it, please write about it for HAN

Recently I came across a more proximate, possible precursor while researching the little known backstory to Stocking’s influential criticism of “presentism” (and advocacy for “historicism”) in a methodological essay he originally published in the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences in 1965. An important character in that story (the person to whom Stocking was responding) was the psychologist Robert I. Watson, the journal’s founding editor. It turns out that Watson had earlier written and distributed a newsletter for psychologists interested in the history of their field. The first issue was really just a follow-up letter from Watson to those who had attended a meeting on the subject during the 1960 annual conference of the American Psychological Association (APA), but over time it became formalized and expanded.[1] By 1962 it had a typed title (“Newsletter No. 4: History of Psychology Group”), and by 1964, a masthead, with hand-stenciled lettering:

At this time the newsletter had an editorial committee and carried announcements of relevant meetings, publications, and archived materials, news and notes, and subscribers’ requests for help with current research projects.[2] Overall, it looks a lot like the early issues of HAN.

In 1966, while Watson was at Northwestern, he arranged for Stocking to lecture there while Stocking was visiting Chicago (from Berkeley), and they had dinner together at Watson’s Chicago home.[3] Watson would surely have told Stocking about the History of Psychology Group and its Newsletter.[4] There was also a group of psychiatrists, close to Watson, who published their own History of the Behavioral Sciences Newsletter starting in 1960. Watson liked to tell the story of these two newsletters as manifesting an intellectual “grass-roots phenomenon” of behavioral scientists’ rising interest in history, to which the 1965 founding of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences was a response.[5]

These newsletters were perhaps among Stocking’s models for HAN, offering precedents for the idea that a network of interested scholars at the margins of their home disciplines could be cultivated to provide the institutional beginning for a new field of inquiry. That network has grown, and HAN has developed over the years into a substantive publication, warranting its change of name today to History of Anthropology Review (HAR). As HAR, it continues the original vision of fostering connection among scholars who are dispersed geographically and pulled by disciplinary forces into socially and intellectually disparate orbits, serving as a clearinghouse for news, ideas, reviews, and resources. 

I have written about Stocking’s critique of “presentist” history, how Watson in fact provoked it, how Stocking later partly reversed himself, and what it means for history of anthropology today, in the latest issue of American Anthropologist.[6]


Works Cited: 

Bashkow, Ira. 2019. “On History for the Present: Revisiting George Stocking’s Influential Rejection of ‘Presentism’.” American Anthropologist 121, no. 3 (early view).

Carlson, Eric, and Robert Watson. 1965. “Editorial: The Birth of a Journal.” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 1, no. 1: 3–4. 

Dewsbury, Donald A. 2013. “The History of Psychology Newsletter, 1969–1997: History and index.” History of Psychology 16, no. 4: 282–287.

Watson, Robert. 1972. “Working Paper.” In The Psychologists, edited by T. S. Krawiec, 275–97. New York: Oxford University Press.

Watson, Robert. 1975. “The History of Psychology as a Specialty: A Personal View of Its First 15 Years.” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 11, no. 1: 5–14.


[1] Dewsbury 2013, 282; Watson 1972, 288; Watson 1975, 7.

[2] History of Psychology Group Newsletters in box M3360, folder 1, Robert I. Watson Papers, Archives of the History of American Psychology, The Drs. Nicholas and Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology, The University of Akron.

[3] Watson to Stocking, March 4, 1966, and April 11, 1966, George W. Stocking Jr., Papers, Box 29, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library. See also Bashkow 2019, footnote 5.

[4] Soon afterwards, the History of Psychology Group was institutionalized as the History of Psychology Division within the APA, and so the newsletter was renamed the History of Psychology Newsletter, continuing as such through 1997 (Dewsbury 2013).

[5] Carlson and Watson 1965, 3; Watson 1975, 7-8.

[6] The article also tells the story behind the founding of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences. Ira Bashkow, “On History for the Present: Revisiting George Stocking’s Influential Rejection of ‘Presentism,’” American Anthropologist (25 June 2019): 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1111/aman.13297

Funding Opportunity: 2020 Indigenous Community Research Fellowships at the American Philosophical Society Library & Museum

The American Philosophical Society Library & Museum in Philadelphia, PA invites applications for its 2020 Indigenous Community Research Fellowships. These fellowships support research by Indigenous community members, elders, teachers, knowledge keepers, tribal officials, traditional leaders, museum and archive professionals, scholars, and others, regardless of academic background, seeking to examine materials at the APS Library & Museum in support of Indigenous community-based priorities. More information about this opportunity can be found below.

