Anthropology Theory and History Bibliography

Anthropological Theory

Some Useful Readings on Theory and History:  Basic Sources and Modern Reviews

Not intended to be comprehensive or even representative–just some things I find useful.

“Heard some anthropology talk, yes siree!

We’re all descended from a family tree….”

From “Anthropology” by Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie “Bird” Parker

Abrutyn, Seth.  2009.   “Towards a General Theory of Institutional Autonomy.”  Sociological Theory 27:449-465.

Abrutyn, Seth, and Kirk Lawrence.  2010. "From Chiefdoms to States:  Toward and Integrative Theory of the Evolution of Polities."  (Vol. 53, no. 3) of Sociological Perspectives


Abu-Lughod, Lila.  1985.  Veiled Sentiments: Honor and Poetry in a Bedouin Society. Berkeley:  University of California Press. 

Agar, Michael.  1985.  Speaking of Ethnography.  Newbury Park, CA:  Sage.

Anderson, Benedict.  1991.  Imagined Communities.  2nd edn.  London:  Verso.

Barnett, Homer.  1953.  Innovation:  The Basis of Cultural Change.  New York:  McGraw-Hill.

Beals, Alan.  1967 (2nd edn. 1979).  Culture in Process.  New York:  Holt, Rinehart, Winston.

Bellah, Robert; Richard Madsen; William Sullivan; Ann Swidler.  1996.  Habits of the Heart:  Individualism and Commitment in American Life.  2nd edn.  Berkeley:  University of California Press.

Bellah, Robert; R. Madsen; Wm. Sullivan; Ann Swidler; Steven Tipton.  1991.  The Good Society.  Random House.

Bentley, R. Alexander; Herbert Maschner; Christopher Chippindale (eds.).  2008.  Handbook of Archaeological Theories.  Lanham, MD:  AltaMira. 

Berger, Peter L., and Thomas Luckmann.  1966.  The Social Construction of Reality.  Garden City, NY:  Doubleday.

Boas, Franz.  1904.  “The History of Anthropology.”  Science 20:511, 513-24.  Notes Steinthal.

Boas, Franz.  1917.  “Introductory.”  International Journal of American Linguistics 1:1-8.  This brief start-up editorial for a new journal (still a major one today) stated Boas’ general view of the history of that field till date.  That first issue contained an article by him, in Spanish, on a Native American language of Mexico—one of the first cases of using Spanish as the language of an article in a US professional journal.  That was a time when Spanish was considered practically a barbarous tongue by most American academics.

Boas, Franz.  1924.  The Mind of Primitive Man.  New York:  MacMillan.

—  1928.  Anthropology and Modern Life.  New York:  W. W. Norton.

Boas, Franz.  1940.  Race, Language and Culture.  New York:  MacMillan.   Collected papers; important; shows development of his thought.

Boas, Franz, ed. Ronald P. Rohner.  1969. The Ethnography of Franz Boas:  Letters and Diaries.  Chicago:  University of Chicago Press.

Bourdieu, Pierre.  1977.  Outline of a Theory of Practice.  Tr. Richard Nice.  New York:  Cambridge University Press.

—  1990.  The Logic of Practice.  Tr. Richard Nice.  Stanford:  Stanford University Press.

Bowker, Geoffrey, and Susan Leigh Star.  1999.  Sorting Things Out:  Classification and Its Consequences.  Cambridge, MA:  MIT Press.

Brown, Donald.  1991.  Human Universals.  Philadelphia:  Temple University Press.

Carneiro, Robert L. 1970. “A Theory of the Origin of the State.” Science 169:733-38.

Carrier, James.  1992.  “Occidentalism:  The World Turned Upside-Down.”  American Ethnologist 19:195-212.

Casagrande, Joseph.  1960.  In the Company of Man.  New York:  Harper.

Chamberlin, T. C.  1965 (orig. in Science, 7 Feb. 1890).  “The Method of Multiple Working Hypotheses.”  Science 148:748-759.

Chase-Dunn, Christopher, and Thomas D. Hall.  1997.  Rise and Demise:  Comparing World-systems.  Boulder:  Westview.

Collins, Randall.  1986.  Weberian Sociological Theory.  Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press.

—  1988.  Theoretical Sociology.  New York:  Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

—   1992.  Sociological Insight:  An Introduction to Non-Obvious Sociology.  2nd edn.  Oxford University Press.

—  1994.  Four Sociological Traditions.  New York:  Oxford University Press.  (2nd edn of Three S. T.’s.)  

—  1998.  The Sociology of Philosophies.  Cambridge, MA:  Harvard University Press.

—  2001.  Interaction Ritual Chains.  Princeton:  Princeton Univeristy Press.

Comaroff, Jean.  1985.  Body of Power, Spirit of Resistance:  The Culture and History of a South African People.  Chicago:  University of Chicago Press.

D’Andrade, Roy.  1995.  The Development of Cognitive Anthropology.  New York:  Cambridge University Press.

De Munck, Victor C., and Elisa J. Sobo (eds.).  1998.  Using Methods in the Field:  A Practical Introduction and Casebook.  AltaMira.

Denzin, Norman, and Yvonna Lincoln (eds.).  2005.  The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research.  Sage.

Dilthey, Wilhelm.  1989.  Introduction to the Human Sciences.  Ed./tr. Rudolf A. Makkreel and Frithjof Rodi. (German original ca 1880.)  Princeton:  Princeton University Press. 

Douglas, Mary.  1966.  Purity and Danger:  An Analysis of Concepts of Purity and Taboo.  London:  Routledge, Kegan Paul.

—  1970.  Natural Symbols:  Explorations in Cosmology.  New York:  Pantheon.

Durkheim, Emile.  1933.  The Division of Labor in Society.  NewYork:  Free Press.

—  1973. Moral Education.  New York:  Free Press.

1982.  The Rules of Sociological Method.  S. Lukes, ed.  New York:  Macmillan.

Durkheim, Emile.  1995 [1912].  The Elementary Forms of Religious Life.  Tr. Karen E. Fields.  New York:  Free Press.

—  1951.  Suicide.  Tr. John A. Spaulding and George Simpson.  (French original, 1897.)  Glencoe, IL:  Free Press.

—  1993.  Ethics and the Sociology of Morals.  Tr. Robert T. Hall. 

— and Marcel Mauss.  1963 (Fr. orig. 1903).  Primitive Classification.  London: Cohen and West.

Eliade, Mircea.  1964.  Shamanism:  Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy.  New York:  Pantheon.

Ellingson, Ter.   2001.  The Myth of the Noble Savage.  Berkeley:  University of California Press.

