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Excluded Ancestors, Inventible Traditions

Essays Toward a More Inclusive History of Anthropology

Edited by Richard Handler

Publication Year: 2000

    History-making can be used both to bolster and to contest the legitimacy of established institutions and canons. Excluded Ancestors, Inventible Traditions seeks to widen the anthropological past and, in doing so, to invigorate contemporary anthropological practice. In the past decade, anthropologists have become increasingly aware of the ways in which participation in professional anthropology has depended and continues to depend on categorical boundaries of race, class, gender, citizenship, institutional and disciplinary affiliation, and English-language proficiency. Historians of anthropology play a crucial role interrogating such boundaries; as they do, they make newly available the work of anthropologists who have been ignored.
    Excluded Ancestors, Inventible Traditions  focuses on little-known scholars who contributed to the anthropological work of their time, such as John William Jackson, the members of the Hampton Folk-Lore Society, Charlotte Gower Chapman, and Lucie Varga.  In addition, essays on Marius Barbeau and Sol Tax present figures who were centrally located in the anthropologies of their day. A final essay analyzes notions of "the canon" and considers the place of a classic ethnographic area, highland New Guinea, in anthropological canon-formation.

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press


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pp. vii-viii

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Boundaries and Traditions

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pp. 3-10

This is the first volume of History of Anthropology under the second editor of the series. As such, it may someday be viewed as a document illustrative of that historical process Weber termed the routinization of charisma. Whether HOA’s founding editor, George Stocking, would consider himself a charismatic leader is an open question; but feww ould dispute (though there must be some who would, which is an important caveat, given the theme of the...

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Occult Truths: Race, Conjecture, and Theosophy in Victorian Anthropology

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pp. 11-41

To social scientists, the occult is usually an object of study, and most of them will laugh at, or be offended by, the idea that it actually has contributed, and does contribute, to the construction of social scientific epistemology. Yet anthropology has a far tighter relationship with the occult than most practitioners know. In the twentieth century, the probably fraudulent work of...

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Research, Reform, and Racial Uplift: The Mission of the Hampton Folk-Lore Society, 1893-1899

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pp. 42-80

This folktale, with its distinctive pan-African trickster motif, was recorded by a member of the Hampton Folk-Lore Society (HFS), founded in 1893 by Alice M. Bacon. The educators and graduates of Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute formed the society to record cultural practices of rural blacks to demonstrate that industrial education succeeded in fostering the...

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Working for a Canadian Sense of Place(s): The Role of Landscape Painters in Marius Barbeau's Ethnology

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pp. 81-122

Along with a postmodern focus on space through globalization and diasporas (e.g. Gupta & Ferguson 1997; Lavie & Swedenburg 1996), local notions of place have come to the fore (e.g. Feld & Basso 1996). Like most trends in anthropology, both tendencies have been pursued as if they mark ‘‘the beginning of something that will reach far beyond the matters under immediate...

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Charlotte Gower and the Subterranean History of Anthropology

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pp. 123-170

The following year, at a departmental memorial dinner, I asked distinguished physical anthropologist W.W.Howells about Gower. Howells joined the University of Wisconsin Department of Sociology and Anthropology in 1939 and went to Harvard in the 1950s....

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"Do Good, Young Man": Sol Tax and the World Mission of Liberal Democratic Anthropology

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pp. 171-264

In the early spring of 1954, only weeks after President Eisenhower announced the explosion of the first United States hydrogen bomb and the prior announcement by John Foster Dulles of the policy of ‘‘massive retaliation’’ against the Soviet Union, Sol Tax sent a memo to his Chicago colleague Robert Redfield suggesting that the need might nowb e ‘‘sufficiently clear and urgent to all parties in the world struggle’’ to induce them to cooperate...

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"In the Immediate Vicinity a World Has Come to an End": Lucie Varga as an Ethnographer of National Socialism—A Retrospective Review Essay

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pp. 265-283

Lucie Varga died at the age of 36. She left a few traces in the sands of time: a daughter, personal memories and testimonies, a short list of publications. What she did not leave was a scholarly legacy. And what she did not receive during her lifetime and after her death was academic recognition. Almost half a century passed before someone discovered her writings. In 1991, historian Peter Sch

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Melanesian Can(n)ons: Paradoxes and Prospects in Melanesian Ethnography

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pp. 284-305

Melanesia has long been a privileged site for ethnographic inquiry, and as such, figures highly in the anthropological canon. Malinowski, Mead, and Bateson are just a few of the early prominent figures who did significant research in the region, and helped produce the extraordinarily abstract body of critical theory regarding exchange, gender, and the person for which the...


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pp. 307-315

E-ISBN-13: 9780299163938
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299163907

Publication Year: 2000