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Latest Additions to the Bibliography, August 2019

This page displays our most recent batch of citations; a comprehensive bibliography of citations we’ve collected since 2016 (going back as far as 2013) and a search tool are also available.

We welcome suggestions from readers. If you come across something of interest during your own fieldwork in the library, whether that be physical or virtual, please let us know by emailing us at bibliographies@histanthro.org.

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Human Nature in a Pickup Truck

In 1975, education scholar Peter Dow wrote to a close collaborator that “If you haven’t already heard . . . Man: A Course of Study [MACOS] may become the best known and least used curriculum effort of the entire sixties.”[1] MACOS was one of the last Sputnik-era curriculum projects and aimed to introduce elementary-school children to anthropology. More profoundly, the curriculum developers also hoped to teach students how to think like scientists about questions like “What is human about human beings? How did they get that way? How can they be made more so?”[2]

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New Resource: Wendy Wickwire’s At the Bridge: James Teit and an Anthropology of Belonging

The History of Anthropology Newsletter is pleased to announce the recent publication of Wendy Wickwire‘s new work At the Bridge: James Teit and an Anthropology of Belonging. In this work, Wickwire chronicles the little-known story of James Teit, a prolific ethnographer who, from 1884 to 1922, worked with and advocated for the Indigenous peoples of British Columbia and the northwestern United States. As the first comprehensive and authoritative account of this important ethnographer, At the Bridge serves as a historical corrective, consolidating Teit’s place as a leading and innovative anthropologist and Indigenous rights activist.

A short description of this book can be found below.

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‘Savage Kin’ by Margaret Bruchac

Margaret M. Bruchac, Savage Kin: Indigenous Informants and American Anthropologists. With a foreword by Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel. Native Peoples of the Americas, edited by Laurie Weinstein. 280pp., notes., archives, bibl., index. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2018. $35 (paperback), $35 (eBook)

Kinship, both the social practice of specifying relationships among peoples and the study of these social relations, has undoubtedly shaped the development of disciplinary anthropology. Its influence ranges from participant observation (“adoptions” of anthropologists into groups) all the way to the reflexive turn, where the constellations of kin relations might bound the conditions of possibility in an ethnographic study. For anthropologists, kinship-thinking often goes hand in hand with fieldwork as an initial mode for understanding the social and cultural lives of others.

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HSS History of Anthropology Happy Hour, July 25 2019

In the spirit of the History of Science Society’s Annual Meeting, the History of Anthropology Newsletter will be hosting an informal gathering at Cafe Le Journal in Utrecht on Thursday, July 25th, at 7pm. All are welcome to join editors from the History of Anthropology Newsletter for drinks, snacks, and conversation.

John Tresch, Laurel Waycott, Adam Fulton Johnson, and Cameron Brinitzer will walk to Le Journal from Utrecht University (Drift 25) after the panel “At the Crossroads of the Senses: Human Sciences and Their Material Cultures ca. 1900” (Thursday, July 25, 16:00-18:00). 

History of Anthropology at HSS, Utrecht, the Netherlands, July 23-27, 2019

The annual meeting of the History of Science Society (HSS) will take place July 23-27 in the historic buildings of Utrecht University. Here is a list of sessions and events relevant to the history of anthropology:

July 24, 2019

Gendering Development

Drift 21, Rm 005, 9:00-11:45

Measuring Heads and Races: Continuities and Ruptures in the History of Biometry

Drift 25, Rm 204, 13:30-15:30

Population Variability and Human Types: Exploring the Scientific Uses of Race from the 1940s to the 1990s

Drift 25, Rm 103, 16:00-18:00

July 25, 2019

Pacific Science in Transnational and Translocal Perspective

Drift 25, Rm 206, 9:00-11:45

At the Crossroads of the Senses: Human Sciences and their Material Cultures ca 1900

