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It is now commonplace to claim that Boas and Malinowski were founding fathers of anthropology in the US and Britain respectively. Choosing one or the other exam - Essay Example

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Over the past twenty-five or so years of interdisciplinary conversation between anthropology and literary studies, something like a consensus has emerged on one fundamental point: that anthropology, though working within the language and methodologies of social science, also…
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It is now commonplace to claim that Boas and Malinowski were founding fathers of anthropology in the US and Britain respectively. Choosing one or the other exam
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Extract of sample "It is now commonplace to claim that Boas and Malinowski were founding fathers of anthropology in the US and Britain respectively. Choosing one or the other exam"

Download file to see previous pages This recognition has a number of corollaries, including one that invites us to think about ethnographic texts -- and anthropology as a discipline -- in the terms we have traditionally used in periodizing literary history. Many of us now speak of a "Victorian" as opposed to a "modernist" anthropology.
This essay represents an attempt to complicate the basic assumptions of this interdiscipline on a number of grounds, and from a number of different perspectives. First, I would like to trouble the border we often imagine existing between Victorian and modernist anthropology, a gesture which I hope will have its implications for the literary border as well. I am interested in this project not so much because I see periodisations as inherently misguided, but rather the opposite: because I think such distinctions are only as good as the specific historical instances that both support and challenge them. Second, I would like to challenge the largely textual basis of the grounds on which we may be tempted to delineate this border, and suggest that, having established the textual nature of ethnography, we may wish to turn our attention to other social and institutional similarities between ethnographic work and the artistic and literary practices of a given period. I am especially interested here in the changing conditions of intellectual labor in the epochal moment of the turn of the twentieth century.
To address these issues I will take as my subject the early career of Franz Boas, who for various reasons has come to be regarded as the "father" of American anthropology (by which is really meant professional anthropology, a point to which I shall return at some length). Born in 1858 to a free-thinking Jewish family in Minden, Westphalia, and dying in 1942 after a lengthy career as the preeminent anthropologist in the United States, Boas could be said not only to have traversed centuries and continents, but to have charted a path from the German ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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