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.

Bank, Andrew. Pioneers of the Field: South Africa’s Women Anthropologists. Cambridge: 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 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. The book also sheds new light on the close connections between their personal lives, their academic work and their anti-segregationist and anti–apartheid politics. It will be welcomed by anthropologists, historians and students in African studies interested in the development of social anthropology in twentieth–century Africa, as well as by students and researchers in the field of gender studies.

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.

This book is available for review. If you would like to review this book, please email

Barnhart, Terry A. American Antiquities: Revisiting the Origins of American Archaeology. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2015.

From Publisher’s Abstract: In this recent title in the Critical Studies in the History of Anthropology series, the author, a historian, reexamines the eclectic interests and equallyvaried settings of nascent American archaeology, exposing several fundamental, deeply embedded historiographical problems within the secondary literature relating to the nineteenth–century debate about “Mound Builders” and “American Indians.”

Some issues are perceptual, others contextual, and still others are basic errors of fact. Adding to the problem are semantic and contextual considerations arising from the problematic use of the term “race” as a synonym for tribe, nation, and race proper—a concept and construct that does not in all instances translate into current understanding and usage. American Antiquities uses this early discourse on the mounds to reframe perennial anthropological problems relating to human origins and antiquity in North America.

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Baxstrom, Richard, and Todd Meyers. Realizing the Witch: Science, Cinema, and the Mastery of the Invisible. New York: Fordham University Press, 2016.

From Publisher’s Abstract: Benjamin Christensen’s Häxan (The Witch, 1922) stands as a singular film within the history of cinema. Deftly weaving contemporary scientific analysis and powerfully staged historical scenes of satanic initiation, confession under torture, possession, and persecution, Häxan creatively blends spectacle and argument to provoke a humanist re–evaluation of witchcraft in European history as well as the contemporary treatment of female “hysterics” and the mentally ill.

In Realizing the Witch, anthropologists Baxstrom and Meyers show how Häxan opens a window onto wider debates in the 1920s regarding the relationship of film to scientific evidence, the evolving study of religion from historical and anthropological perspectives, and the complex relations between popular culture, artistic expression, and concepts in medicine and psychology.

Bell, Joshua A., Alison K. Brown, and Robert J. Gordon. Recreating First Contact: Expeditions, Anthropology, and Popular Culture. Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, 2013.

Publisher’s Abstract: Recreating First Contact explores themes related to the proliferation of adventure travel which emerged during the early twentieth century and that were legitimized by their associations with popular views of anthropology. During this period, new transport and recording technologies, particularly the airplane and automobile and small, portable, still and motion–picture cameras, were utilized by a variety of expeditions to document the last untouched places of the globe and bring them home to eager audiences. These expeditions were frequently presented as first contact encounters and enchanted popular imagination. The various narratives encoded in the articles, books, films, exhibitions and lecture tours that these expeditions generated fed into pre–existing stereotypes about racial and technological difference, and helped to create them anew in popular culture. Through an unpacking of expeditions and their popular wakes, the essays (12 chapters, a preface, introduction and afterward) trace the complex but obscured relationships between anthropology, adventure travel and the cinematic imagination that the 1920s and 1930s engendered and how their myths have endured. The book further explores the effects—both positive and negative—of such expeditions on the discipline of anthropology itself. However, in doing so, this volume examines these impacts from a variety of national perspectives and thus through these different vantage points creates a more nuanced perspective on how expeditions were at once a global phenomenon but also culturally ordered.

Bennett, Tony, Fiona Cameron, Nelia Dias, Ben Dibley, Rodney Harrison, Ira Jacknis, and Conal McCarthy. Collecting, Ordering, Governing: Anthropology, Museums, and Liberal Government. Durham: Duke University Press, 2016.

Publisher’s Abstract: The coauthors of this theoretically innovative work explore the relationships among anthropological fieldwork, museum collecting and display, and social governance in the early twentieth century in Australia, Britain, France, New Zealand, and the United States. With case studies ranging from the Musée de l’Homme’s 1930s fieldwork missions in French Indo–China to the influence of Franz Boas’s culture concept on the development of American museums, the authors illuminate recent debates about postwar forms of multicultural governance, cultural conceptions of difference, and postcolonial policy and practice in museums. Collecting, Ordering, Governing is essential reading for scholars and students of anthropology, museum studies, cultural studies, and indigenous studies as well as museum and heritage professionals.