Drift 25, Rm 105, 16:00-18:00

Cultivating Knowledge

Drift 25, Rm 204, 16:00-18:00

History of Anthropology Happy Hour

Cafe Le Journal, 7pm

July 26, 2019

Un-telling Expeditions

Janskerhof 2-3, Rm. 013, 13:30-15:30

Science in the Nineteenth Century

Drift 25, Rm 206, 13:30-15:30

Science, Universal History, and the Future

Drift 25, Rm 104, 13:30-15:30

July 27, 2019

Anatomical Representation and Bodily Difference in the Long-Nineteenth Century

Drift 25, Rm 105, 9:00-11:45

Histories of Anthropology at the History of Science Society, Seattle, 2018: Conference Report

The 2018 History of Science Society (HSS) conference in Seattle, Washington, was blessed with a rich offering in the history of anthropology, staking the field’s relevance to growing conversations around science in the world, Indigenous knowledges, and comparative cosmology.

For the first time, a formal land acknowledgement was explicitly incorporated into the plenary opening the conference. The settlement now known as Seattle sits on the historical territory of the Duwamish. After an introduction by Eli Nelson (Williams College), member of the Kanien’kehá:ka and historian of Native science, Cecile Hansen, Chairwoman of the Duwamish tribe, rose to the podium. She extended a welcome to members of HSS and detailed the tribe’s history in the area, including its ongoing struggle for federal recognition, and invited the packed audience to visit the Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center.

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CFP: Die Bilder der Aufklärung / Pictures of Enlightenment / Les Images des Lumières, Annual Conference of the German Society for Eighteenth Century Studies, Halle, Germany, 16-18 September 2020

The German Society for Eighteenth Century Studies (DGEJ) has issued a call for papers for its annual conference Die Bilder der Aufklärung / Pictures of Enlightenment / Les Images des Lumières. Taking place at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Enlightenment Studies, Halle (Saale), Germany from 16-18 September 2020, this trilingual event will explore the relations of and intersections between the Enlightenment and pictorial media. In particular, this event will focus on the role that artistic works, technical drawings, depictions of everyday objects, tables and diagrams and artisanal book illustrations played in shaping past and present concepts of the Enlightenment period.

The conference design proposes a combination of plenary papers and slightly shorter session papers. Conference organizers welcome German, English, or French-language papers and would like to particularly encourage early stage researchers to apply. To submit a paper, please send the title of your proposed presentation together with an abstract (max. 3000 characters incl. spaces) and a bio-bibliographical note to bilder2020@izea.uni-halle.de by 15 August 2019.

See here for the full CFP, written in German, English and French.

‘Writing the Past’ by Gavin Lucas

Gavin Lucas. Writing the Past: Knowledge and Literary Production in Archaeology. 188 pp., 1 b/w illus., 8 tables, bibl., index. London: Routledge, 2018. $39.95 (paper), $150 (hardback), eBook ($35.96)

In a magisterial and impressively learned way, Gavin Lucas details in his new book how archaeologists in the English-speaking world have been struggling for generations to turn what they are digging up into reliable knowledge about the past. The disagreements at the core of these struggles have often been intense. Moreover, these clashes over method and theory are far from over. As Lucas observes, “In the wake of debates in archaeology during the 1980s and 1990s one can no longer entertain any naivety about archaeological knowledge as an untroubled road to the truth about what happened in the past” (3).

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2019 Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) Annual Meeting


This week from June 26-29, 2019, the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) will convene its annual meeting at the University of Waikato in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Check out this year’s program and catch up on past years’ meetings with these reflections on sessions from 2016, 2017, and 2018. Also, if you are attending NAISA 2019 and would like to share your experiences or reflections on any panel sessions relevant to the history of anthropology, drop us a line!

