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The History of Anthropology

A Critical Window on the Discipline in North America

by (author) Regna Darnell

Initial publish date
Oct 2021
Cultural, Physical
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2021
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2021
    List Price

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In The History of Anthropology Regna Darnell offers a critical reexamination of the Americanist tradition centered around the figure of Franz Boas and the professionalization of anthropology as an academic discipline in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Focused on researchers often known as the Boasians, The History of Anthropology reveals the theoretical schools, institutions, and social networks of scholars and fieldworkers primarily interested in the anthropology and ethnography of North American Indigenous peoples. Darnell’s fifty-year career entails seminal writings in the history of anthropology’s four fields: cultural anthropology, ethnography, linguistics, and physical anthropology.

Leading researchers, theorists, and fieldwork subjects include Edward Sapir, Daniel Brinton, Mary Haas, Franz Boas, Leonard Bloomfield, Benjamin Lee Whorf, Stanley Newman, and A. Irving Hallowell, as well as the professionalization of anthropology, the development of American folklore scholarship, theories of Indigenous languages, Southwest ethnographic research, Indigenous ceremonialism, text traditions, and anthropology’s forays into contemporary public intellectual debates.

The History of Anthropology is the essential volume for scholars, undergraduates, and graduate students to enter into the history of the Americanist tradition and its legacies, alternating historicism and presentism to contextualize anthropology’s historical and contemporary relevance and 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

“A profound understanding of the Boasian bedrock by a living legend in the history of anthropology. Against breaking with the past, Regna Darnell dialogues with Americanist ancestors from Powell to Hallowell and projects her own lifetime achievements—and metamorphoses—as historian of the discipline into the future.”—Christine Laurière and Frederico Delgado Rosa, directors of BEROSE: International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology

"This work is relevant today as a history of linguistics in Boas's era of American anthropology, with segments on Sapir and his colleagues."—A. B. Kehoe, Choice

"Regna Darnell has provided us with a key source for the documentation and analysis of the development of American anthropology. This is an important, nay, an excellent volume."—Rosemary Lévy Zumwalt, Journal of Folklore Research

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