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Writing Anthropologists, Sounding Primitives re-examines the poetry and scholarship of three of the foremost figures in the twentieth-century history of U.S.-American anthropology: Edward Sapir, Margaret Mead, and Ruth Benedict. While they are widely renowned for their contributions to Franz Boas’s early twentieth-century school of cultural relativism, what is far less known is their shared interest in probing the representational potential of different media and forms of writing. This dimension of their work is manifest in Sapir’s critical writing on music and literature and Mead’s groundbreaking work with photography and film. Sapir, Mead, and Benedict together also wrote more than one thousand poems, which in turn negotiate their own media status and rivalry with other forms of representation.

A. Elisabeth Reichel presents the first sustained study of the published and unpublished poetry of Sapir, Mead, and Benedict, charting this largely unexplored body of work and relevant selections of the writers’ scholarship. In addition to its expansion of early twentieth-century literary canons, Writing Anthropologists, Sounding Primitives contributes to current debates about the relations between different media, sign systems, and modes of sense perception in literature and other media. Reichel offers a unique contribution to the history of anthropology by synthesizing and applying insights from the history of writing, sound studies, and intermediality studies to poetry and scholarship produced by noted early twentieth-century U.S.-American cultural anthropologists.

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Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Half-Title Page, Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication, Epigraph
  2. pp. i-viii
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  1. Table of Contents
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. List of Illustrations
  2. pp. xi-xii
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  1. Series Editors' Introduction
  2. Regna Darnell and Robert Oppenheim
  3. pp. xiii-xiv
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xv-xvi
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  1. Editorial Note on Archival Sources
  2. pp. xvii-xx
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  1. Introduction: Poets, Anthropologists, Primitives
  2. pp. 1-26
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  1. 1. Of Mumbling Melody, Soft Singing, and Slow Speech: Constructions of Sonic Otherness in the Poetry of Edward Sapir
  2. pp. 27-80
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  1. 2. On Alternating Sounds: Musical Alterities in Sapir's Poetry and Critical Writings
  2. pp. 81-138
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  1. 3. "For You Have Given Me Speech!": Gifted Literates, Illiterate Primitives, and Margaret Mead
  2. pp. 139-184
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  1. 4. Toward Unnerving the Us: The Poetry and Scholarship of Ruth Benedict
  2. pp. 185-226
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  1. Conclusion: Cultural and Media Evolutionism in Boasian Anthropology and Beyond
  2. pp. 227-236
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  1. Appendix: The Complete Poetry of Edward Sapir, Ruth Benedict, and Margaret Mead
  2. p. 237
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  1. The Poetry of Edward Sapir
  2. pp. 237-276
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  1. The Poetry of Ruth Benedict
  2. pp. 276-287
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  1. The Poetry of Margaret Mead
  2. pp. 287-298
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 299-344
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 345-384
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 385-408
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781496227546
Related ISBN(s)
9781496226082
MARC Record
OCLC
1257702925
Pages
462
Launched on MUSE
2021-06-28
Language
English
Open Access
Yes
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