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:
“Friendship and Other Connections in American Anthropology, 1890s–1920s
Early American anthropology presents a fertile ground for exploring the relationship between emerging anthropological theory and the lives and attachments of individuals. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, anthropology in the United States was an extremely small discipline. The American Anthropological Association had only 40 members at its founding in 1902. By 1910, the total membership was under 300 individuals and by 1920, it had risen to just over 500. Moreover, many of these members were not anthropologists (at least not in the modern sense). They came from diverse social, intellectual, and financial backgrounds. There were New York City stockbrokers, West coast lumber barons, medical doctors, historians, economists, geologists, physicians, and psychologists as well as ethnographers, linguists, and archaeologists.
Despite the diversity of the organization, when we look back at the early years of American anthropology we tend to tell a singular story: the emergence and triumph of the Boasian paradigm in the first quarter of the 20th century. However, this greatly simplifies the events of that era. This panel attempts to restore some of the complexity of the lived experience of anthropologists between the 1890s and early 1920s. It does so by drawing back the curtain on the personal entanglements and economic relations behind the emergence of anthropology. It shows how collaboration and competition as well as friendships, romances, antagonisms, and jealousies, combined with and sometimes overwhelmed similarities and differences of perspective and doctrine. In so doing it provides an avenue to a richer understanding of the personalities and intellectual backgrounds fundamental to shaping anthropology in the 20th century and to the current day.”