University of Western Ontario
Professor, Department of Anthropology
Director, First Nations Studies Program
2007 Histories of Anthropology Annual II (In Press).
Editor (with Lisa Valentine and Allan McDougall). Contemporary First
Nations: Discourse, Identity and Power.
Editor (with Julia Harrison). Essays in the History of Canadian Anthropology. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press (In Press).
Histories of Anthropology Annual promotes diverse perspectives on the discipline's history within a global context. Critical, comparative, analytical, and narrative studies involving all aspects and subfields of anthropology will be included, along with reviews and shorter pieces.
This inaugural volume offers insightful looks at the careers, lives, and influence of anthropologists and others, including Herbert Spencer, Frederick Starr, Mark Hanna Watkins, Leslie White, and Jacob Ezra Thomas. Topics in this volume include anti-imperialism, racism in Guatemala, the study of peasants, the Carnegie Institution, Mayan archaeology and espionage, Cold War anthropology, African studies, and tribal museums.
During the past century the American Anthropological Association has borne witness to profound social, cultural and technical changes, transformations that have affected anthropologists and the people they work with across the planet. In response to such global changes, anthropology continues to evolve into an increasingly complex and sophisticated discipline with a dynamic range of flourishing subfields.
This volume contains the memorable stories of the seventy-seven men and women who have led the American Anthropological Association during the past century. The list of the association's presidents reads like a roster of influential scholars from various specializations within anthropology. Their histories cumulatively reflect the trends in interpretive thought and fieldwork methodology that have emerged through the past ten decades.
For each president the book provides a photograph and a biography replete with personal anecdotes, career highlights, and information about his or her contributions to the development of the discipline of anthropology. Important works by each president are listed separately in the back of the volume. An introduction by Regna Darnell and Frederic E. Gleach summarizes the first century of the American Anthropological Association and contextualizes the individual stories.
From Book Jacket
American Anthropology in the late twentieth century interrogated and depicted the worlds of others, past and present, in subtle and incisive ways while increasingly questioning its own authority to do so. Marxist, symbolic, and structuralist thought shaped the fieldwork and conclusions of many researchers around the globe. Practicing anthropology blossomed and grew rapidly as a subdiscipline in its own right. There emerged a keener appreciation of both the history of the discipline and the histories of those studied. Archaeologists witnessed a resurgence of interest in the concept of culture. The American Anthropologist also made systematic efforts to represent the field as a whole, with biological anthropology and linguistics particularly adept at crossing subdiscipline boundaries. Proliferation of specialized areas within sociocultural anthropology encouraged work across the subdisciplines.
The thirty selections in this volume reflect the notable trends and accomplishments in American anthropology during the closing decades of the millennium. An introduction by Regna Darnell offers a historical background and critical context that enable readers to better understand the changes and continuity in American anthropology during this time.
Invisible Genealogies is a landmark reinterpretation of the history of anthropology in North America. During the past two decades, theorizing by many American anthropologists has called for an “experimental moment” grounded in explicit self-reflexive scholarship and experimentations with alternate forms of presentation. Such postmodern anthropology has effectively downplayed connections with past luminaries in the filed, whose scholarship is perceived to be uncomfortably colonialist and nonreflexive. Ironically, as the American Anthropological Association nears its one hundredth anniversary and interest in the history of the discipline is at an all-time high, that history has been effectively presented as removed from and irrelevant to the new generation.
Invisible Genealogies offers an alternative, compelling vision of the development of anthropology in North America, one that emphasizes continuity rather than discontinuity from the legendary founder Franz Boas to the present. Regna Darnell identifie3s key interpretive assumptions and practices that have persisted, sometimes in modified form, since the groundbreaking work of A. L. Kroeber, Boas, Ruth Benedict, Edward Sapir, Elsie Clews Parsons, Paul Radin, Benjamin Lee Whorf, and A. Irving Hallowell furing the founding decades of anthropology. Also highlighted are the Americanist roots of postmodern anthropology and the work of innovative recent scholars like Claude Levi-Strauss and Clifford Geertz.
from Book Jacket
By focusing on discourse, rooted in people’s own experience, moving toward more direct representation, the Americanist Tradition maintains the integrity of the individual while allowing for alternative ‘world-views’ that are consistent within a given community, although they may appear incommensurate to an outsider. We Americantists have often called our own work descriptive, which it is in no small part – because readers must be trained through the use of extensive examples to see the nuances of the discourse. We have been branded as a-theoretical, because we often have presented discourse as artefact, rather than as a means of discovery. Part of the mandate of this book is to make explicit the theoretical underpinnings of our endeavours, in their multiple dimensions.
from the Introduction
Edward Sapir is remembered primarily as a linguist who conducted fieldwork on a remarkable number of Aboriginal North American languages, and who did much to set linguistics on its modern course. Sapir's linguistic findings were always substantiated by thorough anthropological fieldwork which additionally distinguished him as a cultural anthropologist and ethnographer.
Although he is referred to as a “genius” more often than any other scholar of his period, Edward Sapir has received no full-scale biography since his death in 1939. At long last Regna Darnell does justice to the life and ideas and wide-ranging interests of this remarkable man, the foremost linguist and anthropologist of his generation. Sapir, the most distinguished linguist of Boasian anthropology, contributed substantially to the professionalization of linguistics as an independent discipline. He was the first to apply comparative Indo-European methods to the study of American Indian languages and did field work on more than twenty of them. His theoretical work on the relationship of the individual personality to culture remains a major part of culture theory in anthropology, as does his insistence on the symbolic nature of culture and the importance of culture as understood by its members, in their own words. The first professional anthropologist in Canada, and teacher of a whole generation of North American linguists and anthropologists at Chicago and Yale, Sapir also wrote poetry and literary criticism. He insisted on the humanistic nature of anthropology and was the most articulate spokesman for the interdisciplinary social science of the late 1920s and 1930s.
Regna Darnell, Ph.D., F.R.S.C. Phone: 661-2111 x85087, 86429
Social Science Centre: 3329, 3254, 3255