Year: 2017 (page 2 of 4)

History of Anthropology at Ethnohistory 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee

From November 9-12, 2016, the American Society of Ethnohistory (ASE) convened its Annual Meeting at the Hutton Hotel in “Music City” Nashville, Tennessee. The meeting assembled scholars from a diverse range of fields including history, anthropology, linguistics, indigenous studies, and environmental and cultural studies, as well as representatives from various indigenous political, environmental, heritage, and cultural institutions. The canopy topic, “Ethnohistory of Native Space”, encouraged analyses that ranged from dwelling and diaspora notions of ‘home places’, to other experiences of space, place and time. This included inquiries into how native spaces are represented through narrative and performance and studies of different forms of colonial legacies. It also involved a focus on uses of mapping technologies employed to display place-based histories, interactions, and social transformations. Continue reading

‘Anthropologists in the Stock Exchange’ by Marc Flandreau

Marc Flandreau. Anthropologists in the Stock Exchange: A Financial History of Victorian Science. 421pp., 12 halftones, notes, sources, works cited, index. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016. $105 (cloth), $35 (paper), $10-35 (e-book options)

Note: This review first appeared in the Times Literary Supplement (no. 5943, 24 February 2017, pp. 9-10) with the title “The Cannibal Club: How Victorian Anthropologists Tried to Defraud the Financial Markets” and is reprinted with permission of TLS and the author.

When the American railway engineer George Earl Church visited La Paz in 1868, it was to lay the groundwork for a grandiose scheme to build a railway through Bolivia’s rainforested border with Brazil, allowing its natural resources to be exported via the Amazon River. After several more stops, Church was in London where he got himself elected to the Royal Geographical Society, lending a sheen of scientific credibility to what was in fact a financial scam. No railway was built, but the scheme was a marvel of financial engineering. After Church signed the loan contract in Bolivia’s name, bonds to fund the loan were sold to English investors. These bonds traded on the London Stock Exchange.

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CFP: Panel on “Friendship and Other Connections in American Anthropology, 1890s–1920s,” for 2017 AAA Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Richard Warms (Texas State University) and Jon McGee (Texas State University) are looking for contributors to a AAA panel on “Friendship and Other Connections in American Anthropology, 1890s–1920s.” They seek papers about “connections of family, friendship, enmity, and patronage among anthropologists, people particularly interested in anthropology, and others.” The full panel abstract is reproduced below: Continue reading

History, Archives, and Endangered Languages: A Review of the “Translating Across Space and Time” Symposium at the American Philosophical Society

Translating Across Space and Time: Endangered Languages, Cultural Revitalization, and the Work of History,” a symposium held in Philadelphia from October 13 through October 15, 2016, convened scholars, practitioners, and Indigenous knowledge keepers from across the United States and Canada.

Hosted by the American Philosophical Society’s (APS) Center for Native American and Indigenous Research (CNAIR) and co-sponsored by the Penn Humanities Forum at the University of Pennsylvania, the conference coincided with the APS Museum exhibition, Gathering Voices: Thomas Jefferson and Native America, which showcased the APS’s work in Native American language collection and revitalization from Jefferson to the present. Over 69,000 visitors attended the exhibition between April and December 2016. This scholarly conference drew over 100 in-person attendees and over 100 more via live web stream. Panelists from across the United States and Canada presented 21 papers on topics related to endangered languages, translation, and language revitalization projects in Native American and Indigenous communities. Continue reading

History of Anthropology: Why, How, and For Whom?

Under the title “Why History of Anthropology and Who Should Write It?” the History of Anthropology Working Group of the German Anthropological Association (DGV) organized a two-day conference on “Cultural and Social Anthropology and its Relation to its own History and to the Historical Sciences” at the University of Vienna (Austria) on December 9–10, 2016. Peter Schweitzer, Marie-France Chevron, and Peter Rohrbacher, staff members of the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna, convened the conference. The central questions they formulated were: (1) “To what end should a history of anthropology be written,” (2) Is there “a ‘best practice’ for this form of historiography,” and (3) “For whom should a history of anthropology be written”? Continue reading

Obituary: Britta Rupp-Eisenreich (1928–2017)