Cadaval, Olivia, Sojin Kim, and Diana Baird N’Diaye. Curatorial Conversations: Cultural Representation and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2016.

From Publisher’s Abstract: Since its origins in 1967, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival has gained worldwide recognition as a model for the research and public presentation of living cultural heritage and the advocacy of cultural democracy. Festival curators play a major role in interpreting the Festival’s principles and shaping its practices. Curatorial Conversations brings together for the first time in one volume the combined expertise of the Festival’s curatorial staff–past and present–in examining the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage’s representation practices and their critical implications for issues of intangible cultural heritage policy, competing globalisms, cultural tourism, sustainable development and environment, and cultural pluralism and identity.

Chin, Elizabeth. Katherine Dunham: Recovering an Anthropological Legacy, Choreographing Ethnographic Futures. Santa Fe: School of American Research Press, 2014.

Watch videos from the SAR Advanced Seminar which preceded this book.

Crapanzano, Vincent. Recapitulations. New York: Other Press, 2015.

A distinguished anthropologist tells his life story as a wistful novelist would, watching himself as if he were someone else.

Darnell, Regna, and Frederic Wright Gleach. Anthropologist and Their Traditions across National Borders. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2014.

From Publisher’s Abstract: This edited compilation explores national anthropological traditions in Britain, the United States, and Europe and follows them into post–national contexts. Contributors reassess the major theorists in twentieth–century anthropology, including the work of luminaries such as Franz Boas, Claude Lévi–Strauss, Bronisław Malinowski, A. R. Radcliffe–Brown, and Marshall Sahlins, as well as lesser–known but important anthropological work by Berthold Laufer, A. M. Hocart, Kenelm O. L. Burridge, and Robin Ridington, among others.

Darnell, Regna, and Frederic W. Gleach. Corridor Talk to Culture History: Public Anthropology and Its Consequences. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2015.

From Publisher’s Abstract: Authors contributing to this edited compilation focus on geographic diversity by exploring how anthropologists have presented their methods and theories to the public and in general to a variety of audiences. Contributors examine interpretive and methodological diversity within anthropological traditions often viewed from the standpoint of professional consensus, the ways anthropological relations cross disciplinary boundaries, and the contrast between academic authority and public culture, which is traced to the professionalization of anthropology and other social sciences in the nineteenth century.

Darnell, Regna, Michelle. Hamilton, Robert L. A.. Hancock, and Joshua Smith. Franz Boas as Public Intellectual: Theory, Ethnography, Activism. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2015.

From Publisher’s Abstract: The Franz Boas Papers, Volume 1 examines Boas’s stature as a public intellectual in three crucial dimensions: theory, ethnography, and activism. Few of Boas’s intellectual progeny span the range of his disciplinary and public engagements. In his later career, Boas moved beyond Native American studies to become a public intellectual and advocate for social justice, particularly with reference to racism against African Americans and Jews and discrimination against women in science. He was a passionate defender of academic freedom, rigorous scholarship, and anthropology as a humane calling.

Darnell, Regna, and Frederic W. Gleach, eds. Local Knowledge, Global Stage. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 2016.

This tenth volume of the series, Local Knowledge, Global Stage, examines worldwide historical trends of anthropology ranging from the assertion that all British anthropology is a study of the Old Testament to the discovery of the untranslated shorthand notes of pioneering anthropologist Franz Boas. Other topics include archival research into the study of Vancouver Island’s indigenous languages, explorations of the Christian notion of virgin births in Edwin Sidney Hartland’s The Legend of Perseus, and the Canadian government’s implementation of European–model farms as a way to undermine Native culture. In addition to Boas and Hartland, the essays explore the research and personalities of Susan Golla, Claude Lévi–Strauss, and others.

Dyck, Ian. Life and Work of W. B. Nickerson (1865–1926): Scientific Archaeology in Central North America. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 2016.

Publisher’s Abstract: During his spare time, William Baker Nickerson investigated sites from New England to the Midwest and into the Canadian Prairies. In the course of exploration, he created an elegant and detailed record of discoveries and developed methods which later archaeologists recognized as being ahead of their time. By middle age, he was en route to becoming a professional contract archaeologist. However, after a very good start, during World War I archaeological commissions disappeared and failed to recover for many years afterward. Consequently, in spite of heroic efforts, Nickerson was unable to restore his scientific career and died in obscurity. His life story spans the transition of North American archaeology from museums and historical societies to universities, throwing light on a phase of history that is little known.

