Bennett, Tony. “Liberal Government and the Practical History of Anthropology.” History and Anthropology 25, no.2 (2014): 150–170.

Author’s Abstract: This paper explores the implications of Foucault’s perspective of liberal government for approaches to the practical history of anthropology. It also draws on assemblage theory to consider the changing relations between field, museum and university in relation to a range of early twentieth-century anthropological practices. These focus mainly on the development of the Boasian paradigm in the USA during the inter-war years and on the anthropological practices clustered around the Musée de l’Homme in the 1930s.

Eickhoff, Martijn.  “‘You Should Speak With… and Hurry!’: Some Personal Reflections on the Value of Oral History for the History of Archaeology.”  Complutum 24, no. 2 (2013): 153–161.

Author’s Abstract: In this paper the author reconsiders the importance of oral history for the history of archaeology. By reflecting on his own use of oral history as a source of information for his PhD dissertation on Dutch archaeology and National Socialism, he argues that oral history should not be defined as collecting primary sources, but seen rather as a method that provides information on how the past was and is remembered and valued by members of a given academic community.

Golotvin, A.N. “Concerning the History of Russian Archaeology in the Studies of A.D. Pryakhin (for the 75th Anniversary of the Scholar).”  Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia 42, no.3 (2014): 100–105.

Author’s Abstract: This article overviews the contribution of a well-known Russian archaeologist, A.D. Pryakhin, to the history of Russian archaeology of various periods, and shows the relationship between the topics studied by Pryakhin and his teaching activities. Pryakhin’s works include studies on the emergence of archaeology on the Eurasian steppes.

Gundelach, Peter. “Bringing Things Together: Developing the Sample Survey as Practice in the Late Nineteenth Century.” Journal of the History Behavioral Sciences 53, no. 1 (2017): 71–89.

Author’s Abstract: The first sample surveys in the latter parts of the 19th century were an intellectual social movement. They were motivated by the intention to improve the economic and political conditions of workers. The quantitative survey was considered an ideal because it would present data about the workers as facts, i.e. establish a scientific authoritative truth. In a case study from Denmark, the paper shows how the first survey—a study of seamstresses—was carried out by bringing several cognitive and organizational elements together: a network of researchers, a method for sampling, the construction of a questionnaire, a procedure for coding, and analyzing the data. It was a trial and error process where the researchers lacked relevant concepts and methods but relied on their intuition and on inspiration from abroad.

Hicks, Dan. “Four-Field Anthropology: Charter Myths and Time Warps from St. Louis to Oxford.” Current Anthropology 54, no.6 (2013): 753–763.

Author’s Abstract: The four-field model of anthropology is conventionally understood to have begun with a paper read by Franz Boas in St. Louis in 1904. Publishing for the first time a drawing made by Augustus Pitt-Rivers in England in 1882, this paper rethinks this proposition by making two arguments. First, the paper explores the role of the classificatory anthropology of the 1870s and 1880s on both sides of the Atlantic in the emergence of the idea of organizing anthropological knowledge. Second, the paper considers how our knowledge of the discipline’s past can develop from the study of objects and documents (rather than only through rereading anthropologists’ published texts), in a manner akin to documentary archaeology. Rather than proposing a new set of “charter myths,” the paper explores writing the history of four-field anthropology as a form of material culture studies or historical archaeology (in other words, as a subfield of anthropology), working with the “time warps” created by museums and archives in which disciplinary history is not always already written.

Kerr, Ashley. “From Savagery to Sovereignty: Identity, Politics, and International Expositions of Argentine Anthropology (1878–1892).” Isis 108, no. 1 (2017): 62–81.

Author’s Abstract: In the late nineteenth century, Argentine intellectual elites turned to world’s fairs as a place to contest myths of Latin American racial inferiority and produce counternarratives of Argentine whiteness and modernity. This essay examines Argentine anthropological displays at three expositions between 1878 and 1892 to elucidate the mechanisms and reception of these projects. Florentino Ameghino, Francisco Moreno, and others worked deliberately and in conjunction with political authorities to erase the indigenous tribes from the national identity, even while using their bodies and products to create prehistory and garner intellectual legitimacy. Comparison of the three fairs also demonstrates how the representation of Amer-Indians and their artifacts shifted in accordance with local political needs and evolving international theories of anthropogenesis. The resulting analysis argues for the importance of considering the former colonies of the Global South in understanding the development of pre-twentieth-century anthropology and world’s fairs, particularly when separating them from their imperial context.

Mazé, Camille, Frédéric Poulard, Christelle Ventura. “Dismantling, Reorganization, and Creation: The Introduction to Ethnology Museums: Culture, Politics, and Institutional Change.” Museum Anthropology Review 9, no.1–2 (2015): 34–57.

Abstract: This contribution originally appeared in French as the introduction to the edited volume Les musées d’ethnologie: culture, politique et changement institutionnel. It offers a historical and contemporary account of cultural, political, and institutional factors that have reshaped museum anthropology and museums of anthropology in France since the rise of the field and its institutions in the 19th century.

Murray, Tim. “Why the History of Archaeology is Essential to Theoretical Archaeology.” Complutum 24, no.2 (2013): 21–31.

Author’s Abstract: This paper discusses the relationship between the historiography of archaeology and the building and evaluation of archaeological theory. Although it is common for archaeologists to employ partial histories of archaeology to support claims for significant changes to archaeological theory, it is nonetheless the case that there is strong evidence for a counter claim—that theoretical archaeology needs to be more strongly grounded in the history of archaeology. This claim is supported by a close analysis of the value of alternative histories of archaeology to demonstrate that current theoretical orthodoxies have histories and are not necessarily ‘natural’ for the discipline.

Wolfgram, Matthew. “Science Talk and Scientific Reference.” Annual Review of Anthropology 45, no. 1 (2016): 33–44.

Author’s Abstract: This review of research literature on the language practices associated with the production and circulation of scientific knowledge documents four discourse-ideological processes: data/theory enregisterment, objectification, visualization, and entextualization. I argue that these processes cause the stabilization of scientific reference by imposing a conventionalist language ideology that opposes language and the objective reality of the world that it references.

Nicholas Barron: contributions / website /
Janet Steins: contributions / website /