Franz Boas Papers Documentary Edition
This documentary edition of the professional papers and correspondence of Franz Boas (1858-1942) provides researchers in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and arts with unparalleled access to one of the world’s intellectual luminaries who pioneered empirical research and methodology across disciplines and intellectual terrain encompassed by anthropology, the history of indigenous peoples in the Americas, linguistics, intellectual history, folklore, archaeology, literature, philosophy, psychology, sociology, critical race theory, museum studies, education, Jewish studies, social and civil rights activism, and law and policy studies. In these richly enhanced and annotated, select editions of Boas’ papers, important archival, unpublished, published, and primary sources will be available to academic researchers, indigenous communities involved in cultural repatriation and revitalization, and enthusiasts of human and natural history for the first time, ever. The Franz Boas Papers is akin to an unpublished intellectual history of the era 1880-1942, offering a fascinating entre into the world of this polymath who helped intellectually renovate the sciences, social sciences, and humanities in the United States during his own lifetime.
Franz Boas is important both to the institutional and intellectual groundings of the Americanist tradition in anthropology and his influence is still ongoing to this day. In the seven decades since his death in 1942, the historical milieu for much of Boas’ work has been ignored by contemporary re-readings and mis-readings by scholars across the disciplines. Few of his intellectual progeny span the range of his disciplinary and public engagements. In the latter years of his career, Boas became a public intellectual, an advocate for social justice particularly with reference to racism against Blacks and Jews and discrimination against women in science. He was a passionate defender of academic freedom, rigorous scholarship, and anthropology as a humane calling.
Franz Boas as Public Intellectual—Theory, Ethnography, Activism