Ens, Gerhard J., and Joe Sawchuk. From New Peoples to New Nations: Aspects of Métis History and Identity from the Eighteenth to the Twenty–First Centuries. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016.

Publisher’s Abstract: From New Peoples to New Nations is a broad historical account of the emergence of the Metis as distinct peoples in North America over the last three hundred years. Examining the cultural, economic, and political strategies through which communities define their boundaries, Ens and Sawchuk trace the invention and reinvention of Metis identity from the late eighteenth century to the present day. Their work updates, rethinks, and integrates the many disparate aspects of Metis historiography, providing the first comprehensive narrative of Metis identity in more than fifty years.

Based on extensive archival materials, interviews, oral histories, ethnographic research, and first–hand working knowledge of Metis political organizations, From New Peoples to New Nations addresses the long and complex history of Metis identity from the Battle of Seven Oaks to today’s legal and political debates.

Eriksen, Thomas Hylland. Fredrik Barth: An Intellectual Biography. London: Pluto Press, 2015.

From Publisher’s Abstract: Fredrik Barth, editor of the influential Ethnic Groups and Boundaries, is one of the towering figures of twentieth–century anthropology. In this accessible but penetrating intellectual biography, Thomas Hylland Eriksen explores Barth’s six–decade career, following Barth from his early ecological studies in Pakistan to political studies in Iran, to groundbreaking fieldwork in Norway, New Guinea, Bali, and Bhutan.

Flandreau, Marc. Anthropologists in the Stock Exchange: A Financial History of Victorian Science. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016.

Publisher’s Abstract: Uncovering strange plots by early British anthropologists to use scientific status to manipulate the stock market, Anthropologists in the Stock Exchange tells a provocative story that marries the birth of the social sciences with the exploits of global finance. Marc Flandreau tracks a group of Victorian gentleman–swindlers as they shuffled between the corridors of the London Stock Exchange and the meeting rooms of learned society, showing that anthropological studies were integral to investment and speculation in foreign government debt, and, inversely, that finance played a crucial role in shaping the contours of human knowledge.

Flandreau argues that finance and science were at the heart of a new brand of imperialism born during Benjamin Disraeli’s first term as Britain’s prime minister in the 1860s. As anthropologists advocated the study of Miskito Indians or stated their views on a Jamaican rebellion, they were in fact catering to the impulses of the stock exchange—for their own benefit. In this way the very development of the field of anthropology was deeply tied to issues relevant to the financial market—from trust to corruption. Moreover, this book shows how the interplay between anthropology and finance formed the foundational structures of late nineteenth–century British imperialism and helped produce essential technologies of globalization as we know it today.

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Fletcher, Alice C., and Nicole Tonkovich. Dividing the Reservation: Alice C. Fletcher’s Nez Perce Allotment Diaries and Letters 1889–1892. Pullman: Washington State University Press, 2016.

Publisher’s Abstract: Ethnologist Alice C. Fletcher helped write the Dawes General Allotment Act of 1887 and became one of the first women to serve as a federal Indian agent. A commanding presence, she spent four summers on the Nez Perce reservation. The collection reproduced here illuminates her relations with the key players. It also offers insight into how federal policy was applied, resisted, and amended, as well as her internal conflicts over dividing the reservation.

Gardner, Helen Bethea, and Patrick McConvell. Southern Anthropology: A History of Fison and Howitt’s Kamilaroi and Kurnai. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.

From Publisher’s Abstract: This is a biography of a book. Kamilaroi and Kurnai (subtitled Group–marriage and relationship, and marriage by elopement; drawn chiefly from the usage of the Australian Aborigines; also the Kurnai tribe, their customs in peace and war), was published in 1880 with an introduction by Lewis H. Morgan. The authors of Southern Anthropology (Gardner is a historian; McConvell an anthropologist and linguist) write from both a historical and anthropological perspective, investigating Fison and Howitt’s work on Aboriginal and Pacific people and its reception in metropolitan centers when it appeared.

Graff, Harvey J. Undisciplining Knowledge: Interdisciplinarity in the Twentieth Century. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015.

