Anthropological history, from Norbert Elias to the French histoire culturelle and microhistory, conducts a diachronic and developmental study of classic anthropological themes: symbols and ceremonies, body perceptions, folk culture, and the like
Two Lexical Paths and Two Jewish Identities
Cultural anthropology in France continues to bear the influence of a colonial-era distinction between “modern” societies with a high degree of social differentiation (and marked by rapid social change) and ostensibly socially homogeneous and change-resistant “traditional” ones. The history of key institutions (museums and research institutes) bears witness to this, as does recent scholarship centered on “the contemporary” that reworks earlier models and concepts and applies them to a world increasingly marked by transnational circulation and globalization. Anthropology at the Crossroads describes the evolution of a national tradition of scholarship, changes to its institutional status, and the models, concepts, and critical perspectives of anthropologists currently revisiting and reworking the foundations of the discipline in France.
Competing Visions of Museum Collecting in Early Twentieth-Century America
In the great age of museum institutionalization between 1875 and 1925, museums competed to form collections in newly defined object categories. Yet museums were uncertain about what to collect, as the boundaries between art and anthropology and between art and craft were fluid and contested. As a case study, this article traces the tortured fate of a large collection of folk pottery assembled by New York art patron Emily de Forest (1851–1942). After assembling her private collection, Mrs. de Forest encountered difficulties in donating it to the American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. After becoming part of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, it finally found a home at the Pennsylvania State Museum of Anthropology. Emily de Forest represents an initial movement in the estheticization of ethnic and folk crafts, an appropriation that has since led to the establishment of specifically defined museums of folk art and craft.
Sophia Yablonska's Travelogues in the History of Modern Ukrainian Literature
photos ( The Charm of Morocco , 1932; From the Country of Rice and Opium , 1936; and Distant Horizons , 1939) that combine autobiographical and anthropological writing and transgress the poetical and narrative frameworks of Ukrainian literature of that
La formation du structuralisme de Claude Lévi-Strauss
Lévi-Strauss considered that the birth of structuralism was mainly caused by his chance encounter with Roman Jakobson: the experience of war and exile had nothing to do with it. This article contends the opposite. It analyzes, from a sociological perspective, the articles Lévi-Strauss produced in New York in the 1940s. Focusing on political and cultural anthropology through the prism of primitive societies, these texts express in sociological terms Lévi-Strauss's self-representation, his hopes and strategies. He regards war as a moment in a cycle of reciprocal exchanges between groups. He sees power as the product of an ability to serve as an intermediary between groups and group members, and anthropological knowledge as the product of the social distance to groups necessary to compare their cultural models. Levi-Strauss's theories in exile are in affinity with his social position of a broker and intermediary between distant social groups among the French émigrés and between them and the Americans. Between the lines, all these formative texts show the efforts of Lévi-Strauss's consciousness to reverse the negative signs of his condition of exile. They played a role in the birth of structuralism even as they represent Lévi-Strauss's first auto-analysis (before Tristes Tropiques).
Collaboration and Digital Media in (Re)making Boas’s 1897 Book
Aaron Glass, Judith Berman, and Rainer Hatoum
thought and his formulation of a modern concept of “culture” as learned, locally situated, and divorced from biology (see Boas 1911b , 1928 ). The book was also a landmark in anthropology for its use of multiple media technologies, deploying texts
The cross-pollination made possible by bringing critical studies of mobility from different disciplines into conversation with one another is a goal of T2M and Mobility in History generally, and this special section on roadways in history and anthropology specifically. Anthropologists and historians of mobility, roads, and automobility have a great deal to share with one another and with our colleagues in other disciplines. As an anthropologist, a representative of a still relatively new discipline in the pages of Mobility in History, I’ve been invited to open this section with a review of how my discipline has approached the subject of roads.
Displaying the Technologies That Make Bodies Visible
Drawing on a recent exhibition, Assembling Bodies: Art, Science and Imagination, at the University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA), this article argues that curatorial techniques, involving a sustained engagement with objects, can play a vital role in anthropological research. Processes involved in the creation and reception of the exhibition facilitated the investigation of how bodies are composed, known, and acted upon in different times, places, and disciplinary contexts. Assembling Bodies attempted to transcend the dualism of subject and object, people and things, by demonstrating how different technologies for making bodies visible bring new and oft en unexpected forms into focus. Processes of exploration and experimentation continued after the exhibition opened in the discussions and activities that the displays stimulated, and in the reflections and ideas that visitors took away.
Along a mountainous stretch of Peruvian highway, the anthropologists Penny Harvey and Hannah Knox recount a conversation between highway engineers and their hotel caretaker that illustrates a needed shift in direction for the ethnography of roads and other infrastructures of transportation. In Roads: An Anthropology of Infrastructure and Expertise, the two anthropologists convey the hotel caretaker’s concern that inexplicable and uncontrollable forces govern local mountains and sometimes claim the lives of drivers crossing high passes. “Even this house is haunted by ghosts,” she tells the engineers, who are staying with her as they conduct surveys to upgrade the highway. Are they aware of these forces, she wants to know, and do they believe in ghosts? The engineers laugh, and one speaks for the others when he says that no, he doesn’t believe in ghosts, but he does believe in mathematics.
Claude Lévi-Strauss in New York
What were the significance and the impact, for Claude Lévi-Strauss, of his experience as a refugee in New York between May 1941 and December 1944? If one follows Lévi-Strauss's late reconstructions, his exile appears surprisingly as an almost enchanted experience, marked by various encounters (Roman Jakobson, André Breton, Franz Boas), the first contact with North-West Coast Amerindian art, and the discovery of New York, an almost surrealistic city “where anything seemed possible.” Without contesting such an a posteriori reading, this article shows how such a reconstruction has been made possible through a complex reorganization of a traumatizing past. It then appears that the exile, and its remembrance in later texts, played a pivotal role in the development of Lévi-Strauss's anthropological work to come: his experience as a refugee was at the root of his reinvention of symbolism as well as of his reflections on humanity as a whole.