Engels, Frederick.  1942 [1892].  The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, in the Light of the Researches of Lewis H. Morgan.  New York:  International Publishers.

— 1966.  Anti-Duhring: Herr Eugen Duhring’s Revolution in Science.  New York: International Publishers.  (New printing. Orig. US edn. 1939.  Orig. English edn. 1894.)

Foster, George.  1961.  “Interpersonal Relations in Peasant Society.”  Human Organization 19:174-178. 

—  1965.  “Peasant Society and the Image of Limited Good.”  American Anthropologist 67:293-315.

Foucault, Michel.  1970.  The Order of Things:  An Archaeology of the Human Sciences.  (Fr. orig., Les mots et les choses, 1966.)  New York:  Pantheon Books (Random House). 

Foucault, Michel.  1991.  “Governmentality.”  In The Foucault Effect:  Studies in Governmentality, ed. Graham Burchell, Colin Gordon, Peter Miller.  London:  Harvest/Wheatsheaf.  Pp. 87-104. 

—  2007.  Security, Territory, Population.  New York:  Palgrave MacMillan.

Foucault, M.  2008.  The Birth of Biopolitics. A Davidson (ed), G. Burchell (trans). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Geertz, Clifford.  1973.  The Interpretation of Cultures.  New York: Basic Books.

Gezelius, Stig S.  2007.  “Three Paths from Law Enforcement to Compliance:  Cases from the Fisheries.”  Human Organization 66:414-425. 

Giddens, Anthony.  1984.  The Constitution of Society.  Berkeley:  University of California Press.

Gladwin, Christina.  1989.  Ethnographic Decision Tree Modeling.  Newbury Park, CA:  Sage.

Goffman, Erving.  1959.  The Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life.  Garden City, NY:  Doubleday.

—  1961.  Asylums:  Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates.  Garden City, NY:  Doubleday.

—  1967.  Interaction Ritual.  Garden City, NY:  Doubleday.

—  1963.  Stigma:  Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity.  Englewood Cliffs, NJ:  Prentice-Hall.

Henshaw, John M.  2006.  Does Measurement Measure Up?  How Numbers Reveal and Conceal the Truth.  Johns Hopkins.

Herder, Johann Gottfried.  2002.  Philosophical Writings.  Transl. and ed. by Michael N. Forster.  Cambrdige:  Cambridge University Press.

Homans, George.  1974.  Social Behavior: Its Elementary Forms.  New York:  Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich.

Howell, Signe, and Roy Willis.  1989.  Societies at Peace:  Anthropological Perspectives.  London:  Routledge.  See Robarchek below.  Other papers cover Chewong, Buid, Bali, Zapotec, Ufipa, etc.

Huizinga, Johan.  1950.  Homo Ludens:  A Study of the Play Element in Culture.  London:  Roy.

Hume, David.  1969 (1739-1740).  A Treatise of Human Nature.  New York:  Penguin.

Hutchins, Edwin.   1996.  Cognition in the Wild.  Cambridge, MA:  MIT Press.

Ingold, Tim.  2000.  The Perception of the Environment:  Essays in Livelihood, Dwelling and Skill.  London:  Routledge.

Jacobs, Brian, and Patrick Kain (eds.).  2003.  Essays on Kant’s Anthropology.  Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press. 

Kant, Immanuel.  1978.  Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View.  Tr. Victor Lyle Dowdell (Ger. Orig. 1798).  Carbondale:  Southern Illinois University Press. 

Keita, S. O. Y., and Rick A. Kittles.  1997. “The Persistence of Racial Thinking and the Myth of Racial Divergence.”  American Anthropologist 99:534-544.  This is the one we’ve been waiting for!  Cite for sts!

Kearney, Michael.  1984.  Worldview.  Novato, CA:  Chandler and Sharp.

Kearney, Michael.  1996.  Reconceptualizing the Peasantry:  Anthropology in Global Perspective.  Boulder, CO:  Westview.

Kipnis, Andrew.  2007.  “Neoliberalism Reified:  Suzhi Discourse and Tropes of Neoliberalism in the People’s Republic of China.”  Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 13:383-400.

Kockelman, Paul.  2007.  “Agency:  The Relation between Meaning, Power, and Knowledge.”  Current Anthropology 48:375-401.

Krader, Lawrence.  1980.  “Anthropological Traditions:  Their Relationship as a Dialectic.”  In Anthropology:  Ancestors and Heirs, Stanley Diamond, ed.  Hague:  Mouton.  Pp. 19-34.

Kroeber, A. L.  1944.  Configurations of Culture Growth.  Berkeley:  University of California Press.

— 1948.  Anthropology.  New York:  Harcourt, Brace.

— 1953.  Cultural and Natural Areas of Native North America.  Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

Kroeber, A. L., and Clyde Kluckhohn.  1952.  Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions.  Cambridge, MA: Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University. Papers, XLVII:1.

Kronenfeld, David.  1996.  Plastic Glasses and Church Fathers.  New York:  Oxford University Press.

—  2008.  Culture, Society, and Cognition:  Collective Goals, Values, Action, and Knowledge.  Berlin:  Mouiton de Gruyter.

Kropotkin, Petr.  1904.  Mutual Aid, a Factor in Evolution.  London:  W. Heinemann.

Kuklick, Henrika.  1991.  The Savage Within:  The Social History of British Anthropology, 1885-1945.  CUP.

Kuper, Adam.  1999.  Culture:  The Anthropologists’ Account.  Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 

—  1995.  Anthropology and Anthropologists:  The Modern British School.  Routledge.

—  1988  The Invention of Primitive Society:  Transformations of an Illusion.  Routledge.

—  2005.  The Reinvention of Primitive Society:  Transformation of a Myth.  Routledge.

Lanternari, Vittorio.  1963.  The Religions of the Oppressed.  New York:  Alfred A. Knopf.

Latour, Bruno.  2005.  Reassembling the Social:  An Introduction to Adctor-Network-Theory.  Oxford:  Oxford University Press.

Lerro, Bruce.  2000.  From Earth Spirits to Sky Gods:  The Socioecological origins of Monotheism, Individualism, and Hyperabstract Reasoning from the Stone Age to the Axial Iron Age.  Lanham, MD:  Lexington Books.

—  2005.  Power in Eden:  The Emergence of Gender Hierarchies in the Ancient World.  Trafford Publishing.

Lévi-Strauss, Claude.  1964.  Totemism.  Tr. Rodney Needham (Fr. orig. 1962, Presses Universitaires de France).  London:  Merlin Press.

Lévi-Strauss, Claude. 1962.  La pensée sauvage.  Paris:  Plon.