From the Publisher’s Abstract: Interdisciplinarity―or the interrelationships among distinct fields, disciplines, or branches of knowledge in pursuit of new answers to pressing problems―is one of the most contested topics in higher education today. Some see it as a way to break down the silos of academic departments and foster creative interchange, while others view it as a destructive force that will diminish academic quality and destroy the university as we know it. In Undisciplining Knowledge, acclaimed scholar Harvey J. Graff presents readers with the first comparative and critical history of interdisciplinary initiatives in the modern university. Arranged chronologically, the book tells the engaging story of how various academic fields both embraced and fought off efforts to share knowledge with other scholars. It is a story of myths, exaggerations, and misunderstandings, on all sides.

Guha, Sudeshna. Artifacts of History: Archaeology, Historiography, and Indian Pasts. New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2015.

Publisher’s Abstract: This book encourages us to critically regard the ways in which ideologies of cultural heritage and civilizational legacies are transformed into tangible and visible things through archaeological scholarship.

Through little–known histories of the practices, governance and scholarship of the archaeology of India, this book re–examines the manner in which the past is recalled and historicized. It guides us to think afresh of the histories of antiquarianism in South Asia, explore the impetus of collecting and curatorial practices within the scholarship of pre–colonial India, and investigate the diverse linkages within the histories of Indian archaeology. It encourages a focus upon issues of historiography, methodology and notions of evidence and looks in to the responsibilities and changing needs of the academic scholarship of archaeology.

Hardy, Andrew. The Barefoot Anthropologist: The Highlands of Champa and Vietnam in the Words of Jacques Dournes. Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books, 2015.

Publisher’s Abstract:  French anthropologist Jacques Dournes lived in Vietnam for 25 years, from 1946 to 1970, studying the culture of the Jarai and other highland ethnic groups. He became a renowned ethnographer and the Jarai people became his lifelong passion. In part one of this study, the author explores Dournes’s 1977 monograph Pötao: une théorie du pouvoir chez les Indochinois Jörai. In part two, Dournes speaks animatedly with the author about the Jarai, his feelings about culture and economics, his understanding of Vietnam’s history, and his personal experience of living in the Central Highlands.

This book is available for review. If you would like to review this book, please email

Hinsley, Curtis M., and David R. Wilcox. Coming of Age in Chicago the 1893 World’s Fair and the Coalescence of American Anthropology. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2016.

Publisher’s Abstract: Coming of Age in Chicago explores a watershed moment in American anthropology, when an unprecedented number of historians and anthropologists of all subfields gathered on the 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition fairgrounds, drawn together by the fair’s focus on indigenous peoples. Participants included people making a living with their research, sporadic backyard diggers, religiously motivated researchers, and a small group who sought a “scientific” understanding of the lifeways of indigenous peoples. At the fair they set the foundation for anthropological inquiry and redefined the field. At the same time, the American public became aware, through their own experiences at the fair, of a global humanity, with reactions that ranged from revulsion to curiosity, tolerance, and kindness.

Hinsley and Wilcox combine primary historical texts, modern essays, and rarely seen images from the period to create a volume essential for understanding the significance of this event. These texts explore the networking of thinkers, planners, dreamers, schemers, and scholars who interacted in a variety of venues to lay the groundwork for museums, academic departments, and expeditions. These new relationships helped shape the profession and the trajectory of the discipline, and they still resonate more than a century later.

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Hochman, Brian. Savage Preservation: The Ethnographic Origins of Modern Media Technology. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014.

Publisher’s Abstract: Hochman shows how widespread interest in recording vanishing races and disappearing cultures influenced audiovisual innovation, experimentation, and use in the U.S. Drawing extensively on seldom–seen archival sources, Savage Preservation offers a new model for thinking about race and media in the American context—and a fresh take on a period of accelerated technological change that closely resembles our own.

Jensen, Joan M., and Michelle Wick Patterson. Travels with Frances Densmore: Her Life, Work, and Legacy in Native American Studies. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2015.

Publisher’s Abstract: Over the first half of the twentieth century, scientist and scholar Frances Densmore (1867–1957) visited thirty–five Native American tribes, recorded more than twenty–five hundred songs, amassed hundreds of artifacts and Native–crafted objects, and transcribed information about Native cultures. Her visits to indigenous groups included meetings with the Ojibwes, Lakotas, Dakotas, Northern Utes, Ho–chunks, Seminoles, and Makahs. A “New Woman” and a self–trained anthropologist, she not only influenced government attitudes toward indigenous cultures but also helped mold the field of anthropology.

