The History of Anthropology


The History of Anthropology

A Critical Window on the Discipline in North America

Regna Darnell

Critical Studies in the History of Anthropology Series

398 pages
9 photographs, 2 tables, index


October 2021


$35.00 Add to Cart

October 2021


$99.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
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October 2021


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eBook (PDF)
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October 2021


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About the Book

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.


Author Bio

Regna Darnell is Distinguished University Professor Emerita of Anthropology 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) and author of Edward Sapir: Linguist, Anthropologist, Humanist (Nebraska, 2010), Invisible Genealogies: A History of Americanist Anthropology (Nebraska, 2001), and many other works. Darnell is the recipient of the lifetime achievement award from the American Anthropological Association and the Women’s Network of the Canadian Anthropology Society.



“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
“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

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Tables
Editorial Method
List of Abbreviations
1. Edward Sapir: Linguist, Anthropologist, Humanist
2. The Professionalization of American Anthropology: A Case Study in the Sociology of Knowledge
3. The Development of American Folklore Scholarship, 1880–1920
4. The Emergence of Academic Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania
5. Documenting Disciplinary History
6. Franz Boas’s Legacy of “Useful Knowledge”: The APS Archives and the Future of Americanist Anthropology
7. Franz Boas: Scientist and Public Intellectual
8. Franz Boas, Edward Sapir, and the Americanist Text Tradition
9. The Emergence of Edward Sapir’s Mature Thought
10. Indo-European Methodology, Bloomfield’s Central Algonquian, and Sapir’s Distant Genetic Relationships
11. Camelot at Yale: The Construction and Dismantling of the Sapirian Synthesis, 1931–1939
12. Benedictine Visionings of Southwestern Cultural Diversity: Beyond Relativism
13. Benjamin Lee Whorf and the Boasian Foundations of Contemporary Ethnolinguistics
14. Mary R. Haas and the First Yale School of Linguistics
15. Stanley Newman and the Sapir School of Linguistics
16. Hallowell’s “Bear Ceremonialism” and the Emergence of Boasian Anthropology
17. Franz Boas and the Development of Physical Anthropology in North America

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