2021 (page 2 of 2)

‘A Pearl in Peril’ by Christina Luke

Christina LukeA Pearl in Peril: Heritage and Diplomacy in Turkey. 288 pp., illus., tables, notes, bibl., index. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.

Christina Luke’s A Pearl in Peril is a wide-ranging study of development, international diplomacy, heritage, and extraction in the twentieth and the twenty-first centuries that provides a substantive analysis of the politics of the past in western Turkey. Luke takes as her focus the once-Ottoman city of Smyrna, now-Turkish city of Izmir (sometimes known as “the pearl of the Mediterranean”) and its hinterlands, including the archaeological site of Sardis. Luke shows how this resource-rich region, whether archaeologically or in terms of its mineral and agricultural wealth, sat at the center of diplomatic and extractive intrigue throughout the previous century. In drawing these long-term connections, Luke highlights the consequences of this entanglement in constituting contemporary forms of heritage and local reactions to it. In addition to historians and anthropologists of heritage and the politics of the past, Luke’s volume will find an appreciative readership across a variety of fields, including scholars of international relations and development aid. The book at times can feel slightly unbalanced, however, and I suspect that each of these readerships might well wish that the distribution of themes throughout the volume differed slightly.    

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Resource Spotlight: International Encyclopedia of Anthropology Foregrounds the History of the Discipline

The History of Anthropology Review (HAR) would like to bring to the attention of our readers the International Encyclopedia of Anthropology, a pioneering reference resource for the field of anthropology and interrelated areas. This online compendium contains over 1000 entries on the discipline’s key concepts, research and techniques–many of which touch on issues related to the history and histories of anthropology. HAR’s Bibliographies editor, Janet Steins, has kindly put together a brief summary of this resource.

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Editor’s Introduction: The Morton Cranial Collection and Legacies of Scientific Racism in Museums

This essay introduces a series of “Participant Observations” on the removal of the Samuel Morton Cranial Collection from public display and legacies of scientific racism in museums. Read more reflections from this series here.

As part of ongoing discussions about racism and calls for anti-racist work, and with an eye toward thinking about how anthropology has historically contributed to structures of inequality, the History of Anthropology Review is beginning a new series of Participant Observations. This series of essays was provoked by the summer 2020 removal of the Samuel George Morton cranial collection—which includes the remains of over 50 enslaved people born in Africa—from public display at the Penn Museum in Philadelphia. Penn, and more recently Harvard, have committed to historical research of their physical anthropology collections and to pursuing repatriation, reburial, commemoration, and other futures for the remains of African-descendant and enslaved people contained within them. The shifting fates of these collections creates space for critical discussion of other anti-racist reckonings, the push toward decolonization in museums, ethical concerns about the collection, analysis, and display of human remains, and the intertwined histories of racial science, medicine, and anthropology. 

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Affective Responses to Normalized Violence in Museums

This essay is one of a series of “Participant Observations” on the removal of the Samuel Morton Cranial Collection from public display and legacies of scientific racism in museums. Read more reflections from this series here.

Over the past year, many museums have reflected on their internal structural inequalities. Anthropology museums face the added challenge of addressing the history of anthropological collecting, display, and research. Reflecting on recent protests concerning the Penn Museum’s ownership and use of human remains, I find myself considering the variability of museological encounters, and the diversity of affective responses to everyday museum practices. I share the following vignette to highlight the emotional impacts of normalizing and encouraging the routine handling and display of ancestors whose bodies—“specimens” in the museum—represent historical violence against Black and Brown people, and others. 

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Morton, the Maya and Me: Reflections from a Yucatec Maya Graduate Student

This essay is one of a series of “Participant Observations” on the removal of the Samuel Morton Cranial Collection from public display and legacies of scientific racism in museums. Read more reflections from this series here.

My second day as a PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania, I entered classroom 190 in the CAAM labs of the Penn Museum—what I would later half-jokingly term the Penn Museum’s catacombs. As I sat, I took in the crania sitting on shelves lining the walls, naively assuming they were ethically collected medical specimens or realistic models. Later that week, one of my colleagues informed me: “those are Morton’s skulls.” My second time in the classroom, uneasy in my seat, I looked at the skulls immediately to my right, and observed that one of them had the number 990 and a label across its forehead: “Maya from Yucatan.” [1]

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Colonizing the Indigenous Dead

This essay is one of a series of “Participant Observations” on the removal of the Samuel Morton Cranial Collection from public display and legacies of scientific racism in museums. Read more reflections from this series here.

