CFP: “‘To disseminate the sciences and to benefit humanity’: On the 250th Anniversary of the Physical Expeditions of the Academy of Sciences,” St. Petersburg, Russia, November 19-21, 2018

The Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) of the Russian Academy of Sciences (St. Petersburg, Russian Federation), the Francke Foundations (Halle, Germany) and the University of Hamburg have issued a call for papers for the international scientific conference “‘To disseminate the sciences and to benefit humanity’: On the 250th Anniversary of the Physical Expeditions of the Academy of Sciences,” which will be held in St. Petersburg, Russia from November 19-21, 2018.

More detailed information and submission instructions can be found below:

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Beyond Silverbacks: A Lost History of the Gorilla Wars

The history of anthropology was once a genealogy of silverbacks: Elsie Clews Parsons, Ruth Benedict and Margaret Mead excepted, a genealogy of venerated men who contributed something perceived definitional to the field, worth rearticulating in the present. The histories of those who died early or outside of institutions, who had written or done something that no longer squared with anthropology’s rapidly swinging moral arc (such as practicing as an ethnologist), or who had the misfortune of being born female, non-white, or outside of Europe and the United States, were often left forgotten, and their recovery more recently has changed the field and its historical accounting. Continue reading

CFP: History and Anthropology Revisited, Paris, France, May 2-4, 2018

From May 2-4, 2018 the Centre Universitaire de Norvège à Paris will be hosting a three day workshop entitled History and Anthropology Revisited, which will examine promising intersections between history and anthropology in present scholarship. The workshop will be a combination of keynote lectures, and an in-depth discussion of a series of pre-circulated papers. It is envisioned as an opportunity for young scholars working on the different dimensions of the history of anthropology to meet and discuss their research in progress.

More detailed information and submission instructions can be found below:

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‘A Passion for the True and Just’ by Alice Beck Kehoe

Alice Beck Kehoe. A Passion for the True and Just: Felix and Lucy Kramer Cohen and the Indian New Deal. 256pp., illus., notes, bibl., index. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2014. $55.00 (hardcover), $24.95 (paperback), $24.95 (e-book)

The Indian New Deal—the name given to the series of policies that shifted Native American-US relations from one of allotment[1] to limited tribal recognition in the 1930s and 1940s—lies at the center of Alice Kehoe’s A Passion for the True and Just: Felix and Lucy Kramer Cohen and the Indian New Deal. However, the book is more than a rehashing of the debates surrounding the implementation and legacies of the Indian New Deal. On one level, A Passion for the True and Just is an account of the relatively unexamined role of Felix and Lucy Kramer Cohen in designing key pieces of Indian New Deal legislation and texts. On another level, the book has the more ambitious goal of “[juxtaposing] two histories seldom merged, that of the Indian New Deal and Jews in twentieth-century America” (8). Through the life and work of the Cohens, Kehoe details the ways in which Jewish intellectuals significantly shaped the construction of this “turning point in colonialism” (163).

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CFP: 2018 AAA Meeting in San Jose, CA, November 14-18, 2018

The American Anthropological Association (AAA) has issued a call for papers for it’s 117th Annual Meeting which will take place in San Jose, CA from November 14-18, 2018. The theme of the meeting is “Change in the Anthropological Imagination: Resistance, Resilience and Adaptation.” The conference committee is currently accepting submissions for papers, posters, workshops, roundtables that address the themes of resistance, resilience, and adaptation from a wide range of perspectives. The deadline for proposals is April 16th, 3:00pm EST. 

Additional information about the conference theme and submission process can be found here.

New Resource: Ramah McKay’s “Medicine in the Meantime: The Work of Care in Mozambique”

The History of Anthropology Newsletter (HAN) is pleased to announce the release HAN Advisory Board member Ramah McKay‘s new book Medicine in the Meantime: The Work of Care in MozambiquePublished this past January by Duke University Press, McKay’s work follows two medical projects in Mozambique through the day-to-day lives of patients and health care providers, showing how transnational medical resources and infrastructures give rise to diverse possibilities for work and care amid constraint.

A full description of the book can be found below:

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New Resource: “History of Archaeology” Internet Dossier

An internet dossier on the “History of Archaeology” has just been published by the National Institute of Preventative Archeological Research (INRAP).

By tracing how major archaeological discoveries occurred around the world and how they have been approached, interpreted and enhanced over the centuries, this resource helps us to better understand how archaeology became the scientific discipline we know today and where the field is headed.