History of Anthropology at NAISA 2018: Examining “Archival Diasporas”


Native American and Indigenous scholars often consult archival holdings in multiple sites and collections. Archival materials are frequently split, scattered, or dispersed across various repositories, and researchers will have to visit multiple institutions to access the papers and materials of previous anthropologists. For instance, the records and manuscripts of Margaret Mead are kept at the Library of Congress, American Philosophical Society, American Museum of Natural History, and other sites. Thus, scholars have over the years considered archival dispersion as a lens to examine the very nature of archives. What are the challenges and opportunities of studying the stories and contexts of dispersed collections? Continue reading

History of Anthropology at NAISA 2017 in Vancouver, BC


The Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) held its annual conference in Vancouver, Canada, on the traditional and unceded lands of the Musqueam Nation.  Hosted by the University of British Columbia (UBC), the conference reflected the vibrant explosion of work in this field, and brought together a group of scholars, artists, activists, and community members from nations across all continents (except Antarctica) for three days of work, play, and celebration. Continue reading

Event: Archives, Collections and Practices of Knowledge-Making: Histories of Anthropology, São Paulo, Brazil, 1-5 July 2019

From July 1-5, 2019, the Cidade Universitária and the Centro de Pesquisa e Formação SESC are hosting a conference entitled: “Practices of Knowledge-Making: Histories of Anthropology.” This event aims to reflect on anthropological archives and collections in order to retrieve histories of anthropology and shed new light on the discipline and its practices and procedures. More detailed information about this conference can be found below.

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Call for Nominations: General Anthropology Division Awards

The General Anthropology Division (GAD) of the American Anthropology Association is seeking calls for nominations for three awards: the GAD New Directions Award, the GAD Prize for Exemplary Cross-Field Scholarship, and the CASTAC David Hakken Prize for graduate student papers. These awards will be presented to recipients at the GAD’s annual awards ceremony. More information about these awards, and instructions for submitting a nomination can be found below.

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New Resource: Michael C. Carhart’s “Leibniz Discovers Asia: Social Networking in the Republic of Letters”

The History of Anthropology Newsletter (HAN) is happy to announce the publication of Michael C. Carhart’s new work Leibniz Discovers Asia: Social Networking in the Republic of Letters. Part of the Johns Hopkins University Press series “Information Cultures,” which illuminates the material and cultural circumstances that have shaped the production, reading, and public consumption of texts, Carhart’s work traces the history of linguistics through following the work of philosopher, scientist, and mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, who developed a vast network of scholars and missionaries throughout Europe to acquire the linguistic data he needed.

Dr. Carhart has written a short description of his book, which can be found below:

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‘The Story Box’ Exhibition Review

The Story Box: Franz Boas, George Hunt and the Making of Anthropology. An exhibition at the Bard Graduate Center Gallery in New York and the U’mista Cultural Centre in Alert Bay, Canada, curated by Aaron Glass with designs by Corrine Hunt.

On view at the Bard Graduate Center from February 14-July 7, 2019
On view at the U’mista Cultural Centre from July 20-October 26, 2019

In April of 1897, American anthropologist Franz Boas wrote a letter to a group of Kwagu’ł chiefs on Canada’s northwestern coast. He explained that “It is good that you should have a box in which your laws and stories are kept. My friend, George Hunt, will show you a box in which some of your stories will be kept. It is a book I have written on what I saw and heard when I was with you two years ago.”

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Lightswitch and Crankshaft: Poetical Linguistics and Linguistical Poetics

Editors’ Notes: In our latest addition to Clio’s Fancy, Charles Greifenstein touches on the relationship between poetry and anthropology through the letters between the poet Gary Snyder and the sociolinguist Dell Hymes.

In these folders, one finds the most intriguing things. Drawings labelled “Chart of World Symbols”; a letter in crayon; gossip about teachers and girlfriends; what the author is reading, and what he thinks of it; what the author is thinking when he is not reading; what the author is writing (other than letters); how the author and correspondent will survive in the academic world. The author sometimes signs his letters “Aleksandr Leitswics” (“light switch?”). And there is poetry:

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Histories of Anthropology: Transforming Knowledge and Power, Cambridge, 2017: Conference Report

 

Histories of Anthropology: Transforming Knowledge and Power” was a two-day conference held at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, on 18–19 September 2017. Papers ranged widely in geographical scope, in their methodological approach, and in their focus on different anthropological subfields. This report analyses submitted abstracts to give a suggestion about the state of the field and summarizes the contributions of each of the speakers made in their presentations.