Densmore remains an intriguing historical figure. Although researchers use her vast collections at the Smithsonian and Minnesota Historical Society, as well as her many publications, some scholars critique her methods of “salvage anthropology” and concepts of the “vanishing” Native American. Travels with Frances Densmore is the first detailed study of her life and work. Through narrative descriptions of her life paired with critical essays about her work, this book is an essential guide for understanding how Densmore formed her collections and the lasting importance they have had for researchers in a variety of fields.

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Johnson, Curtis N. Darwin’s Dice: The Idea of Chance in the Thought of Charles Darwin. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.

From Publisher’s Abstract: In Darwin’s Dice: The Idea of Chance in the Thought of Charles Darwin, Curtis Johnson examines Darwin’s early notebooks, his collected correspondence (now in 19 volumes), and most of his published writing to trace the evolution of his ideas about chance in evolution. This proved to be one of Darwin’s most controversial ideas among his reading public, so much so that it drew hostile reactions even from Darwin’s scientific friends, not to mention the more general reader. The firestorm of criticism forced Darwin to forge a retreat, not in terms of removing chance from his theory––his commitment to it was unshakable––but in terms of how he chose to present his theory. Briefly, by changing his wording and by introducing metaphors and images (the stone–house metaphor, the evolution of giraffes, and others), Darwin succeeded in making his ideas seem less threatening than before without actually changing his views. Randomness remained a focal point for Darwin throughout his life. Through the lens of randomness, Johnson reveals implications of Darwin’s views for religion, free will, and moral theory. Darwin’s Dice presents a new way to look at Darwinist thought and the writings of Charles Darwin.

Kan, Sergei. Sharing Our Knowledge: The Tlingit and Their Coastal Neighbors. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2015.

From Publisher’s Abstract: Sharing Our Knowledge brings together Native elders, tradition bearers, educators, cultural activists, anthropologists, linguists, historians, and museum professionals to explore the culture, history, and language of the Tlingit people of southeast Alaska and their coastal neighbors. Contributors focus on the preservation and dissemination of Tlingit language, traditional cultural knowledge, and history from an activist Tlingit perspective.

Krupnik, Igor. Early Inuit Studies: Themes and Transitions, 1850s–1980s. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, 2016.

Publisher’s Abstract: This collection of 15 chronologically arranged papers is the first–ever definitive treatment of the intellectual history of Eskimology—known today as Inuit studies—the field of anthropology preoccupied with the origins, history, and culture of the Inuit people. The authors trace the growth and change in scholarship on the Inuit (Eskimo) people from the 1850s to the 1980s via profiles of scientists who made major contributions to the field and via intellectual transitions (themes) that furthered such developments. It presents an engaging story of advancement in social research, including anthropology, archaeology, human geography, and linguistics, in the polar regions.

Essays written by American, Canadian, Danish, French, and Russian contributors provide for particular trajectories of research and academic tradition in the Arctic for over 130 years. Most of the essays originated as papers presented at the 18th Inuit Studies Conference hosted by the Smithsonian Institution in October, 2012.

Recommendation submitted by Sergei Kan (Professor of Anthropology and Native American Studies, Dartmouth College)

Lee, Julian C.H., John M. Prior, and Thomas A. Reuter. Trajectories: Excursions with the Anthropology of E. Douglas Lewis. New York: Peter Lang Publishing Inc, 2016.

Publisher’s Abstract: This volume engages with the work of E. Douglas Lewis, who has made major contributions to the understanding of Eastern Indonesia, ethnography, culture, and religion, as well as a neurobiologically informed anthropology. Lewis’ work on the Ata Tana ‘Ai (People of the Forest) of Flores has long been regarded as a seminal work on culture and society in Eastern Indonesia. His ‘precedence theory’ became highly influential among anthropologists in their interpretations of other social groups in the region. In this volume, however, a group of scholars influenced by his work undertake diverse and thought–provoking excursions from Lewis’ work, shedding light on his insights on subjects ranging from Eastern Indonesian ethnography, to theorizing culture change, to development, and to the nascent field of “neuroanthropology.”Of particular note, this book also features an extended contribution by Lewis that is, as Professor James J. Fox notes in this book’s foreword, “the kind of serious contemplation of an intellectual trajectory that every senior anthropologist should be urged to write.”

Lewis, Herbert S. In Defense of Anthropology: An Investigation of the Critique of Anthropology. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 2014.