More information can be found here

CFP: Panel on “New Encounters with Museum Anthropology,” 18th IUAES World Congress, Florianopolis, Brazil, July 16-20, 2018.

Mariana Françozo (Leiden University) and Christiano Tambascia (Unicamp, Brazil) invite submissions for a panel on museum anthropology at the upcoming 18th IUAES World Congress, to be held in Florianopolis, Brazil from July 16-20, 2018. The panel abstract and details for submission are provided below:

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CFP: History of Anthropology Panels at the 15th EASA conference in Stockholm, Sweden, 14-17 August 2018

The 15th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) will take place at the University of Stockholm, Sweden from August 14-17, 2018. The theme of this event is “Staying, Moving, Settling,” with all panels, labs and plenary discussions touching on some aspect of the varied forms of mobility.

Five panels have been created that are relevant to the History of Anthropology (shown below). The call for papers for these panels opened on 27 February and will close on 9 April 2018. More information about this event as well as detailed submission instructions can be found here.

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Event: History of Anthropology Events at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists Annual Meeting, Austin, TX, April 10-14, 2018

The annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA) will take place from April 10-14, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency in Austin, TX. A  list of sessions and events relevant to the history of anthropology can be found below:

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History of Anthropology and a Name Change at the German Ethnological Society Meeting in Berlin: Conference Report

The 12th History of Anthropology workshop took place during the biannual conference of the German Ethnological Society (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Völkerkunde, DGV) at the Free University of Berlin on October 5, 2017. Convened around the theme “From the History of Anthropology to its Future: Historical, Moral, and Political Affinities,” the workshop was organized by Peter Schweitzer (Vienna, Austria) and the present author. It featured seven papers out of sixteen submissions, as well as a keynote address (see program under “Workshop 17”). Continue reading

‘Realizing the Witch’ by Baxstrom and Meyers

Richard Baxstrom and Todd Meyers. Realizing the Witch: Science, Cinema, and the Mastery of the Invisible. 296pp., 64 b&w illus., filmography, bibl., index. New York: Fordham University Press, 2016. $95 (hardcover), $29.95 (paperback), $19.99 (e-book)

In Realizing the Witch, Richard Baxstrom and Todd Meyers attempt to analyze Benjamin Christensen’s 1922 film Häxan in its totality: as film, as historical and scientific treatise, and as anthropology. Häxan is Christensen’s cinematic attempt to present his thesis—that the witches of the sixteenth century represent the same psychological phenomenon as the hysterics of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Baxstrom and Meyers’s book is structured into two parts and seven chapters, following the structure of the film itself. The two parts focus on the on-screen realization of the witch (Part 1) and on the links between the witch and modern psychiatric understandings as presented in the film (Part 2), but the authors explore all themes throughout the book.

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Event: Coming of Age: The Sexual Awakening of Margaret Mead, American Philosophical Society, PA, 8 March 2018

In honor of the American Philosophical Society‘s 275th anniversary, the Society’s 2018 lecture series will feature talks inspired by the APS’s history and the work of its Members. Margaret Mead was elected to the Society in 1977.

On 8 March 2018 the APS will host a public event entitled: Coming of Age: The Sexual Awakening of Margaret Mead, which will engage author Deborah Blum in a discussion of her new book of the same title. A reception will be held at 5:30pm, and the lecture will take place at 6:00pm. All events will take place in Benjamin Franklin Hall, 427 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA.

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Fellowship: Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Native American Scholars Initiative (NASI) Internship

The Native American Scholars Initiative (NASI) Undergraduate Summer Internship provides an opportunity for three talented undergraduates to conduct research, explore career possibilities in archives and special collections, and learn about advanced training in Native American and Indigenous Studies and related fields.

