Social History of Anthropology in the United States

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In part due to the recent Yanomami controversy, which has rocked anthropology to its very core, there is renewed interest in the discipline's history and intellectual roots, especially amongst anthropologists themselves. The cutting edge of anthropological research today is a product of earlier questions and answers, previous ambitions, preoccupations and adventures, stretching back one hundred years or more. This book is the first comprehensive history of American anthropology. Crucially, Patterson relates the development of anthropology in the United States to wider historical currents in society.

American anthropologists over the years have worked through shifting social and economic conditions, changes in institutional organization, developing class structures, world politics, and conflicts both at home and abroad. How has anthropology been linked to colonial, commercial and territorial expansion in the States? How have the changing forms of race, power, ethnic identity and politics shaped the questions anthropologists ask, both past and present? Anthropology as a discipline has always developed in a close relationship with other social sciences,

but this relationship has rarely been scrutinized. This book details and explains the complex interplay of forces and conditions that have made anthropology in America what it is today. Furthermore, it explores how anthropologists themselves have contributed and propagated powerful images and ideas about the different cultures and societies that make up our world.

This book will be essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the roots and reasons behind American anthropology at the turban of the twenty-first century. Intellectual historians, social scientists, and anyone intrigued by the growth and development of institutional politics and practices should read this book.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Tom Patterson has written a trail-blazing social and institutional history of American anthropology. He has demonstrated not only the impact that American Society has had on anthropology but also the significant impact that anthropology has had on American society. His book is a powerful wake-up call for American anthropologists to stop playing second-fiddle to cultural studies and resume their multifaceted dialogue with the American people." —Bruce Trigger, McGill University

"Patterson has given us a fine and politically informed history of American Anthropology that engages the big issues of American history. Why are some research questions important to US scholars and others are not? How have the nation's ideological and social projects shaped anthropologists' scholarly agendas? And, conversely, how have anthropologists across the political spectrum helped shape intellectual and political debates of national importance? Patterson's thoughtful and concise answers to these questions add an important perspective to the history of anthropology." —Karen Brodkin, UCLA

"From the new republic to the new economy, Tom Patterson provides a detailed and smart history of the social and political contours that have shaped the methods, theory, and anthropologists who have created and recreated the discipline in the United States. The first monograph-length history of anthropology in a generation, Patterson has written the only history of anthropology that looks beyond the academy to document the twists and turbans of the political, ethical, and social issues that have and continue to impact U.S. anthropology. Beautifully written, sprightly argued, and very informative, Patterson has written a critical text that will change the way we think about and interpret the history of anthropology." —
Lee D.Baker, Duke University

"This is an important book. It does much to re-articulate anthropological developments within the political-economic matrix that birthed them. Patterson brings long-ignored political forces to the fore, the end result being a new focus on factors overlooked by other disciplinary histories. This book should be read by all anthropologists interested in examining the links between the production and consumption of knowledge." —Jourbanal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

"This succinct and clearly written narrative will be worthwhile reading for anyone interested in American anthropology and should be a useful tool for anthropologists going to study, research or teach in the United States." —The Australian Jourbanal of Anthropology

Library Journal
Patterson (Univ. of California, Riverside; Change and Development in the 20th Century) here examines the social, political, and economic circumstances contributing to the character and scope of anthropology in the United States. He then uses this history as a springboard for discussing the place of anthropology in the larger world, arguing that anthropologists should strive to explain and perhaps rectify injustices. The chapters covering the years from 1776 to 1945 provide a lively, fast-paced chronology of developments, demonstrating how the appointment of certain key individuals to decision-making committees affected practices and priorities. In later chapters, the emphasis shifts to a more standard discussion of recent theories. Patterson's selection of topics reflects his interest in "macro" issues such as stratification, political hegemony, and economic exploitation. He highlights the projects of materialist and especially Marxist anthropologists but does not mention several equally important trends, including structuralism and the entire post-culture-and-personality literature in cognitive/psychological anthropology. Because of these omissions, this otherwise valuable book should be counterbalanced by readings presenting another view, such as Philip K. Bock's Continuities in Psychological Anthropology (o.p.) or Roy G. D'Andrade's The Development of Cognitive Anthropology (Cambridge Univ., 1995). Recommended for academic and larger public libraries.-Jay H. Bernstein, Fordham Univ. Lib., New York
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781859734940
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 2/28/2003
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 920,818
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas C. Patterson is a Professor and Chair of Anthropology, at the University of California at Riverside.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Anthropology in the New Republic, 1776-1879 7
2 Anthropology in the Liberal Age, 1879-1929 35
3 Anthropology and the Search for Social Order, 1929-1945 71
4 Anthropology in the Postwar Era, 1945-1973 103
5 Anthropology in the Neoliberal Era, 1974-2000 135
Bibliography 165
Index 207
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