The ideological claims and scientific practices that transformed Indigenous Native American bodies into public specimens emerged from racial prejudices that colonized both the living and the dead. Philadelphia physician Samuel George Morton inferred that European “conquering invaders” had some measurable innate superiority over the “aboriginal races.”[1] His efforts inspired other researchers, who manipulated dead bodies to support their search for evidence of a social hierarchy that placed white Europeans topmost. This research was considered necessary: as Franz Boas put it, “It is most unpleasant work to steal bones from a grave, but what is the use, someone has to do it.”[2]

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New Release from BEROSE – García on archaeological museums in Colombia

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article in Spanish on the history of archaeological museums in Colombia.

García Roldan, Daniel, 2021. “La invención de los museos arqueológicos en Bogotá, Colombia (1935-1955): geografías del conocimiento y concepciones de patrimonio arqueológico”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

English translation: “The Invention of Archaeological Museums in Bogotá, Colombia (1935-1955): Geographies of Knowledge and Conceptions of Archaeological Heritage”

URL BEROSE: article2180.html

This article is dedicated to the history of archaeological museums in Colombia. It reconstructs the process of establishing national museums in Bogotá starting in the 1930s and highlights the different notions of archaeological heritage that were forged in each case. In the National Archaeological Museum, the concept of archaeological heritage was closely connected to education, research, and archaeological fieldwork, while in El Museo del Oro (The Gold Museum) it was associated with the sumptuous aspects of pre-Colombian objects; their aesthetic, technical, and even monetary value. Daniel García Roldan identifies the geographies of knowledge behind the history of both museums, analyzes the local institutional contexts in which they emerged, and explores the global processes of knowledge circulation and appropriation in which they participated.

Online Event: “Race and Nation in Puerto Rican Folklore: Franz Boas and John Alden Mason in Porto Rico”

On Wednesday, February 17 at 1:00 pm ET Dr. Rafael Ocasio will be presenting on his new book Race and Nation in Puerto Rican Folklore: Franz Boas and John Alden Mason in Porto Rico (Rutgers University Press, 2020).

The event will be hosted by the American Philosophical Society and held via Zoom. The event is free of charge but registration is required. Additional details and registration may be found on the event website.

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CFP: “Changing Fields: Hilde and Richard Thurnwald’s Ethnology”

Conference: Paris, July 8-9, 2021   

Like Felix von Luschan, Richard Thurnwald started his career in the Habsburg Empire, before moving to Berlin. He was probably the most well-known German anthropologist outside of Germany between the two World Wars, when he developed what came to be known as historical functionalism. He was well integrated within ethnological research networks and being in contact with sociologists, he also tried to claim recognition in this field. His wife Hilde Thurnwald, who hadn’t been trained as an ethnologist, accompanied him in the field in East Africa (1930-31) and New Guinea (1933), developed her own research, and also began to publish in the 1930s. Although Richard Thurnwald expressed his opposition to the rising national-socialist party in letters, the couple left the USA in 1936 and returned to Germany, adapting to the new regime. After 1945, they both participated in the reorganization of ethnological research in Berlin, Hilde Thurnwald leading in fieldwork in 1946-47 about the situation of families and youth criminality, Richard Thurnwald (re)founding the review Sociologus (which still exists today), and continuing to publish. Their concessions to the Third Reich did not seem to overtly alert the Occupation Authorities, either Soviet or American. One can thus state that after 1945 the Thurnwalds were typical of the thematic and personal continuation of the previous era, a reason why, as with others, they were condemned in the 1960s when a new generation of German ethnologists started to investigate the history of the discipline.    

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New Release from BEROSE – Launay on Ferguson

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article on Scottish anthropologist Adam Ferguson, by Robert Launay.

Launay, Robert, 2021. “Savagery in 18th-Century Scotland: An Intellectual Portrait of Adam Ferguson,” in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

An eminent representative of the Scottish Enlightenment, Adam Ferguson (1723-1816) was one of the most important theoreticians of progress of the era and author of the famous Essay on the History of Civil Society (1767). He was one of the very first thinkers to propose a theory of the origins of civilization in four stages (hunting, pastoralism, agriculture, trade). In his Essay, he defined “savagery” as not a state but a stage. Just as much as so-called “civilized” people, savages were portrayed by Ferguson as fully social beings. He insisted on the importance of the economy in characterizing social organization – private property, social inequalities and division of labor being decisive criteria in defining a society. In this challenging article, Robert Launay rediscovers Ferguson’s work, which was admired in the twentieth century by E.E. Evans-Pritchard and Ernest Gellner.

