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Social Science Cultural

History of Theory and Method in Anthropology

by (author) Regna Darnell

Initial publish date
Jun 2022
Cultural, Native American Studies
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2022
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2022
    List Price

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Regna Darnell offers a critical reexamination of the theoretical orientation of the Americanist tradition, centered on the work of Franz Boas, and the professionalization of anthropology as an academic discipline in the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. History of Theory and Method in Anthropology reveals the theory schools, institutions, and social networks of scholars and fieldworkers primarily interested in the ethnography of North American Indigenous peoples. Darnell’s fifty-year career entails foundational writings in the four fields of the discipline: cultural anthropology, ethnography, linguistics, and physical anthropology.

Leading researchers, theorists, and fieldwork subjects include Claude Lévi-Strauss, Franz Boas, Benjamin Lee Whorf, John Wesley Powell, Frederica de Laguna, Dell Hymes, George Stocking Jr., and Anthony F. C. Wallace, as well as nineteenth-century Native language classifications, ethnography, ethnohistory, social psychology, structuralism, rationalism, biologism, mentalism, race science, human nature and cultural relativism, ethnocentrism, standpoint-based epistemology, collaborative research, and applied anthropology. History of Theory and Method in Anthropology is an essential volume for scholars and undergraduate and graduate students to enter into the history of the inductive theory schools and methodologies of the Americanist tradition and its legacies.

About the author

Regna Darnell is Distinguished University Professor of Anthropology Emerita at the University of Western Ontario. She is coeditor of The Franz Boas Papers, Volume 1: Franz Boas as Public Intellectual—Theory, Ethnography, Activism (Nebraska, 2015). Darnell is the general editor of the multivolume series The Franz Boas Papers: Documentary Edition and co-editor of the Critical Studies in History of Anthropology series. 

Regna Darnell's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“Assessing and reassessing the field with fifty years of experience and skill allows Darnell to produce sage insights and demonstrate her progressive thinking on critical anthropological themes, such as the effects of social networks on theory.”—N. J. Parezo, Choice

“Regna Darnell invites the reader to listen in on the intimate, collaborative, and frequently contentious conversations that formed the basis for North American anthropology. We are gifted with a clearly written and revelatory unpacking of the connections, alliances, and discordant moments of an anthropology practice grounded in humanistic and scholarly precepts. This timely critical history promises to reintroduce anthropology as a fundamentally humanistic scholarly endeavor whose practitioners continue the long tradition of scholarship in the service of social justice.”—Bernard Perley, author of Defying Maliseet Language Death: Emergent Vitalities of Language, Culture, and Identity in Eastern Canada

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