An essay on the history of anthropology

It first appears sporadically in the scholarly Latin anthropologia of Renaissance France, where it spawns the French word anthropologie, transferred into English as anthropology.

An essay on the history of anthropology

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Stressing continuity in discontinuity can legitimate current practice; emphasizing discontinuity can assist in making current unorthodoxy orthodox; resurrecting neglected ancestors can establish fresh genealogical links and diminish the status of ancestor figures.

They are often employed by anthropologists when they write or An essay on the history of anthropology on the history of their discipline. Need a custom Essay? Check the price and Order Now! Insider Presentist Histories Although anthropology was established as a subject only in the nineteenth century, the study of humankind has a greater antiquity.

The academic development of the discipline also encouraged individuals to reflect upon the discontinuities inherent in their past. This assisted them to differentiate their ideas and methods from those of earlier writers and to legitimate their current position in relation to competing academic approaches.

Thus accounts of the history of the discipline were made to serve presentist aims. This approach can be clearly seen in the writings of Boas and his followers in American anthropology, who attempted to distance themselves from the evolutionary ideas and methods of earlier American anthropologists.

Internal differences among the Boasians and differences between American and European traditions were also discussed in historical terms. This approach is most clearly articulated by Lowie, but is also apparent in the writings of Radin and Kroeber. The first generation of British social anthropologists who emerged in the s and s were less concerned than American anthropologists with establishing a legitimate ancestry.

Unlike the Boasians, the founders of British social anthropology rejected historical approaches, including reflections on their own past. Evans-Pritchard, for example, charted a personal intellectual biography, relegating the founding fathers to footnotes and locating the origins of the discipline not in the nineteenth century but in the writings of eighteenth-century Enlightenment Scots and English moral philosophers.

Others resurrected past anthropologists to strengthen their own position, hoping to legitimate their current views by rediscovering and reasserting what they claimed were lost traditions. The emergence since of a number of distinctive and often competing approaches to anthropology in North America has generated a number of histories also aimed at legitimating particular approaches.

Most notable among these is that by Marvin Harris, the most sustained attempt to date at a presentist history of anthropology. Harris attacked a wide range of ideas and approaches often with polemical insight, but his ultimate aim was to enhance his own cultural materialist approach to anthropology by dismissing most others.

Some early historicist accounts Hodgen were written from outside the discipline but were neglected by most anthropologists. Hallowell, writing from within the discipline, made an initial plea for an historicist approach.

In Britain one intellectual historian placed nineteenth-century anthropological interest in the origin and evolution of society in the development of philosophical reflection on human society Burrow More recently, Bowler situated nineteenth-century anthropological ideas in the context of the development of evolutionary ideas in Victorian science.

Urry applied an historicist approach to the formation of British institutional and academic anthropology in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

But it has been the American historian George Stocking, trained in the history of science and using an historicist approach, who has had the major impact on the study of the history of both British and American anthropology.

Later research, tracing the development of British anthropology — from its ethnological foundations beforethrough evolutionism to the emergence of social anthropology in the twentieth century — has resulted in numerous articles and a major study of nineteenth century anthropology While maintaining an emphasis on historicism, he has increasingly come to see the value in certain contexts of presentist approaches.

In this work Stocking has encouraged both anthropologists and non-anthropologist historians to research and write on the history of the discipline, opening a new field of enquiry and setting new standards of scholarship.

Recent Research and Writing Recent research and writing on the history of the discipline, apart from leaning towards either presentism or historicism, has concentrated on three areas: These areas are far from exclusive, but reflect major emphases in research and writing.

The rise of feminist anthropology has encouraged a number of anthropologists to write accounts of the life and work of women anthropologists. An extensive memoir literature of second- and third-generation anthropologists, either autobiographical or obtained through interviews with younger anthropologists published mainly in Current Anthropologynow exists.

Often these are published without much scholarly commentary, and the same is true of the new editions of the published and unpublished collected writings of past anthropologists which have appeared.

Historicists, including professional historians, have made major contributions to biographical studies and published collections of texts. While outsiders often possess superior historical research skills to anthropologists, some reveal an inadequate understanding of anthropological ideas and their context, as some recent accounts of British anthropology clearly illustrate.

Currently a number of anthropologists and historians have written or are writing research theses in the field and there are regular conferences and sessions at anthropological meetings devoted to the history of the discipline see regular reports in HAN.

The history of local traditions in research, ethnographic writing and institutional developments are also being rediscovered in many countries. In Central and Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America these often involve the linking of older ethnological, material culture and folklore studies to current research in social and cultural anthropology.

Resources for Further Study Kemper and Phinney provide a good review of the published literature to the mids and this can be supplemented by HAN, which publishes bibliographies of current published literature.Insider Presentist Histories.

Although anthropology was established as a subject only in the nineteenth century, the study of humankind has a greater antiquity. Medical Anthropology Introduction and Description: My topic, Medical Anthropology, is a field of study that uses culture, religion, education, economics/infrastructure, history, and the environment as a means to evaluate and understand "cross-cultural perspectives, components, and interpretations of the concept of health" (Society for Medical.

An essay on the history of anthropology

The American Museum of Natural History has many exhibits that demonstrate many aspects of anthropology. The Museum is located on Central Park West between W81st and W77nd streets. The museum is an excellent place to open oneself to many new ideas and cultures.

Database of FREE Anthropology essays - We have thousands of free essays across a wide range of subject areas. Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was known for its dominance on the Seine and the Ile de la Cite in addition to the history of Paris.

Insider Presentist Histories

Published: Mon, 30 Apr The Relationship Between Feminism and Anthropology. In this essay I. The American Museum of Natural History has many exhibits that demonstrate many aspects of anthropology.

The Museum is located on Central Park West between W81st and W77nd streets. The museum is an excellent place to open oneself to many new ideas and cultures. Introduction Social anthropology is the field of anthropology that studies how living human beings behave in social groups.

This essay seeks to explore the history, meaning 4 Pages (1, Words) - Last Modified: 30th April,

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