Online Event: Lee Baker on “W.E.B DuBois, Franz Boas, and ‘the Real Race Problem'”

On Friday, February 5, 2021, from 9:30am to 11:00am, Lee Baker is delivering a talk as part of Duke University’s tgiFHI speaker series. Entitled “W.E.B DuBois, Franz Boas, and ‘the Real Race Problem,” this presentation examines the racist anti-racism of American Anthropology, focusing particularly on the writings and activities of DuBois and Boas during the first decade of the 20th century.

The presentation will be virtual (via Zoom). There will be an opportunity to join a facilitated discussion with the speaker and other participants after the lecture. Registration information can be found here.

A short overview of the talk is provided below.

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New Release from BEROSE – Guimarães on de Azevedo

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article on Brazilian anthropologist Thales de Azevedo, written in Portuguese by Antonio Guimarães (transl: “Racial Democracy and Folk Religiosity in Thales de Azevedo: Portrait of a Chatolic Anthropologist”).

Guimarães, Antonio Sérgio Alfredo, 2021. “Democracia racial e religiosidade popular em Thales de Azevedo: retrato de um antropólogo católico”, in BEROSE – International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Brazilian anthropologist Thales de Azevedo (1904-1995) has stood out in the history of anthropology since the 1950s, when he was part of a major study on race relations in Brazil sponsored by UNESCO. In this sensitive article, Antonio Guimarães argues that Azevedo was a politically engaged Catholic whose conservatism was counterbalanced by his sense of social justice. His studies of Catholicism sought to apply anthropology to the understanding of folk religiosity in Brazil. With a focus on Brazilian folk cultures, Azevedo conducted ethnographic fieldwork and wrote about daily life and its rites. Azevedo was among the first generations of scholars who instituted anthropology as an academic discipline in Brazil and he was a central figure in the foundation and later the direction of the Brazilian Association of Anthropology. Azevedo’s vast work includes As elites de cor (1955), Catolicismo no Brasil (1955), Social Change in Brazil  (1963), and Democracia racial: ideologia e realidade (1975).

CFP: Anthropological Journal of European Cultures Special Issue on “Decolonizing Europe: national and transnational projects”

The Anthropological Journal of European Cultures is inviting expressions of interest for a special themed issue on ‘Decolonizing Europe: national and transnational projects’ that will be edited by Patrícia Ferraz de Matos (Universidade de Lisboa) and Livio Sansone (Universidade Federal da Bahia) and published in the Fall 2021.

Pieces should be no longer than 3000 words (including references). Editors particularly welcome contributions from early career scholars and postgraduates–although they welcome submissions from established scholars too.

Interested contributors should submit a brief expression of interest outlining the proposed chapter (circa 300 words) to Patrícia Ferraz de Matos (patricia_matos@ics.ulisboa.pt) and Livio Sansone (sansone@ufba.br) by 5 March 2021.

More information on the thematic focus of this special issue is provided below.

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Activist Realignments in the History of Anthropology: The Association of Senior Anthropologists’ Panels at “Raising our Voices”

When the Covid-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association, an online event titled “Raising our Voices” was offered as a substitute. I had organized a history of anthropology-themed panel for the cancelled meeting, but along with my fellow panelists, elected to put it on hold as we all prepared for the transition of service and teaching to online platforms. I was therefore delighted when the Association of Senior Anthropologists announced that they had organized two panels for “Raising our Voices.” It was clear from the panel abstracts that the ASA sought to bring an historical dimension to the activist theme implied by the title of the new event, emphasizing the continuity of activism throughout the history of the discipline.

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CFP: Préhistoire et anthropologie entre science, philosophie, politique et internationalisme. Colloque international sur Gabriel de Mortillet, Paris

On the occasion of the bicentennial of the prehistorian Gabriel de Mortillet’s (1821-1898) birth, the Musée d’archéologie nationale and the French research centres “Natural History of Prehistoric Man” and “Archaeology and Philology of the East and the West” are organizing an international conference entitled: Préhistoire et anthropologie entre science, philosophie, politique et internationalisme. À propos de Gabriel de Mortillet (Prehistory and anthropology between science, philosophy, politics and internationalism. About Gabriel de Mortillet).

The conference will be held in Paris (École Normale Supérieure) and Saint-Germain-en-Laye (Musée d’archéologie nationale) on 25-26 November 2021.