Publisher’s Abstract: This book argues that the history and character of modern anthropology has been egregiously distorted to the detriment of this intellectual pursuit and academic discipline. The “critique of anthropology” is a product of the momentous and tormented events of the 1960s when students and some of their elders cried, “Trust no one over thirty!” The Marxist, postmodern, and postcolonial waves that followed took aim at anthropology and the result has been a serious loss of confidence; both the reputation and the practice of anthropology has suffered greatly. The time has come to move past this damaging discourse.

Lewis chronicles these developments, and subjects the “critique” to a long overdue interrogation based on wide–ranging knowledge of the field and its history, as well as the application of common sense. The book questions discourses about anthropology and colonialism, anthropologists and history, the problem of “exoticizing ‘the Other,’” anthropologists and the Cold War, and more.

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Lyman, R. Lee. Theodore E. White and the Development of Zooarchaeology in North America. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2016.

In this recent title from the series Critical Studies in the History of Anthropology, the author presents a biography of Theodore White, a paleontologist by training, as a scientist and a pioneer in the emerging field of modern anthropological zooarchaeology.

Manickam, Sandra Khor. Taming the Wild: Aborigines and Racial Knowledge in Colonial Malaya. Singapore: NUS Press, 2015.

From Publisher’s Abstract: In Taming the Wild the author, a historian, examines the complex history of indigeneity and racial thought in the Malay Peninsula and the role played by the politics of knowledge in determining racial affinities, by charting the progression of thought concerning “indigenous” or “aboriginal” people.

Murray, Stephen O. American Anthropology and Company: Historical Explorations. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2013.

From Publisher’s Abstract: Linguist and sociologist Stephen O. Murray explores the connections between anthropology, linguistics, sociology, psychology, and history, in broad–ranging essays on the history of anthropology and allied disciplines.

Myhre, Knut Christian. Cutting and Connecting:“Afrinesian” Perspectives on Networks, Relationality, and Exchange. New York and Oxford: Berghahn, 2016.

Publisher’s Abstract: Questions regarding the origins, mobility, and effects of analytical concepts continue to emerge as anthropology endeavors to describe similarities and differences in social life around the world. Cutting and Connecting rethinks this comparative enterprise by calling in a conceptual debt that theoretical innovations from Melanesian anthropology owe to network analysis originally developed in African contexts. On this basis, the contributors adopt and employ concepts from recent studies of Melanesia to analyze contemporary life on the African continent and to explore how this exchange influences the borrowed anthropological perspectives. By focusing on ways in which networks are cut and connections are made, these empirical investigations show how particular relationships are created in today’s Africa. In addition, the volume aims for an approach that recasts relationships between theory and place and concepts and ethnography, in a manner that destabilizes the distinction between fieldwork and writing.

Oppenheim, Robert. An Asian Frontier: American Anthropology and Korea, 1882–1945.  Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press,  2016.

Publisher’s Abstract:  In the nineteenth century the predominant focus of American anthropology centered on the native peoples of North America, and most anthropologists would argue that Korea during this period was hardly a cultural area of great anthropological interest. However, this perspective underestimates Korea as a significant object of concern for American anthropology during the period from 1882 to 1945–otherwise a turbulent, transitional period in Korea’s history. An Asian Frontier focuses on the dialogue between the American anthropological tradition and Korea, from Korea’s first treaty with the United States to the end of World War II, with the goal of rereading anthropology’s history and theoretical development through its Pacific frontier.

This book is available for review. If you would like to review this book, please email

Price, David H. Cold War Anthropology: The CIA, the Pentagon, and the Growth of Dual Use Anthropology. Durham: Duke University Press, 2016.

Publisher’s Abstract: A provocative account of the profound influence that the American security state has had on the field of anthropology since the Second World War. Using a wealth of information unearthed in CIA, FBI, and military records, the author maps out the intricate connections between academia and the intelligence community and the strategic use of anthropological research to further the goals of the American military complex.

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Ray, Arthur. Aboriginal Rights Claims and the Making and Remaking of History. Montreal: McGill–Queen’s University Press, 2016.