This eight-week paid internship program at the American Philosophical Society Library in Philadelphia will offer a hands-on research experience and will include mentorship and networking opportunities. The APS Library has rich and varied collections related to over 440 different Indigenous cultures throughout the Americas. Working with mentors, interns will develop their own archives-based projects or pursue research projects identified by the Indigenous communities, with which the Center for Native American and Indigenous Research (CNAIR) interacts and collaborates. More information about this opportunity as well as detailed application instructions can be found below:

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‘Artefacts of History’ by Sudeshna Guha

Sudeshna Guha, Artefacts of History: Archaeology, Historiography and Indian Pasts. xiii+273 pp., 15 illus., bibl., index. New Delhi: SAGE Publications, 2015. $59 (hardcover)

Sudeshna Guha has written a book that not only complicates the history, but also provides a searing critique, of the practices and historiography of archaeology and heritage in India. Artefacts of History is required (and perhaps uncomfortable) reading for anyone interested in that history, questions about the global circulation of knowledge, issues surrounding the role these practices have played in the making of the pre- and post-partition Indian nation-state, and the conduct and role of archaeology and heritage in ‘postcolonial’ countries more generally. Furthermore, Guha makes the reader rethink the history of Indian archaeology in ways that question the writing of that and other archaeological histories. Similar to the recent work of Christina Riggs on the history of Egyptology,[1] her volume also prompts renewed consideration of the role such histories might play in helping to constitute archaeological and heritage practice that actually interrogates the categories and taken-for-granteds upon which it relies.

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Event: No “mere accumulation of material”: Land as Evidence in Americanist Anthropology; 19 February, 2018, University of Pennsylvania, PA

On Monday, February 19, 2018  Julia Rodriguez (University of New Hampshire) will be presenting a paper as part of the University of Pennsylvania’s HSS Workshop series. The presentation, titled: “No mere accumulation of material’: Land as Evidence in Americanist Anthropology” will have a strong history of anthropology focus, and will look at the role that Latin America played in the origins of transnational Americanist anthropology. The workshop will take place at 3:00pm in Claudia Cohen Hall, Rm 337.

The full abstract of Dr. Rodriguez’s paper can be found below:

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CFP: Panel on Missionary Ethnographies, 18th IUAES World Congress, Florianopolis (Brasil), July 16 to 20, 2018

Ana Rita Amaral (University of Lisbon) and Richard Hölzl (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen) invite submissions for a panel on Missionary Ethnographies: Encounters, Uses and Legacies Between Science and Faith (OP 125) which will be presented at the 18th IUAES World Congress held in Florianopolis (Brasil) from July 16-20, 2018. They seek papers that examine missionary transgressions of the boundary of the religious and the secular, both in missionary ethnographic fieldwork and in missionary exhibitions, museums, collections, popular and scientific publications. The full panel abstract and details for submission are provided below:

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Fellowships: 2018-2019 Native American Scholars Initiative (NASI) Fellowships at the American Philosophical Society

The American Philosophical Society Library in Philadelphia, PA invites applications for predoctoral, postdoctoral, and short-term research fellowships from scholars at all stages of their careers, especially Native American scholars in training, tribal college and university faculty members, and other scholars working closely with Native communities on projects in Native American and Indigenous Studies and related fields and disciplines. These funding opportunities are supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Native American Scholars Initiative (NASI). Fellows will be associated with the APS’s Center for Native American and Indigenous Research (CNAIR), which promotes greater collaboration among scholars, archives, and indigenous communities.

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‘Collecting, Ordering, Governing’ by Bennett et al.

Tony Bennett, Fiona Cameron, Nélia Dias, Ben Dibley, Rodney Harrison, Ira Jacknis, and Conal McCarthy. Collecting, Ordering, Governing: Anthropology, Museums, and Liberal Government. 360 pp., 46 illus., notes, refs., index. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017. $94.95 (cloth), $26.95 (paper)

Histories of museum anthropology often have been constrained by the particularities of the institutions in which anthropological and archaeological objects have been gathered and displayed. Furthermore, these institutional narratives have tended to neglect the broader political implications of curatorial practices. In Collecting, Ordering, Governing, seven scholars specializing in the history of anthropology and museum studies have begun to subvert these accounts through a thoughtfully-crafted book that relies as much on the careful application of theory as it does on recounting the histories of specific museums. Focusing on case studies of museum displays and collecting projects organized in settler-colonial states (the United States, Australia, New Zealand) and in former imperial powers (Great Britain and France), the authors highlight both the explicit and implicit connections between developments in museum anthropology and the establishment of government policies. Yet the authors are careful to note that the book is not meant to serve as a “comparative analysis” of anthropological museums as established in different national and/or regional political contexts; rather, it concentrates on using these cases to trace the complex networks of influence and authority that enabled transactions of particular things and ideas across both physical and conceptual spaces (2). By focusing on these processes of exchange during what is typically regarded as the height of anthropology’s “museum era” (Sturtevant 1969; Stocking 1985), the authors shift away from scholarship that positions the museum as the central organizing force in the collection of anthropological objects and data and instead look to a variety of sites and actors that supported the management of populations as well as the dissemination of scientific and cultural knowledge.

