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that is not only a timely and relevant messenger for a discrete community, but an enduring, widely-accessible historical document in its own right.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.
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. 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. 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. Watson would surely have told Stocking about the History of Psychology Group and its Newsletter. 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.
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.
 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.
 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.
 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).
 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
The American Philosophical Society Library & Museumin 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.
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 email@example.com.
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.” 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?”
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.
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.
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).
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org by 15 August 2019.
See here for the full CFP, written in German, English and French.
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).
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!
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
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
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:
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.”
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:
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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 after his death, also at Cambridge, in 1951.
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” 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).
The History of Anthropology Newsletter has been a venue for publication and conversation on the many histories of the discipline of anthropology since 1973. We became an open access web publication in 2016; please subscribe to our emails below to receive updates as we publish new essays, reviews, and bibliographies.
The revival of the History of Anthropology Newsletter (HAN) as an online publication began with volume 40 in 2016. Content is updated continually, and subscribers receive weekly emails with links to new content.
HAN is based at the Department of History and Sociology of Science, 303 Claudia Cohen Hall, 249 S. 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6304. Fax: 215-573-2231.