It was perhaps because of her Austrian origins and her cosmopolitan life-course that Britta Rupp-Eisenreich was able, from the beginning of the 1980s, to play a pioneering role in the field of the history of anthropology in France. In 1981, she organized the first workshop devoted to the history of anthropology during the symposium of the French Association of Anthropologists (AFA)[1], providing an overview of the current state of the field.[2] In addition to two publications from this workshop[3], Britta Rupp-Eisenreich was the author of numerous works on subjects including social Darwinism in Germany, links between philology and ethnology, and figures such as Georg Forster, Christoph Meiners and Franz Reuleaux. (The choice to study the latter was largely due to her training at the Musée de l’Homme under the direction of André Leroi-Gourhan.) In a certain sense, Britta Rupp-Eisenreich was a relay for ideas between German-speaking countries and France. (She also translated Herman Hesse’s Magie du livre: Écrits sur la littérature.) Continue reading

Event: “Law and Anthropology” Workshop

Droit & Anthropologie: Archéologie d’un savoir et enjeux contemporains

27-28 Février 2017

Ethnopôle GARAE
Institut de Recherche Montesquieu – Centre Aquitain d’Histoire du Droit – Université de Bordeaux
École de droit de Sciences Po
ANR VISA-La vie savante

Colloque coordonné par Frédéric Audren et Laetitia Guerlain Continue reading

Fields, Furrows, and Landmarks in History of Anthropology: A Special Focus Section for HAN’s Relaunch

In 1973, the first issue of the History of Anthropology Newsletter opened with a statement of purpose from the editorial committee, called “Prospects and Problems,” by George Stocking. The editors were self-consciously defining and claiming a field. They let loose with territorial metaphors: occupation, soil, furrows, forays. Now, as we continue our relaunch of HAN, we return to this 40 year-old manifesto as a starting point for thinking about the past, present, and future of the field.

The 1973 essay noted a sense of disciplinary crisis as a spur to growth; it asked whether this history should be done by anthropologists, intellectual historians on “one-book forays,” by “anthropologists manqué,” or by a new generation of interdisciplinarians; it announced the need for “landmarks” including lists of archival holdings, bibliographic aids, research in progress, recent publications—which HAN would provide. It ended with a call for participation from readers.

Seeking to continue HAN’s role as a site for debating the field’s present state and shaping its future, in late 2016 we invited a series of scholars from various fields to respond to this manifesto. The eight distinguished authors below responded with generosity, insight, experience, good humor—and impressive speed.  (The fact that in this list authors primarily identified as historians slightly outnumber those primarily identified as anthropologists is an accident of availability; it does not reflect an editorial preference. Whether it corresponds to a general historical and disciplinary shift is another question– one discussed by several of the authors below.)

We are planning to extend this discussion with further reflections in the months ahead. For now we encourage HAN readers and subscribers to make use of the comments section to respond to individual pieces, or to the section as a whole. Dig in and leave a mark.

The History of Anthropology Between Expansion and Pluralism

The history of anthropology is coming of age as a worldwide pursuit. After its early stages in the 1960s and 1970s with the Conference on the History of Anthropology (1962), inspired by A. Irving Hallowell and sponsored by the Social Science Research Council in New York, and the History of Anthropology Newsletter (HAN), published by an editorial committee of seven and edited by George W. Stocking, Jr. in Chicago from 1973 on, the field has clearly expanded both in the USA and elsewhere. The digital HAN, launched as a website in June 2016, counts 350 subscribers and the History of Anthropology Interest Group of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) has 175 members. The World Anthropologies Network (WAN), founded in Brazil in 2002–03, focuses on non-hegemonic histories of anthropology. In France there was sufficient interest to publish the journal Gradhiva twice a year from 1986 on; an online encyclopedia on the history of anthropology and ethnography, named Bérose, is now being restructured by a founding team of 15 researchers and is expanding internationally to include new collaborators. In the United Kingdom the Royal Anthropological Institute is investigating its history by means of annual conferences and plans to publish four volumes. In the German-speaking countries a Working Group on the History of Anthropology has been meeting within the German Anthropological Association biannually from 1993 on. In Russia some 30 scholars regularly present papers on the subject during the biannual congresses of Russian ethnographers and anthropologists. In Europe as a whole the newly founded History of Anthropology Network (HOAN) was established within the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) in November 2016; it now has 85 members and counting. Continue reading

Beyond Heroic Professionals

Working on German communities in Latin America, I constantly encounter scholars engaged in the history of anthropology. They don’t always know it. Few of them claim to be adherents. Almost none are interested in shaping a field or subfield in a manner evoked in HAN’s 1973 opening statement. They are, however, interested in understanding people who devoted themselves to studying humans and their cultures over the last two centuries. Their efforts also contribute, whether they realize it or not, to our understanding of the history of that vocation. Or, better said, their efforts will contribute to it so long as we are aware of their work. Thank goodness for HAN. Continue reading

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