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Shining a Light on Archaeological Data Processing: The Termatrex Machine

Archivist Alex Pezzati of the Penn Museum was on the verge of discarding a “curious collection” in the fall of 2016, when I invited him to present at a workshop I was then co-organizing with other members of the Penn Humanities Forum. “Translation beyond the Human” was our chosen theme, and I was hoping he could divert us with anecdotes about the history of early computing in anthropology. Continue reading

Arsenic and Old Pelts: Deadly Pesticides in Museum Collections

All museums use pesticides and preservatives, though their health impacts are not always known; ethnographic collections can thus pose a health risk. Here we  open one cold case file, in which we believe a prominent American anthropologist may have directly suffered from such effects. Our own experience and inquiries confirm this hunch.

Clark Wissler fell ill in 1905, soon after he began working in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. At some point during the period of Wissler’s illness, Museum Director Henry Fairfield Osborn recommended that his own physician examine Wissler. But despite this additional medical consultation, the illness persisted and was never successfully diagnosed—making him appear frail until 1928 when it mysteriously cleared up. The symptoms were severe enough to cause Wissler to give up his fieldwork on the Blackfeet Reservation. Continue reading

Event: Tour of Smithsonian’s Department of Anthropology Archives and Ethnological Collection, Maryland, USA

This year, the American Historical Association is offering a behind-the-scenes tour of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History‘s Department of Anthropology collections and National Anthropological Archives (NAA) at the museum’s off-site storage site, the Museum Support Center, in Suitland, Maryland.  This tour will be held on Friday, Jan. 5th, from 2:30-4:30 pm, and is open to 20 participants.  Interested historians should RSVP to Caitlin Haynes, NAA Reference Archivist at by Dec. 29, 2017 with your name and contact information to reserve your spot.

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‘Cultures in the Body’: Dance and Anthropology in Revolutionary Cuba

The short documentary Historia de un ballet (History of a Ballet, 1962) dramatizes an ethnographic encounter central to a creative process. Director José Massip followed Cuban choreographer Ramiro Guerra and his company of modern dancers as they researched, created, and premiered a new work, Suite Yoruba (1960), about Afro-Cuban ritual music and dance. The film depicts dancers actively engaging with anthropological methods as they conduct fieldwork and share their findings with a wider public through performance. Though not formally trained as anthropologists, dancers traversed disciplinary and social boundaries to create work that animated political visions of revolutionary collectivity. Continue reading

CFP: Symposium on the History of Biological Anthropology and the Royal Anthropological Institute; 20 April 2018, London, England

The Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI) is pleased to announce that it will be holding a one day meeting to explore the history of biological anthropology and the RAI on 20 April 2018.

Dr. David Shankland, Director of the RAI & Dr. Simon Underdown, Oxford Brookes University, invite paper submissions that examine the history of biological anthropology or the changing relationship between bio- and social anthropology, focusing particularly on how these histories intersect with the RAI. They also welcome papers about the Institute’s publications, its Presidents, Fellows, or its projects from its foundation to the present. The full symposium abstract and details for submission are provided below:

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‘All the World Is Here’ Exhibition Review

All the World Is Here: Harvard’s Peabody Museum and the Invention of American Anthropology. A new exhibit (opened April 2017) at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University, curated by Irene Castle McLaughlin, Ilisa Barbash, and Diana Loren.

In celebration of its 150th anniversary, the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology at Harvard University has curated All the World Is Here: Harvard’s Peabody Museum and the Invention of American Anthropology. The exhibition boasts an impressive array of ethnographic artifacts, which range from a Feejee mermaid to Hopi baskets to a bracelet from the Iron Age. Photographs, correspondence, and newspaper clippings set the historical contexts during which the artifacts were created, collected, and circulated. Together, these materials document the late-nineteenth-century ambitions behind the founding of the museum, while granting particular attention to the work of Frederic Ward Putnam, who served as the Peabody’s second director (1875-1909) and trained the first generation of ethnographers in the country, including Franz Boas. The exhibit argues that the Peabody Museum, as a hub for the aggregation of artifacts and intellectual engagement, provided an initial scaffolding for anthropology as an academic discipline in the United States.

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