Author: Nicholas Barron

Articles: April Additions

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. Continue reading

Books: April Additions

Bank, Andrew. Pioneers of the Field: South Africa’s Women Anthropologists. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2016.

Publisher’s Abstract:  Focusing on the crucial contributions of women researchers, Andrew Bank demonstrates that the modern school of social anthropology in South Africa was uniquely female-dominated. The book traces the personal and intellectual histories of six remarkable women (Winifred Tucker Hoernlé, Monica Hunter Wilson, Ellen Hellmann, Audrey Richards, Hilda Beemer Kuper, and Eileen Jensen Krige) through the use of a rich cocktail of new archival sources, including family photographs, private and professional correspondence, field-notes and field diaries, published and other public writings and even love letters. Continue reading

Books: January Additions

Barbash, Ilisa. Where the Roads All End: Photography and Anthropology in the Kalahari. Foreword by Paul Theroux. Cambridge: Peabody Museum Press,  2017.

Publisher’s abstract:  Where the Roads All End tells the remarkable story of an American family’s eight anthropological expeditions to the remote Kalahari Desert in South–West Africa (Namibia) during the 1950s. Raytheon co–founder Laurence Marshall, his wife Lorna, and children John and Elizabeth recorded the lives of some of the last remaining hunter–gatherers, the so–called Bushmen, in what is now recognized as one of the most important ventures in the anthropology of Africa. Largely self–taught as ethnographers, the family supplemented their research with motion picture film and still photography to create an unparalleled archive that documents the Ju/’hoansi and the /Gwi just as they were being settled by the government onto a “Bushman Preserve.” The Marshalls’ films and publications popularized a strong counternarrative to existing negative stereotypes of the “Bushman” and revitalized academic studies of these southern African hunter–gatherers. This vivid and multilayered account of a unique family enterprise focuses on 40,000 still photographs in the archives of Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.

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Books: Cumulative List

Adams, William Yewdale. The Boasians: Founding Fathers and Mothers of American Anthropology. Lanham: Hamilton Books, 2016.

Publisher’s Abstract: This book is a study in depth of the work of Franz Boas and twenty of his students at Columbia University in the early years of the twentieth century. Collectively they laid the entire institutional as well as the intellectual foundations of American anthropology as it exists today. The book begins with a discussion of the historical context of Boasian anthropology, and an overview of its nature and limitations. The work of Boas and his leading students is then discussed in detail, including biographical data, a review and critique of their research, a review in detail of each of their major publications, and an overall assessment of their contribution to anthropology, as seen in their own time and today. Continue reading

Articles: January Additions

Baca, George. “Sidney W. Mintz: From the Mundial Upheaval Society to a Dialectical Anthropology.Dialectical Anthropology 40 (2016): 1–11.

From the Introduction: Sidney Mintz (11/25/22–12/25/15) represents the passing of the final member of the distinguished group of anthropologists who formed the “Mundial Upheaval Society” (MUS) during the late 1940s at Columbia University. Though Mintz had the privilege of studying with great anthropological minds, of the likes of Ruth Benedict and Julian Steward, fellow graduate students stoked his passion for anthropological theory and ethnographic fieldwork. Indeed, the membership of the group was impressive, including such luminaries as Eric Wolf, Stanley Diamond, Morton Fried, John Murra, Robert Manners, Robert Murphy, and Elman Service. Continue reading

Articles: Cumulative List

Aiello, Leslie C. “The Wenner–Gren Foundation: Supporting Anthropology for 75 Years.” Current Anthropology 57, no. Supplement 14 (2016): S211–17.

Author’s Abstract: The Wenner–Gren Foundation is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2016. It was founded in 1941 with an endowment of approximately US $165 million. Wenner–Gren has never been a large foundation in the sense of Rockefeller or Mellon, but it has had a disproportionate impact on the field of anthropology. The foundation and the field have in essence grown up together. Wenner–Gren preceded the other major US funder of anthropology, the National Science Foundation, by almost two decades and, through its grants, fellowships, sponsored symposia, and publications, has always been there for anthropology. Continue reading

‘Mohawk Interruptus’ by Audra Simpson

Audra Simpson. Mohawk Interruptus: Political Life across the Borders of Settler States. 280pp., 4 illus., app., notes, refs., index. Durham: Duke University Press, 2014. $89.95 (cloth), $24.95 (paperback)

Audra Simpson’s Mohawk Interruptus: Political Life across the Borders of the Settler States (2014) explores the complexities of Mohawk sovereignty along the U.S.-Canadian border offering critical insights into the fraught past and present relationships between Indigenous and settler societies. Focusing on Kahnawà:ke, a Mohawk Indian reserve located in present-day Canada with ties to the Iroquois Confederacy whose territories interrupt the current settler-colonial nation-state border, Simpson begins her inquiry with three interdigitating claims that reemerge throughout the book. First, Simpson challenges readers to see that a sovereign entity can exist within another (10). This “nested” conception of sovereignty compels us to recognize that when Indigenous political orders prevail in the present, they do so, seemingly paradoxically, “within and apart from settler governance” (11). Second, Simpson offers a critique of the dominant and narrow politics of recognition that confines Indigenous peoples and their rights to essentialized and discernable forms of cultural difference (11, 20). Throughout the book, we see cases in which Mohawk peoples “refuse” this paradigm and the inherent power asymmetries that it works to reproduce and naturalize.

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Archival Developments

Our ability to explore the history of anthropology in a substantive and empirical manner hinges upon access to primary and secondary source material. Since HAN was established in 1973, anthropologically relevant archives have gone through multiple material transformations that shape the way we do the history of anthropology.  Today an anthropological archival collection might be fully digitized, however it remains much more likely that only parts of it or only a detailed description of its contents are accessible online. For those readers less familiar with archival collections and how to locate and access them, some basic resources and strategies might be useful.

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