—  1963 (Fr. orig. 1958).  Structural Anthropology.  Tr. Claire Jacobson and Brooke Grundfest Schoepf. New York: Basic Books.

Lévi-Strauss, Claude.  1963.  “The Sorcerer and His Magic.”  Chap. 9 in Structural Anthropology.  Tr. Claire Jacobson and Brooke Grundfest Schoepf.  New York:  Basic Books.  Pp. 167-185.

— 1964-1971.  Mythologiques.  Paris: Plon.

—  1963.  Totemism.  Trans. Rodney Needham.  Boston:  Beacon.

L-S died Oct. 31, 2009, at the age of 100.

Locke, John.  1979 [1697]. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.  Oxford:  Oxford University Press.

Locke, John.  1924 (orig. 1690).  Two Treatises on Government.  New York: Dutton.

Lowie, Robert H.   1937.  A History of Ethnological Theory.  New York:  Farrar and Rinehart.

—  1920.  Primitive Society.  New York:  Boni and Liveright.

—  1948.  Primitive Religion.  New York:  Liveright.

—  1959.  Ethnologist:  A Personal Record.  Berkeley:  University of California Press.

Lucretius.  1928.  De Rerum Natura.  Tr. W. H. D. Rouse.  Latin orig. ca 55 BC.  London:  William Heinemann; New York:  G. P. Putnam’s Sons. 

Malinowski, Bronislaw.  1944.  A Scientific Theory of Culture.  Oxford:  Oxford University Press.

—  1948.  Magic, Science and Religion.  Glencoe, IL:  Free Press.

Marx, Karl.  l973.  Grundrisse.  Baltimore: Penguin.

Maryanski, Alexandra, and Jonathan Turner.  1992.  The Social Cage.  Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Maslow, A.  l970.  Motivation and Personality.  2nd edn.  NY: Harper and Row.

Mauss, Marcel.  1990.  The Gift.  Tr. W. D. Halls. (Fr. orig. 1925.)  London:  Routledge.

Mauss, Marcel.  1979.  “Body Techniques.”  In Sociology and Psychology:  Essays.  Tr. Ben Brewster.  London:  Routledge and Kegan Paul.

McCracken, Grant.  1988.  The Long Interview.  Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

McLean, Athena, and Annette Leibling (eds.).  2008.  The Shadow Side of Fieldwork. 

When fieldwork gets really upclose and personal.  Csordas, Crapanzano, etc.  Lots med.

Mead, George Herbert.  1964.  George Herbert Mead on Social Psychology.  Ed. Anselm Strauss.  Chicago:  University of Chicago Press.

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice.  1962.  The Phenomenology of Perception.  London: Routledge, Kegan Paul.

— l963.  The Structure of Behavior.   Boston: Beacon Press.

— l964.  “From Mauss to Claude Levi-Strauss.”  In: Signs.  Evanston, Ill:Northwestern University Press.  Pp. ll4-l25.

— 1968.  The Visible and the Invisible.  Chicago, IL: Northwestern University Press.

Mills, C. Wright.  1959.  The Sociological Imagination.  New York:  Grove Press.

Montesquieu, Charles, Baron.  1949 (Fr. orig. 1748).  The Spirit of the Laws.  New York: Hafner.

Morgan, David.  1996.  Focus Groups as Qualitative Research.  Sage.

Morgan, Lewis Henry.  1871.  Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family.  Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution.  Contributions to Knowledge 17:2.

— 1954 (orig. 1851).  League of the Ho-De-No-Sau-Nee or Iroquois.  New Haven: Human Relations Area Files.

— 1877.  Ancient Society.  New York: Henry Holt.

— 1882.  Houses and House-Life of the American Aborigines.  Washington, DC: Govbernment Printing Office.

Netting, Robert McC.  1993.  Smallholders, Householders:  Farm Families and the Ecology of Intensive, Sustainable Agriculture.  Stanford:  Stanford University Press.

Netting, Robert McC.; Richard R. Wilk; Eric J. Arnould (eds.).  1984.  Households:  Comparative and Historical Studies of the Domestic Group.  UC.

Orans, Martin.  1975.  “Domesticating the Functional Dragon: An Analysis of Piddocke’s Potlatch.”  American Anthropologist 77:312-328.

Patterson, Thomas.  2001.  A Social History of Anthropology in the United States.  Oxford and New York:  Berg. 

Pearsall, Deborah (ed.).  2007.  Encyclopedia of Archaeology.  ScienceDirect.

Powell, J. W.  1901.  “Sophiology, or the Science of Activities Designed to Give Instruction.”  American Anthropologist 3:51-79.  Kanosh on a volcanic butte in Utah:

“He attributed its origin to Shinauav—the Wolf god of the Shoshoneans.  When I remonstrated with him that a wolf could not perform such a feat, ‘Ah,’ he said, ‘in ancient times the Wolf was a great chief.’  And to prove it he told me of other feats which Shinauav had performed, and of the feats of Tavoats, the Rabbit god, and of Kwiats, the Bear god, and of Togoav, the Rattlesnake god.  How like Aristotle he reasoned!”  p. 62. 

Radcliffe-Brown, A. R.  1957.  A Natural Science of Society.  New York:  Free Press.

Radin, Paul.  1927.  Primitive Man as Philosopher.  New York:  Appleton.

—  1957.  Primitive Religion.  New York:  Dover.  (Orig 1937; this has a new preface.)

—  1987.  The Method and Theory of Ethnology:  An Essay in Criticism.  Ed. Arthur J. Vidich.  South Hadley, MA:  Bergin and Garvey.

Riesman, David, with Nathan Glazer.  1953.  The Lonely Crowd:  A Study of the Changing American Character.  New Haven:  Yale University Press.

Robarchek, Clayton A.  1989a.  “Hobbesian and Rousseauan Images of Man:  Autonomy and Individualism in a Peaceful Society.”  In Societies at Peace, Signe Howell and Roy Willis, eds.  New York:  Routledge.  Pp. 31-44.

Robarchek, Clayton.  1989.  “Primitive Warfare and the Ratomorphic Image of Mankind.”  American Anthropologist 91:903-920.

— and Carole Robarchek.  1998.  Waorani:  The Contexts of Violence and War.  New York:  Harcourt Brace.

Romney, A. K.; Susan Weller; William Batchelder. 1986. “Culture as Consensus: A Theory of Culture and Informant Accuracy.”  American Anthropologist 88:313-338.

Rosaldo, Renato.  n.d. “Grief and a Headhunter’s Rage: On the Cultural Force of the Emotions.”  Southwestern Anthropological Assn., Newsletter, 22:4/23:l, pp. 3-8.

Rosaldo, Renato.  1989.  Culture and Truth:  The Remaking of Social Analysis.  Boston:  Beacon Press.

