In 1973, the first issue of the History of Anthropology Newsletter opened with a statement of purpose from the editorial committee, called “Prospects and Problems,” by George Stocking. The editors were self-consciously defining and claiming a field. They let loose with territorial metaphors: occupation, soil, furrows, forays. Now, as we continue our relaunch of HAN, we return to this 40-year-old manifesto as a starting point for thinking about the past, present, and future of the field.

The 1973 essay noted a sense of disciplinary crisis as a spur to growth; it asked whether this history should be done by anthropologists, intellectual historians on “one-book forays,” by “anthropologists manqué,” or by a new generation of interdisciplinarians; it announced the need for “landmarks” including lists of archival holdings, bibliographic aids, research in progress, recent publications—which HAN would provide. It ended with a call for participation from readers.

Seeking to continue HAN’s role as a site for debating the field’s present state and shaping its future, in late 2016 we invited a series of scholars from various fields to respond to this manifesto. In February 2017, eight distinguished authors responded with generosity, insight, experience, good humor—and impressive speed. Continuing our reappraisal of Stocking’s inaugural editorial statement, in August 2017 we added nine additional surveys of the field’s potential terrain. These contributions covered new ground, unearthed skepticisms, and sowed a set of new questions. Now, in October 2017, we close the series with a third set of reflections from an impressive group of early career scholars. They imply a rich future for the study of anthropology’s past.

We encourage HAN readers and subscribers to make use of the comments section to respond to individual pieces, or to the section as a whole. Dig in and leave a mark.

This editorial was originally published on February 1, 2017. It was updated on August 15, 2017 and on October 21, 2017.

Warwick Anderson: contributions / website / / University of Sydney
Lee D. Baker: contributions / website / / Duke University
Margaret M. Bruchac: contributions / website / / University of Pennsylvania
William Carruthers: contributions / / Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow, Department of Art History and World Art Studies, University of East Anglia
James Clifford: contributions / website / / University of California - Santa Cruz
Rosanna Dent: contributions / website / / Federated Department of History / NJIT - Rutgers Newark
Nélia Dias: contributions / website / / Instituto Universitário de Lisboa
Elizabeth Edwards: contributions / website / / De Montfort University
Ugo F. Edu: contributions / website /
Matthew Engelke: contributions / website / / London School of Economics
Benoît de L'Estoile: contributions / website / / CNRS, Ecole normale supérieure, PSL Research University
James D. Faubion: contributions / website / / Rice University
Margaret Flood: contributions / / Program in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine, University of Minnesota
Ruth Goldstein: contributions / website /
Robert L. A. Hancock (Metis): contributions / website / / LE,NONET Academic Coordinator, Office of Indigenous Academic and Community Engagement / University of Victoria
Ageliki Lefkaditou: contributions / website / / Postdoctoral Researcher/ Teknisk Museum
Adrianna Link: contributions / website /
Jonathan Marks: contributions / website / / University of North Carolina, Charlotte
H. Glenn Penny: contributions / website / / University of Iowa
Nathan Schlanger: contributions / website / / Ecole nationale des chartes / UMR Trajectoires
Marilyn Strathern: contributions / website / / University of Cambridge
Edna Suárez-Díaz: contributions / website / / Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Helen Tilley: contributions / website / / Department of History, Northwestern University
John Tresch: contributions / website / / Warburg Institute, University of London
Han F. Vermeulen: contributions / website / / Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology