The Franz Boas Papers, Volume 1


The Franz Boas Papers, Volume 1

Franz Boas as Public Intellectual—Theory, Ethnography, Activism

Edited by Regna Darnell, Michelle Hamilton, Robert L. A. Hancock, and Joshua Smith
Regna Darnell, General Editor

Franz Boas Papers Documentary Edition Series

408 pages


August 2015


$75.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
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August 2015


$75.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

This inaugural volume of The Franz Boas Papers Documentary Edition series presents current scholarship from the various academic disciplines that were shaped and continue to be influenced by Franz Boas (1858–1942). Few of Boas’s intellectual progeny span the range of his disciplinary and public engagements. In his later career, Boas moved beyond Native American studies to become a public intellectual and advocate for social justice, particularly with reference to racism against African Americans and Jews and discrimination against women in science. He was a passionate defender of academic freedom, rigorous scholarship, and anthropology as a humane calling.
The Franz Boas Papers, Volume 1 examines Boas’s stature as a public intellectual in three crucial dimensions: theory, ethnography, and activism. The volume’s contributors move across many of the disciplines within which Boas himself worked, bringing to bear their expertise in Native studies, anthropology, history, linguistics, folklore, ethnomusicology, museum studies, comparative literature, English, film studies, philosophy, and journalism. This volume demonstrates a contemporary urgency to reassessing Boas both within the field of anthropology and beyond.

Author Bio

Regna Darnell is Distinguished University Professor of Anthropology at the University of Western Ontario. She is the author of Invisible Genealogies: A History of Americanist Anthropology (Nebraska, 2001). Michelle Hamilton is an associate professor and director of public history at the University of Western Ontario. She is the author of Collections and Objections: Aboriginal Material Culture in Southern Ontario. Robert L. A. Hancock is the LE,NONET Academic Coordinator in the Office of Indigenous Affairs and adjunct assistant professor in anthropology and environmental studies at the University of Victoria. Joshua Smith is a PhD candidate in anthropology at the University of Western Ontario.


"This is an important volume. . . . The many excellent papers gathered here accurately represent the current state of scholarship on Boas and the history of North American anthropology."—Richard Handler, Journal of Anthropological Research

"As a stand-alone piece and as a first step in the grand Boas project, this volume is an important and fascinating contribution toward the understanding of a man who, if he did not heroically invent anthropology single-handedly, certainly did have a disproportionate influence on its formation and early direction."—Jack David Eller, Anthropology Review Database

"Highly recommended."—CHOICE

“This pathbreaking book transforms our understanding of Franz Boas as both scientist and citizen, going far beyond commonly accepted views of this influential figure of American cultural life. Presented from a firmly contemporary perspective, these important and well-researched essays will surely be the foundation of much future study.”—Ira Jacknis, research anthropologist at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley

Table of Contents

List of Figures
Historiographic Conundra: The Boasian Elephant in the Middle of Anthropology’s Room
Regna Darnell
Part 1. Theory and Interdisciplinary Scope
1. Mind, Body, and the Native Point of View: Boasian Theory at the Centennial of The Mind of Primitive Man
Regna Darnell
2. The Individual and Individuality in Franz Boas’s Anthropology and Philosophy
Herbert S. Lewis
3. The Police Dance: Dissemination in Boas’s Field Notes and Diaries, 1886–1894
Christopher Bracken
4. Franz Boas and the Conditions of Literature
J. Edward Chamberlin
5. From Baffin Island to Boasian Induction: How Anthropology and Linguistics Got into Their Interlinear Groove
Michael Silverstein
6. The Boasian Legacy in Ethnomusicology: Cultural Relativism, Narrative Texts, Linguistic Structures, and the Role of Comparison
Sean O’Neill
Part 2. Ethnography
7. Friends in This World: The Relationship of George Hunt and Franz Boas
Isaiah Lorado Wilner
8. The Ethnographic Legacy of Franz Boas and James Teit: The Thompson Indians of British Columbia
Andrea Laforet
Part 3. Activism
9. Anthropological Activism and Boas’s Pacific Northwest Ethnology
David W. Dinwoodie
10. Franz Boas, Wilson Duff, and the Image of Anthropology in British Columbia
Robert L. A. Hancock
11. Cultural Persistence in the Age of “Hopelessness”: Phinney, Boas, and U.S. Indian Policy
Joshua Smith
12. Franz Boas’s Correspondence with German Friends and Colleagues in the Early 1930s
Jürgen Langenkämper
13. Franz Boas on War and Empire: The Making of a Public Intellectual
Julia E. Liss
Part 4. The Archival Project
14. Anthropology of Revitalization: Digitizing the American Philosophical Society’s Native American Collections
Timothy B. Powell
15. “An expansive archive . . . not a diminished one”: The Franz Boas Documentary Edition Project
Michelle Hamilton
The Franz Boas Papers Project Team

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