Ross, Norbert.  2004.  Culture and Cognition:  Implications for Theory and Method.  Thousand Oaks, CA:  Sage.

Rubin, Herbert, and Irene Rubin.  2005.  Qualitative Interviewing:  The Art of Hearing Data.  2nd edn.  Sage.

Sahlins, Marshall.  l972.  Stone Age Economics.  Chicago: Aldine.

— l976.  Culture and Practical Reason.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Sahlins, Marshall, and Elman Service.  1960.  Evolution and Culture.  Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.

Scott, James.  l976.  The Moral Economy of the Peasant.  New Haven: Yale University Press.   

—  l985.  Weapons of the Weak.  New Haven: Yale University Press.

Scott, James C.  1990.  Domination and the Arts of Resistance:  Hidden Transcripts.  New Haven:  Yale University Press.

—  1998.  Seeing Like a State.  New Haven:  Yale University Press.

—  2009.  The Art of Not Being Governed:  An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia.  New Haven:  Yale University Press.

Shore, Bradd.  1996.  Culture in Mind:  Cognition, Culture, and the Problem of Meaning.  New York:  Oxford University Press.

Spradley, James.  1979.  The Ethnographic Interview.  New York:  Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Strauss, Claudia, and Naomi Quinn.  1997.  A Cognitive Theory of Cultural Meaning.  Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press.

Turner, Jonathan H.  2000.  On the Origins of Human Emotions:  A Sociological Inquiry into the Evolution of Human Affect.  Stanford.

—  2010-2011.  Theoretical Principles of Sociology.  3 v. 

Turner, Jonathan, and Alexandra Maryanski.  1979.  Functionalism.  Menlo Park, CA: Benjamin/Cummings.

Turner, Victor. l967.  The Forest of Symbols. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. 

Tyler, Stephen (ed.).  l968.  Cognitive Anthropology.  New York:  Holt, Rinehart and  Winston.

Tylor, Edward.  1871.  Primitive Culture, Researches into the Development of Mythology, Philosophy, Religion, Language, Art and Custom.  London: John Murray.

Van Gennep, Arnold.  1960.  The Rites of Passage.  Chicago:  University of Chicago Press.

Vayda, Andrew P.  2009.  “Causal Explanation as a Research Goal:  Do’s and Don’t’s.”  In Explaining Human Actions and Environmental Changes.  Lanham, MD:  AltaMira (division of Rowman & Littlefield).  Pp. 1-48.

P. 24 (fn):  “Extreme current examples of claims of the latter kind [reifying abstractions] are the many claims involving ‘globalization,’ which…has transmogrified from being a label for certain modern-world changes that call for explanation to being freely invoked as the process to which the changes are attributed.”

Vayda, Andrew P.  2009.  Explaining Human Actions and Environmental ChangesLanham, MD:  AltaMira (division of Rowman & Littlefield).

Veblen, Thorstein.  1912.  The Theory of the Leisure Class:  An Economic Study of Institutions.  New York:  MacMillan.

Vico, Giambattista.  2000.  New Science.  Tr. David Marsh.  New York:  Penguin.

Voget, Fred.  1975.  A History of Ethnology.  New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Wallace, A. F. C.  1970.  Culture and Personality.  New York: Random House.

Wallerstein, Immanuel. 1976.  The Modern World-System:  Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century.  New York:  Academic Press.

Warner, Lloyd.  1953.  American Life:  Dream and Reality.  Chicago:  University of Chicago Press.

Weber, Max.  1967.  Max Weber on Law in Economy and Society, Edited by M. Rheinstein. Translated by E. Shils and M. Rheinstein. New York: Simon and Schuster.

—. 1968. Max Weber on Charisma and Institution Building, Edited by S. N. Eisenstadt. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

—. 1978. Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology, vol. 1-2, Edited by G. Roth and C. Wittich. Berkeley: University of California Press.

—. [1915] 1951. The Religion of China: The Sociology of Confucianism and Taoism. Translated by H. Gerth. New York: Free Press.

—. [1916-17] 1958. The Religion of India: The Sociology of Hinduism and Buddhism. Translated by H. Gerth and D. Martindale. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal.

—. [1917-19] 1952. Ancient Judaism. Translated by H. Gerth and D. Martindale. New York: Free Press.

—  2002.  The Protestant Ethic and the “Spirit” of Capitalism.  Tr. Peter Baehr/Gordon Wills.  New York:  Penguin.  Tr of the 1907 edition, not the 1920 one tr by Parsons.  Some notable diffs, mostly in notes.  This edn also includes a mess of debate swirling around it all.

—  1998.  The Agrarian Sociology of Ancient Civilizations.  Tr. R. I. Frank.  London:  Verso.  (Orig.1924 from 1909 and 1896 origs.)

—  1958.  The City.  Tr. Don Martindale and Gertrud Neuwirth.    NY:  Free Press.

—  1963.  The Sociology of Religion.  Tr. Talcott Parsons.  German original 1922.  Boston:  Beacon.

—  1946.  From Max Weber:  Essays in Sociology.  Ed. and tr. Hans Gerth and C. Wright Mills.  New York:  Oxford University Press.

White, Leslie A.  1949.  The Science of Culture.  New York: Grove Press.

—  1959.  The Evolution of Culture.  New York:  McGraw-Hill.

Whiteford, Linda M., and Robert T. Trotter II.  2008.  Ethics for Anthropological Research and Practice.  Long Grove, IL:  Waveland Press.

Wolf, Eric.  1982 (new preface in 1997 ed).  Europe and the “People Without History.”  Berkeley:  University of California Press.

Wylie, Alison.  2002.  Thinking from Things:  Essays in the Philosophy of Archaeology.  Berkeley:  University of California Press.  Essays; 514 pp. 

Wylie, Alison.  2004.  “Why Standpoint Matters.”  In The Feminist Standpoint Theory Reader:  Intellectual and Political Controversies, ed Sandra Harding.  London:  Routledge.  Pp. 339-352.

Yoffee, Norman.  2005.  Myths of the Archaic State: Evolution of the Earliest Cities, States, and Civilizations.  Cambridge University Press.


Histories of Anthropology:

Some useful references, including, for comparison, a selection of histories of other relevant fields.

Most useful ones starred.  Thanks to Julie Brugger, Tom Patterson, Lynn Thomas, among others, for some of these references.

Adams, William Y.  1998.  The Philosophical Roots of Anthropology.  Stanford University, Center for the Study of Language and Information.  More “workmanlike” than brilliant or comprehensive.

American Anthropologist.  2002.  Vol. 104, no. 2: Special Centennial Issue.  Many important historical articles.