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Introducing Generative Texts

At the American Anthropological Association Meeting in 2017, Sydel Silverman humbly asked Janet Steins, a HAN bibliography editor, if her 2002 book The Beast on the Table: Conferencing with Anthropologists could be included in our publication’s ever-evolving online bibliography.  Because our cutoff date for publications is 2013 or later, we were forced to decline. Fortunately, Silverman’s inquiry kicked off lengthy discussions among the HAN editorial collective concerning how we might bring the attention of our readers to important, provocative, and influential texts published at any time in the past which have generated discussions and new lines of thought for researchers and others interested in the history of anthropology. The recent and unfortunate passing of Silverman in March 2019 spurred these discussions and our desire to devise ways of better accounting for important works that have fallen through our cataloguing sieve. After many months of deliberation and collaboration, we are pleased to introduce a new subsection to the Bibliography page: Generative Texts.

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The Beast on the Table

Silverman, Sydel. The Beast on the Table: Conferencing with Anthropologists. Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press, 2002.

Synopsis

In this “ethnography of anthropologists and their conference behavior” (x), Sydel Silverman describes the interworking of the Wenner-Gren Foundation’s International Symposia, writing from the perspective of a participant observer.  As president of the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research from 1986 to 1999, Silverman was the principal organizer of these invitation-only meetings. She begins by detailing the general process by which a conference was conceived and implemented, including attention to the idiosyncrasies of the Wenner-Gren conferencing model. The five- to six-day conferences were structured around discussions of pre-circulated papers, collective meals and cocktail hours. The strict rules of participation prohibited outsiders, including spouses, which regularly engendered “dissension and conflict” (13). The book proceeds to explore the interworking of 25 conferences that nearly span the entire course of Silverman’s 13-year presidency. While some gatherings proved more successful in terms of bringing the “beast” to life (a metaphor for the events originally coined by participant Gregory Bateson), Silverman identifies consistent patterns such as a persistent “epistemological division” between essentialist and constructionist views of science (261). Thus, The Beast on the Table offers a rare insider perspective on the collective (and often contested) formation of anthropological knowledge within institutional settings.

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“Remarks on Frazer’s Golden Bough”

Wittgenstein, Ludwig. “Remarks on Frazer’s Golden Bough.” In Philosophical Occasions, 1912–1951, edited by James C. Klagge and Alfred Nordmann, 118–55. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1993.

Synopsis

Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Remarks on Frazer’s Golden Bough is a set of aphoristic notes and marginalia scribbled in reaction to Sir James George Frazer’s armchair account of magical rites, ritual, and ceremony. Frazer’s The Golden Bough, first published in 1890, grew to thirteen volumes by 1936, four years prior to Frazer’s death at Cambridge; a 1922 abridgment compiled by Frazer’s spouse has circulated widely ever since. The bulk of Wittgenstein’s Remarks were composed during his initial encounter with Frazer’s text in 1931, the rest “not earlier than 1936 and probably after 1948,” according to one biographer. They were first published[1] after his death, also at Cambridge, in 1951. 

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Objects and Others

Stocking, George W., editor. Objects and Others: Essays on Museums and Material Culture. History of Anthropology, Volume 3. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1985.

Synopsis

Objects and Others, the third installment of the History of Anthropology series published by University of Wisconsin Press, is an edited volume featuring essays on the role of material culture and museums in the history of anthropology. While originally conceived as a series of essays on the “museum period”[1] of anthropology, George Stocking explains in his introduction how the process of assembling and editing the essays opened up larger questions about “objects and others”—in other words, how material culture mediates the relationship between science and its subjects. The case studies, primarily drawn from British and North American contexts, illustrate the role of material culture and museums in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Several case studies focus on key institutional spaces: the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford (William R. Chapman), the Peabody Museum at Harvard (Curtis Hinsley), the Trocadero Museum in Paris (Elizabeth A. Williams), and the American Museum of Natural History, where Ira Jacknis memorably narrates how Franz Boas attempted, and ultimately rejected, the role of exhibition designer. The remaining essays focus on the negotiations that happen around the collection, preservation, and display of objects, including how the Rockefeller Foundation’s philanthropy shaped scientific priorities (Stocking), how market forces guided the creation and valuation of American Indian art in the Southwest (Edwin L. Wade), how Quebec selected a particular aesthetic version of its French past to preserve and perpetuate (Richard Handler), and how the shifting institutional place of archaeology within the academy shaped collecting trends (Bruce G. Trigger). 

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