Organizers are currently accepting submissions for this event’s three thematic sessions:

  1. Penser et faire l’anthropologie et l’archéologie préhistorique au XIXe siècle
  2. Les archives du sol et les archives documentaires : un regard croisé et multidisciplinaire
  3. Gabriel de Mortillet préhistorien et voyageur scientifique sans frontières

Interested speakers are invited to submit their proposals online (via the registration section). The deadline for submissions is February 28, 2021.

More information about this event can be found here.

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Reminder: Native American Scholars Initiative (NASI) Pre- and Postdoctoral Fellowship Opportunities, American Philosophical Society, Upcoming Deadline

A reminder that the deadline to apply for pre and postdoctoral fellowships at the Library & Museum of the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia is Friday, January 29, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. ET

The Library & Museum of the American Philosophical Society invites applications for predoctoral, postdoctoral, and short-term research fellowships from scholars at all stages of their careers, especially Native American scholars in training, tribal college and university faculty members, and other scholars working closely with Native communities on projects in Native American and Indigenous Studies and related fields and disciplines. 

Fellows will be associated with the APS’s Center for Native American and Indigenous Research (CNAIR), which promotes greater collaboration among scholars, archives, and Indigenous communities. CNAIR focuses on helping Indigenous communities and scholars to discover and utilize the APS collection in innovative ways. The Collections comprise a vast archive of documentary sources (including manuscript materials, audio recordings, and images) related to over 650 indigenous cultures, predominantly from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The Indigenous Subject Guide may be accessed through the CNAIR webpage: http://www.amphilsoc.org/CNAIR

See individual fellowship descriptions below for more information and instructions on how to apply. 

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CFP: Антропологии/ Anthropologies Special Issue on the History of European Anthropologies

The Russian open access journal Антропологии/Anthropologies, published by the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology (Russian Academy of Sciences), is currently seeking contributions for a special issue on the histories of anthropology in Europe.

The aim of the issue is to provide the journal’s (mainly) Russian speaking readership with an idea of the current state of the field of history of anthropology in Europe or as practiced by European scholars. Editors are interested in research articles that exemplify current practices of writing the history of anthropology. Contributions that reflect on purposes and trends in this field are also welcome. Submissions do not need to be fully original research articles. Rather, they might present versions of already published research or works that are expected to be published in languages other than Russian.

Articles should be approximately 9,000 words. Submissions can be written in English, German, Italian, Spanish, and French, and will be accepted until 15 March 2021.

Original English texts will be published in both English and Russian versions of the journal.

More information about the journal and the submission process can be found here.

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‘Darwinism, Democracy, and Race’ by John P. Jackson Jr. and David J. Depew

John P. Jackson Jr. and David J. Depew. Darwinism, Democracy, and Race: American Anthropology and Evolutionary Biology in the Twentieth Century. 240pp., index. New York: Routledge, 2017.

Concurrent with the recent rise of far-right populism and authoritarianism has been a troubling reemergence of scientific racism. New tools for sequencing genomes and identifying “genetic clusters” have enabled this revival both in academic circles and on social media. The return of “race realism” is best exemplified by the research of Nicholas Wade, who in A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History (2014) argued in favor of racial determinism while also claiming that the anti-racism pushback of the post-World War II era was ideological rather than scientifically-based. John P. Jackson Jr. and David J. Depew explicitly reject this idea. In Darwinism, Democracy, and Race: American Anthropology and Evolutionary Biology in the Twentieth Century (2017), they revisit the anti-racist arguments of the twentieth century in order to re-present and reaffirm the scientific basis for racial egalitarianism and democratic equality, an admirable goal given the current political climate and ongoing fight for racial justice in the United States.

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Online Seminar: Anthropology After Gluckman, January 21, 2021

On 21 January 2021, from 5:00-6:30pm, the African Studies Centre at the University of Oxford is hosting a special panel discussion on Richard Werbner’s book: Anthropology After Gluckman: The Manchester School, Colonial and Postcolonial Transformations (2020).

The panel features author Richard Werbner (University of
Manchester) in conversation with Marilyn Strathern (University of Cambridge), Adam Kuper, (Boston University), Richard Fardon (SOAS), and Sakkie Niehaus (Brunel University). The discussion will be moderated by Wale Adebanwi (University of Oxford).

The meeting can be joined by following this link.

RSVP: Brenda McCollum (brenda.mccollum@kellogg.ox.ac.uk)

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Reminder: History of Anthropology Working Group, “Antiblackness and Indigeneity,” January 6, 2021

The next meeting of the History of Anthropology Working Group, hosted by the Consortium for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine, will be held on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. ET. The topic for the discussion will be “Antiblackness and Indigeneity.”

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