Visionary Observers


Visionary Observers

Anthropological Inquiry and Education

Edited by Jill B. R. Cherneff and Eve Hochwald
Foreword by Sydel Silverman

Critical Studies in the History of Anthropology Series

262 pages


December 2006


$29.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Visionary Observers explores the relationship between anthropology and public policy, examining the careers of nine twentieth-century American anthropologists who made important contributions to debates about race, ethnicity, socialization, and education. Included are Franz Boas, the founder of American anthropology; Ruth Benedict, who analyzed modern societies during and after World War II; Margaret Mead, anthropology's most recognized public educator; Gene Weltfish, whose “pragmatic anthropology” positioned education at the core of culture; Hortense Powdermaker, whose fieldwork embraced Black America, Hollywood, and the Pacific; Solon Kimball, who studied the impact of desegregation; Ruth Landes, who adopted a cultural approach to educating teachers; Jules Henry, who analyzed the institutional consequences of imposing middle-class culture; and Eleanor Leacock, who pioneered “advocacy anthropology.”
The questions they asked—about culture and human behavior, democracy and inequality, and systemic function and disjunction—and the dilemmas they faced as citizen-scientists are recurrent ones. The topics they addressed illustrate how the lens of American anthropology has long been focused on domestic issues. Through its emphasis on anthropologists as practitioners as well as theorists, this anthology adds a new dimension to the history and development of anthropology in the United States.

Author Bio

Jill B. R. Cherneff is a research scholar at the Center for the Study of Women at the University of California at Los Angeles. Eve Hochwald is the principal of Action Research, an educational consulting practice. Sydel Silverman is professor emerita at City University of New York and former president of the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. The contributors to this volume include Jill B. R. Cherneff, Regna Darnell, Richard Handler, Eve Hochwald, Ray McDermott, Alexander Moore, Juliet Niehaus, and Virginia Young.

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