Baker, Lee D.  1998.  From Savage to Negro:  Anthropology and the Construction of Race, 1896-1954.  Berkeley:  University of California Press.  Excellent, important book.

Barnard, Alan.  2000.  History and Theory in Anthropology.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Barth, Frederik, Andre Gingrich, Robert Parkin, Sydel Silverman.  2005.  One Discipline, Four Ways: British, German, French, and American Anthropology. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.

Bartra, Roger.  1994.  Wild Men in the Looking Glass.

—  1997.  The Artificial Savage.  Ann Arbor:  University of Michigan Press.

This and the previous are a two-volume study of ideas of “savages” in pre-anthropological days.  Excellent; absolutely not to be missed if you are serious about anthro history.

Bennett, John.  1999.  “Classic Anthropology.”  American Anthropologist 100:951-956.  Observations by a rather neglected but very innovative and important thinker.

Bieder, Robert E.  1986.  Science Encounters the Indian, 1820-1880.  Norman: Univ. of Oklahoma Press.  So-so; mostly superseded by Trautman etc.

Boon, James A.  1982.  Other Tribes, Other Scribes.  Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press.  Skeptical history; very learned and often quite funny. 

Bottomore, Tom (ed.).  1991.  A Dictionary of Marxist Thought.  2nd edn.  Oxford: Blackwell.  Standard, excellent, basic reference.  He’s done other good reference stuff too.

Bowen, John R.  1995.  “The Forms Culture Takes:  A State-of-the-Field Essay on the Anthropology of Southeast Asia.”  Journal of Asian Studies 54:1047-1078.  A regional survey, but, more, this article contains several notably incisive comments on anthropological theory.

Brown, Andrew.  2003.  In the Beginning Was the Worm:  Finding the Secrets of Life in a Tiny Hermaphrodite.  New York:  Columbia University Press.  In the mid-1960s, one Sydney Brenner decided he wanted to truly understand a single multi-celled organism, and picked the worm Coenorhabditis elegans as about the simplest one he could find.  Half a century later we’re still working on it….  This book gives the history of a field that exploded from incredible obscurity to scientific dominance.  No great relevance to anthro, but I couldn’t resist putting it in.

Carneiro, Robert L.  2003.  Evolutionism in Cultural Anthropology:  A Critical History.  Boulder: Westview.  Very good short history, by a proponent.

Cole, Fay-Cooper.  1959.  Reminiscence of his serving as the expert on anthropology for Clarence Darrow in the Scopes trial.  Scientific American, Jan. 1959.  (Reference seen in Sci Am, Jan. 2009, p. 12; haven’t looked up the original.)

Cole, Sally.  2003.  Ruth Landes:  A Life in Anthropology.  Lincoln:  University of Nebraska Press.  Landes was another of Boas’ female students, doing brilliant ethnography but ignored because of gender and other depressing biases in the world.  Landes’ early writings on Ojibwa women were among the first ethnographies specifically dealing with women.

Daniel, Glyn.  1950.  A Hundred Years of Archaeology.  London: Duckworth.  There are later, updated editions that have expanded to “A Hundred and Fifty Years of Anthropology.”

—  1967  The Origins and Growth of Archaeology.

— and A. C. Renfrew.  1988.  The Idea of Prehistory.  New York: Columbia UP.

Darnell, Regna.  1974.  Readings in the History of Anthropology.  New York:  Harper & Row.  Various pre-anthropological selections and some historical notes from early in the field.

—  1990.  Edward Sapir: Linguist, Anthropologist, Humanist.  Berkeley: University of California Press.  Good on life details; not much on his theories or linguistic practice.                          

—  1998a.  And Along Came Boas:  Continuity and Revolution in Americanist Anthropology.  Amsterdam:  John Benjamins. 

—  1998b.  “Camelot at Yale:  The Construction and Dismantling of the Sapirian Synthesis, 1931-39.”  American Anthropologist 100:361-372.

Deacon, Desley.  1997.  Elsie Clews Parsons:  Inventing Modern Life.  Chicago:  University of Chicago Press.  Parsons was a true original, and this book is not to be missed.

De Laguna, Frederika (ed.).  1960.  Selected Papers from the American Anthropologist, 1888-1920.  Evanston, IL: Row, Peterson.  Nice selection and useful to have, but you might just as well root around in old volumes of AA.

Dudley, Edward, and Maximillian E. Novak (eds.).  1972.  The Wild Man Within.  Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.  Perhaps most useful to anthropologists is the essay by Hayden White, “The Forms of Wildness: Archaeology of an Idea,” pp. 3-38.  There is much else of value in this book.

Erickson, Paul, and Liam Murphy. 2003.  A History of Anthropological Theory; with companion volume, 2006, Readings for a History of Anthropological Theory. Ontario:  Broadview Press. 

A Canadian view.  Erickson studies fishing in eastern Canada.  He has also done books on teaching anthropology and on biographies of anthropologists.

Evans, Andrew D.  2007.  Rudolf Virchow and the Unity of Humankind:  The Liberal Paradigm in German-Speaking Physical Anthropology.”  Paper, American Anthropological Association, annual meeting, Washington, DC. 

Virchow was the first great German anthropologist to argue strongly against racist views.  He was also a fighting liberal politically, serving in the German parliament for 13 years.  He led a long tradition ancestral to modern physical anthro, which tradition was, of course, eclipsed under Nazism.

Evans-Pritchard, E. E.  1981.  A History of Anthropological Thought.  Though left tragically unfinished when Evans-Pritchard died, this is a great book–don’t miss.  

Evans-Pritchard, E. E.  1965,  Theories of Primitive Religon.  Oxford:  Oxford University Press.

His no-nonsense demolition job on the field; read with care—he isn’t always fair to his victims!

Fournier, Marcel.  2005.  Marcel Mauss.  Tr. Jane Marie Todd.  Fr. orig. 1994.  Princeton:  Princeton University Press.

Freedberg, David.  2003.  The Eye of the Lynx:  Galileo, His Friends, and the Beginnings of Modern Natural History.  Chicago:  University of Chicago Press.

Frierson, Patrick R.  2003.  Freedom and Anthropology in Kant’s Moral Philosophy.  Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press.

Giddens, Anthony.  1971.  Capitalism and Modern Social Theory: An Analysis of Marx, Durkheim and Max Weber. Cambridge University Press.  Possibly the very best intro to these three.  Not as good on them as some more specialized guys are (Elster is better on Marx, Collins on Weber), but nobody puts it all together like Giddens.

Gleick, James.  2003.  Isaac Newton.  New York:  Pantheon.  Among other things, reminds us that Newton seriously researched alchemy and astrology, and was intensely religious.  “Science” in the no-“pseudoscience,” no-“religion” sense was far in the future!