From Publisher’s Abstract: In Aboriginal Rights Claims and the Making and Remaking of History, Arthur Ray examines how claims–oriented research is often fitted to the existing frames of indigenous rights law and claims legislation and, as a result, has influenced the development of these laws and legislation. Through a comparative study encompassing the United States, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, Ray also explores the ways in which various procedures and settings for claims adjudication have influenced and changed the use of historical evidence, made space for indigenous voices, stimulated scholarly debates about the cultural and historical experiences of indigenous peoples at the time of initial European contact and afterward, and have provoked reactions from politicians and scholars.

While giving serious consideration to the flaws and strengths of presentist histories, Aboriginal Rights Claims and the Making and Remaking of History provides communities with essential information on how history is used and how methods are adapted and changed.

Redman, Samuel J. Bone Rooms: From Scientific Racism to Human Prehistory in Museums. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2016.

Publisher’s Abstract: In 1864 a U.S. army doctor dug up the remains of a Dakota man who had been killed in Minnesota. Carefully recording his observations, he sent the skeleton to a museum in Washington, DC that was collecting human remains for research. In the “bone rooms” of this museum and others like it, a scientific revolution was unfolding that would change our understanding of the human body, race, and prehistory.

In Bone Rooms Redman unearths the story of how human remains became highly sought–after artifacts for both scientific research and public display. Seeking evidence to support new theories of human evolution and racial classification, collectors embarked on a global competition to recover the best specimens of skeletons, mummies, and fossils. The Smithsonian Institution built the largest collection of human remains in the United States, edging out stiff competition from natural history and medical museums springing up in cities and on university campuses across America. When the San Diego Museum of Man opened in 1915, it mounted the largest exhibition of human skeletons ever presented to the public.

The study of human remains yielded discoveries that increasingly discredited racial theory; as a consequence, interest in human origins and evolution—ignited by ideas emerging in the budding field of anthropology—displaced race as the main motive for building bone rooms. Today, debates about the ethics of these collections continue, but the terms of engagement were largely set by the surge of collecting that was already waning by World War II.

Seymour, Susan C. Cora Du Bois: Anthropologist, Diplomat, Agent. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2015.

Issued as part of the Critical Studies in the History of Anthropology series; Seymour’s biography is the latest title to appear in this book series.

Stoler, Ann Laura. Imperial Debris: On Ruins and Ruination. Durham ; London: Duke University Press, 2013.

Publisher’s Abstract: Imperial Debris redirects critical focus from ruins as evidence of the past to “ruination” as the processes through which imperial power occupies the present. Ann Laura Stoler’s introduction is a manifesto, a compelling call for postcolonial studies to expand its analytical scope to address the toxic but less perceptible corrosions and violent accruals of colonial aftermaths, as well as their durable traces on the material environment and people’s bodies and minds. In their provocative, tightly focused responses to Stoler, the contributors explore subjects as seemingly diverse as villages submerged during the building of a massive dam in southern India, Palestinian children taught to envision and document ancestral homes razed by the Israeli military, and survival on the toxic edges of oil refineries and amid the remains of apartheid in Durban, South Africa. They consider the significance of Cold War imagery of a United States decimated by nuclear blast, perceptions of a swath of Argentina’s Gran Chaco as a barbarous void, and the enduring resonance, in contemporary sexual violence, of atrocities in King Leopold’s Congo. Reflecting on the physical destruction of Sri Lanka, on Detroit as a colonial metropole in relation to sites of ruination in the Amazon, and on interactions near a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Brazilian state of Bahia, the contributors attend to present–day harms in the occluded, unexpected sites and situations where earlier imperial formations persist.

Sysling, Fenneke. Racial Science and Human Diversity in Colonial Indonesia. Singapore: NUS Press, 2016.

Indonesia is home to diverse peoples who differ from one another in terms of physical appearance as well as social and cultural practices. The way such matters are understood is partly rooted in ideas developed by racial scientists working in the Netherlands Indies beginning in the late nineteenth century, who tried to develop systematic ways to define and identify distinctive races. Their work helped spread the idea that race had a scientific basis in anthropometry and craniology, and was central to people’s identity, but their encounters in the archipelago also challenged their ideas about race.

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Vermeulen, Han F. Before Boas: The Genesis of Ethnography and Ethnology in the German Enlightenment. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2015.

From Publisher’s Abstract: This is another title in the Critical Studies in the History of Anthropology series. In it the author delves into issues concerning anthropology’s academic origins to present a groundbreaking study that reveals how ethnology and ethnography originated during the eighteenth rather than the nineteenth century, developing parallel to anthropology, or the “natural history of man.”

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