History of Anthropology

The history of anthropology is rooted in philosophical questions concerning the relationship between human beings and the formation of societal arrangements. At the same time, the discipline of anthropology is itself an historical and sociocultural product. In this sense, historicizing the discipline is – or should be – similar to treating anthropology itself anthropologically, as produced historically and within a cultural framework itself. This course surveys these issues as they relate to the development of method and theory within the context of the discipline’s institutional and cultural locations. The broad frame concerns anthropology as itself an anthropological (or historical) problem, especially its concern with the problem of similarity and difference in human populations, its involvements in the management of difference, and the politics of representation, but also the different institutional loci of practice. Within this frame, we will concern ourselves with the particularities of different kinds of explanatory paradigms and their deployments. The class will consider both the formal qualities and rigor of different paradigms -- that is, their anthropological potential, as well as their embeddedness in histories. Focuses on French, British, and American anthropology and how they contributed to the development of the modern discipline. Prerequisites: Anthropology background or permission of instructor.

The history of anthropology is rooted in philosophical questions concerning the relationship between human beings and the formation of society. This course surveys these issues as they relate to the development of method and theory. Focuses on French, British, and American anthropology and how they contributed to the development of the modern discipline. Covers key figures Franz Boas, Emile Durkheim, Marcel Mauss, Bronislaw Malinowski, and Radcliffe-Brown. Issues: cultural relativism, relation between biology and culture, functionalism, and structuralism.

Term

Section

Instructor

Schedule

Location

Spring 2020

1
Fred R Myers
M: 2:00 PM - 4:45 PM 25WV 102