Goldschmidt, Walter.  2001.  “A Perspective on Anthropology.”  American Anthropologist 102:789-807.  Personal views of the field by a veteran scholar.  Wally Goldschmidt was famous for his sometimes rather acid tongue, so expect some fun here if you enjoy fireworks.

Gould, Stephen Jay.  1996.  The Mismeasure of Man.  2nd edn.  Basic history and disproof of racism (with all the arguments you need when you teach Anthro 1 or whatever).

Harris, Marvin.  1968.  The Rise of Anthropological Theory.  New York: Crowell.  Good source for anthro up to about 1890.  For 20th century anthro, this book is completely unreliable as well as extremely biased, and is to be carefully avoided; even basic facts are wrong.                    

Harrison, Ian, and Faye Harrison.  1999.  African-American Pioneers in Anthropology.  Urbana:  University of Illinois Press.

Hiatt, L. R.  1997.  Arguments about Aborigines:  Australia and the Evolution of Social Anthropology.  Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press.

Hinsley, Curtis M., Jr.  1981.  Savages and Scientists:  The Smithsonian Institution and the Development of American Anthropology, 1846-1910.  Good basic reference on the facts; not so adequate on the theories and thoughts.

Hollis, Martin.  2002.  “Philosophy of Social Science.”  In The Blackwell Companion to Philosophy, ed. Nicholas Bunnin and Eric Lsui-James [sic].  Malden, MA:  Blackwell.

Howard, M. C., and J. E. King.  1985.  The Political Economy of Marx. London: Longman.  2nd edn.  Nice basic intro.

Hyatt, Marshall.  1990.  Franz Boas, Social Activist:  The Dynamics of Ethnicity.  New York:  Greenwood. 

Hymes, Dell (ed.).  1974.  Studies in the History of Linguistics.  Bloomington: University of Indiana Press.

Jacobs, Brian, and Patrick Kain.  2003.  Essays on Kant’s Anthropology.  Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press.  Useful if you are truly into Kant; otherwise too specialized for much value, though interesting and well done.

James, Wendy, and N. J. Allen (eds.).  1998.  Marcel Mauss:  A Centenary Tribute.  Berghahn Books.  Disappointing, but at least it’s something.  The man who gave us The Gift, the concept of “habitus” (yet another thing from Kant’s Anthropology book—but Mauss developed it) and embodiment of culture, and many other basic ideas has received amazingly little attention in the English-language literature.  He deserves better.

Kant, Immanuel.  1978.  Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View.  Tr. Victor Lyle Dowdell (Ger. Orig. 1798).  Carbondale:  Southern Illinois University Press. 

This is not a history but the start of a history—the book that launched anthropology as a serious name and a serious field.  The word was coined in the late 16th century and used off and on, but this was the first significant book devoted to it, and created it as a scholarly field.  Kant had discussed anthropology already in Critique of Pure Reason (see the Penguin edition, 2007, translated by Max Müller and Marcus Weigelt, esp. pp. 473-4).  One Alexandre-César Chavannes came out in 1788 with a book Anthropologie ou science générale de l’homme, but it is forgotten by all but trivia buffs.)

Kearney, Michael.  1996.  Reconceptualizing the Peasantry.  Boulder: Westview.  Excellent and important history of the concept of the “peasant” in anthropology and of “peasant” studies and related matters in the discipline.

Kelso, Alec (ed.).  2008.  The Tao of Anthropology.  Gainesville: University of Florida Press.

Essays on their careers by senior anthropologists.

Koerner, E. F. K., and R. E. Asher (eds.).  1995.  Concise  History of the Language Sciences from the Sumerians to the Cognitivists.  Kidlington, Oxford, England: Elsevier Science (Pergamon imprint).  Taken, and updated, from of the Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics (same editors and publishers, 1994).  This book consists of short articles on everything from the Korean alphabet to Panini’s Sanskrit grammar, as well as everything since.  Superb reference, but not a book to sit down and read.

Kroeber, A. L., and Clyde Kluckhohn.  1952.  Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions.  Cambridge, MA: Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University.  Variously reprinted in more available places.  Basic; indispensable reference.  Now way out of date, but vitally important for history of anthro.

Kuhn, Thomas.  1962.  The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.  Chicago:  University of Chicago Press.  This book argued that science changes through paradigm shifts; a minority view or a new view slowly gains evidence till there is a huge sudden change and it is adopted.  Few, if any, changes seem to fit Kuhn’s story, especially in the social sciences, though Darwinian evolution comes close.  Standard examples of revolutions (Copernicus and Galileo on cosmology, the fall of phlogiston and alchemy, etc.) turn out to be more complex than Kuhn suggests.  Still, this is a very important book, read by almost everyone even slightly interested in the history of science.

Kuklick, Henrika.  1991.  The Savage Within: The Social History of British Anthropology.  Cambridge: Cambridge UP.  Basic.  As history of science, rather than chronicle of anthro thought, this is probably the best of this list.

Kuper, Adam.  1983.  Anthropology and Anthropologists:  The Modern British School.  2nd edn.  London: Routledge.  Covers 20th century British social anthro in a wonderfully witty, thorough and insightful way.  Best book on the subject.

— 1988.  The Invention of Primitive Society.  London:  Routledge.  19th-century British anthropology.  This and Kuklick are the best books on the period.                                    

—  2006.  The Reinvention of Primitive Society.  New edn of above, w brief added chapt on romantic savages and indigenous rights today.

—  1994.  The Chosen Primate.  Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.  On misuses of Darwinism, and other foibles.

Kuznar, Lawrence.  1997.  Reclaiming a Scientific Anthropology.  Walnut Creek:  AltaMira.  Not a history, but plenty on the rise of science in anthropology.

Laird, Carobeth.  1975.  Encounter with an Angry God: Recollections of My Life with John Peabody Harrington.  Banning, CA: Malki Museum Press.  This book is the runaway success from this list; it was promptly reprinted in mass editions and is still available.  It has reached something close to classic status as a literary work.

Langness, L. L.  1987.  The Study of Culture.  Rev. edn.  Novato, CA: Chandler and Sharp.  Fair, but now superseded by others on this list.

Leeds-Hurwitz, Wendy.  Rolling in Ditches with Shamans:  Jaime de Angulo and the Professionalization of American Anthropology.  Lincoln:  Univ. of Nebraska Press.

De Angulo tested the limits—he was a brilliant anthropologist and also has a strong case for being the original hippie (I’m serious!); he pioneered Big Sur and developed the counterculture scene there.  This is a sympathetic, thorough look at the man.

Lewis, Herbert S.  1998.  “The Misrepresentation of Anthropology and Its Consequences.”  American Anthropologist 100:716-731.  A VERY important article.  Read it.

—  2001a.  “The Passion of Franz Boas.”  American Anthropologist 103:447-467.  Sets the record straight on a number of important issues.  Lewis is one of the very best writers on the history of anthropology, and THE best on Boas. 

—  2001b.  “Boas, Darwin, Science, and Anthropology.”  Current Anthropology 43:381-406.

Liberman, Leonard.  2001.  “How ‘Caucasoids’ Got Such Big Crania and Why They Shrank.”  Current Anthropology 43:69-95.  Excellent history of racist misuse of anthropology.

Lowie, Robert.  1937.  The History of Ethnological Theory.  New York: Rinehart.  In spite of the militant Boasian bias, this is still a “must read,” because of Lowie’s matchless incisiveness and wisdom in dealing with early writers.          

Mark, Joan.  1988.  A Stranger in Her Native Land: Alice Fletcher and the American Indians.  More than a biography–this is basic for the history of late 19th century anthro.             

Martin, Michael, and MacIntyre, Lee.  1994.  Readings in the Philosophy of Social Science.   Cambridge, MA:  MIT. Monumental collection–the full texts of just about every important article.       

This is absolutely basic; every anthro student should know it and read at least a few articles!

Mason, Otis Tufton.  1895.  The Origins of Invention.  Smithsonian Institution.  Not a history of anthro, but history by anthropology.  Long superseded as far as conclusions go, but an important milestone in the development of anthropological theory.

—  1894.  Women’s Share in Primitive Culture.  New York:  D. Appleton.  Ditto.

McDonald, Lynn.  1993.  The Early Origins of the Social Sciences.  Montreal and Kingston (Canada): McGill-Queen’s Univ. Press.  Major.  Sociology and political science rather than anthropology, but for the 18th century this is hard to do without.  One of the best histories of social science, much better than any comparable work in the anthro literature.

McGee, R. Jon, and Richard L. Warms (eds.).  1996.  Anthropological Theory: An Introductory History.  Mountain View, CA: Mayfield.  In spite of the name, this is a collection of readings from the basic sources, not a history.  Only fair; now superseded.  Don’t waste your time.

Mead, Margaret, and Ruth Bunzel (eds.).  1960.  The Golden Age of American Anthropology.  Selected readings from American anthro standards.                           

Moore, Henrietta and Todd Sanders, eds.  2006.  Anthropology in Theory: Issues in Epistemology.  Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.

Morgan, Lewis Henry.  1985 [1877].  Ancient Society.  Tucson:  University of Arizona Press.  The classic work that started theoretical anthro in the US.  Don’t be put off by the fact that it’s now considered “wrong” and its evolutionary scheme now seems outrageously biased against the “primitives” and “savages.”  It was, for its time, an amazingly forward-looking, challenging work.

—1871.  Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family.  Washington:  Smithsonian Institution.  Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge 17:2.

Munzel, G. Felicitas.  1999.  Kant’s Conception of Moral Character:  The “Critical” Link of Morality, Anthropology, and Reflective Judgment.  Chicago:  University of Chicago Press. 

Pagden, Anthony.  1982.  The Fall of Natural Man.  Cambridge UP.  16th century proto-anthropology!  Important work.  Shows that the traditional Catholics were the protectors of the Native Americans, with Las Casas emerging as one of the great genuine heroes of history; the modern, humanistic Catholics were the bad guys—convinced that Progress meant sweeping the Indians aside.

Palacio-Pérez, Eduardo.  2010.  “Salomon Reinach and the Religious Interpretation of Palaeolithic Art.”  Antiquity 84 (325) 853-863.

Excellent, important historical article.  Reinach basically started it; he was totally involved with anthro and sociology, reviewing Durkheim, writing obit for de Mortillet, etc.  Really brilliant, right-on stuff quoted.

Parezo, Nancy (ed.).  1993.  Hidden Scholars.  Tucson:  University of Arizona Press.  A chronicle of women anthropologists who studied Ariz/NM Indians.  The essay on Benedict is really superb, and the whole book is very valuable.  (Considering that not only Benedict but several of the others were world-famous, highly influential anthropologists, the “hidden” is possibly a bit gratuitous, but some of these scholars indeed suffered from neglect because of gender.)

Patterson, Thomas.  2001.  A Social History of Anthropology in the United States.  Oxford and New York:  Berg.  Superb history with an insightful, incisive political take.  Patterson, an archaeologist turned historian of anthro, is one of the best scholars in the area.

Penniman, T. K.  1965.  A Hundred Years of Anthropology.  3rd ed.  London: Duckworth.  Companion to Daniel, above.  Detailed and still valuable though obviously dated.

Popkin, Richard H.  1987.  Isaac La Peyrère (1596-1676): His Life, Work and Influence.  Under this specialized-sounding title is a book about the idea that there were people around long before Adam—an idea obviously necessary to the development of anthro, especially archaeology and human paleo.  La Peyrere was the first to popularize this idea in the Judeo-Christian world.  His work was later coopted by polygenists and racists; Popkin provides much detail on the rise of racism in the 19th century and on the whole history of early anthropology.

Radin, Paul.  1987.  The Method and Theory of Ethnology.  Introduction by Arthur Vidich.  Boston: Bergin and Garvey.  Classic theoretical statement; Vidich’s long and detailed statement has value for situating Radin in his historical context.

Rankin-Hill, Lesley M., and Michael L. Blakey.  1994.  “W. Montague Cobb (1904-1990):  Physical Anthropologist, Anatomist, and Activist.”  American Anthropologiost 96:74-96.  Early African-American leader.

Robins, R. H.  1990.  A Short History of Linguistics.  London: Longmans.  3rd edn.  The only book in its field.  Hopefully a fuller one will come along.

Rowe, William T.  2007.  “Owen Lattimore, Asia, and Comparative History.”  Journal of Asian Studies 66:759-786.  Major essay on a geographer who influenced anthropology; lots in here on anthro and history (as well as geography) of the early 20th century.

Rudwick, Martin.  2006.  Bursting the Limits of Time.  Chicago:  University of Chicago Press. This enormous book is about the fullest history of an anthro-related discipline.  It’s a fascinating read, even if you aren’t into geology.  Archaeologists and fossil-folk specialists really need to look at it, because it describes the birth of the idea that Europe was around, with weird critters in it, long before people got there.  If you ever have a long summer week to do nothing but bury yourself in what to me the most fascinating story in the history of science, go for it.  He promises a second vol that should be even better.

Sabloff, Jeremy A., and Wendy Ashmore.  2001.  “An Aspect of Archaeology’s Recent Past and Its Relevance in the New Millennium.”  In Archaeology at the Millennium:  A Sourcebook, ed. by Feinman and Price.  New York:  Kluwer/Plenum.

Shapiro, Warren.  1991.  “Claude Lévi-Strauss Meets Alexander Goldenweiser:  Boasian Anthropology and the Study of Totemism.”  American Anthropologist 93:599-620.

Silverman, Sydel (ed.).  2004.  Totems and Teachers:  Key Figures in the History of Anthropology.  2nd edn.  New York:  AltaMira. 

Major chapters on major figures.  Orig 1981, so core is old-timers’ writings.

Smedley, Audrey.  2007.  Race in North America:  Origin and Evolution of a Worldview.  3rd edn.  Boudler:  Westview.

Spencer, Frank.  1982.  A History of American Physical Anthropology, 1930-1980.  Useful, but physical anthro has yet to find its true historian.

Stocking, George.  1968.  Race, Culture and Evolution.  Free Press.  Boas and his intellectual relatives.  Classic.

—  1985.  Victorian Anthropology.  New York: Free Press (MacMillan).  Superb account; terrific storytelling, lots of facts.  Not so good on theories as Kuklick or Kuper, but not to be dismissed.  Stocking likes to call himself “anthropology’s in-house historian,” and he pretty much is; he’s the best chronicler if not the best thinker.

— 1992.  The Ethnographer’s Magic and Other Essays in the History of Anthropology.   Madison:  University of Wisconsin Press.

— 1995.  After Tylor.  Madison:  University of Wisconsin Press.

An enormous history of British anthropology from Tylor to Radcliffe-Brown.

—  2001.  Delimiting Anthropology:  Occasional Essays and Reflections.  Madison:  Univerity of Wisconsin Press.

— (ed.)  History of Anthropology series.  Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.  Something like a journal–every couple of years they issue a volume of essays on one broad topic.  So far, we have: 

Vol. l.  Observers Observed:  Essays on Ethnographic Fieldwork. (1983)

2.  Functionism Historicized (1984–special attn. Kuklick essay)

3.  Objects and Others (museums; 1985)

4.  Malinowski, Rivers, Benedict and Others: Essays on Culture and Personality

5.  Bones, Bodies, Behavior (1988; physical anthro; good essay on Piltdown and DYNAMITE essays on Nazism)

6.  Romantic Motives:  Essays on Anthropological Sensibility

7.  Colonial Situations: Essays on the Contextualization of Ethnographic Kowledge.

8.  Volksgeist as Method and Ethic (1996).  On Boas and German anthro.  The essay by Matti Bunzl, “Franz Boas and the Humboldtian Tradition: From olksgeist and Nationalcharakter to an Anthropological Concept of Culture,” is really superb and important (pp. 17-78).  He traces anthropology–the word and the concept–to Wilhelm von Humboldt, who started it right at the turn of the century (1798-1810 period).  Kant got the word and idea from von H. 

Also interesting is “From Virchow to Fischer: Physical Anthropology and “Modern Race Theories’ in Wilhelmine Germany” by Benoit Massin (79-154).  It traces the decay of German phys anth from liberal Virchow to increasingly right-wing and finally Nazi Fischer.

See also “‘The Little History of Pitiful Events’: THe Epistemological and Moral Contexts of Kroeber’s Californian Ethnology” by Thomas Buckley (257-297).  Rather an unfair hatchet job–he misses, or deliberately ignores, most of Kroeber’s good side.  But he has some real points.                    

Stocking, of course, is THE historian of anthropology.  He’s solid, reliable, fair, and a good read.  He is more chatty and into fun facts than a great critic and dissector of theory, though.  Great for the background and context, but go for Collins, Giddens, Kuklick, Herb Lewis, and Tom Patterson if you want to know what the guys actually said.

Trautman, Thomas.  1987.  Lewis Henry Morgan and the Invention of Kinship.  Berkeley: University of California Press. 

Superb study of Morgan’s life and the intellectual climate of the age.  (But LHM didn’t invent kinship, only kinship studies!) 

Trigger, Bruce.  1989.  A History of Archaeological Thought.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  Major work.  Not unbiased.  But indispensable, especially for American archaeology.

Turner, Jonathan.  1989.  The Emergence of Social Theory.  Wadsworth.

Turner is one of the leading writers on classic sociological theory, including sociologists like Weber and Durkheim that influenced anthro.

Turner, Jonathan, and Alexandra Maryanski.  1979.  Functionalism.  Menlo Park: Benjamin/Cummings.

Van Riper, Bowdoin.  1993.  Men Among the Mammoths: Victorian Science and the Discovery of Human Prehistory.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press.  Brief, clear study of the topic.

Verdon, Michel.  2007.  “Franz Boas:  Culture History for the Present or Obsolete Natural History?”  Journal of the Royal Anthropological Insitutie 13:433-451.  Argues for the latter, but is so wrong that his own quotes from Boas disprove him.

Vermeulen, Hans F. (ed.).  1995.  Fieldwork and Footnotes:  Studies in the History of European Anthropology.  London:  Routledge.

Vico, Gianbattista.  1944.  The Autobiography of Giambattista Vico.  Tr. Max Harold Fisch and Thomas Goddard Bergin.  Ithaca: Cornell University Press.  Easily available still, in paperback.  The interest here is not in the autobiog (dull) but in the translators’ introduction, a superb short study of Vico’s place in the history of social science.

Vincent, Joan.  1990.  Anthropology and Politics.  Tucson:  University of Arizona Press.

Classic.  There is a newer edition now.

Voget, Fred.  1975.  A History of Ethnology.  New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.  Encyclopedic; for quick reference, not for reading.  Extremely comprehensive.

Willey, Gordon, and Jeremy Sabloff.  1992.  A History of American Archaeology.  San Francisco: W. H. Freeman.  Standard for its field; basic.  Willey has published books of memoirs, reminiscences and essays that are very valuable.

Wolf, Eric R.  1994.  “Perilous Ideas:  Race, Culture, People.”  Current Anthropology 35:1-12.

Wolff, Larry, and Marco Cipolloni (eds.).  2007.  The Anthropology of the Enlightenment.  Stanford:  Stanford University Press.  Lots on origins.  The first actual “anthropology” book was pre-Kant (see Kant above).  “Civilisation” appeared, first in French, around 1750, and was popularized by Mirabeau.  “Culture” in anything like mod meaning came somewhat later; it just meant “ag” in 1750s.  See Wolff’s “Anthropological Thought in the Enlightenment,” pp. 3-32, esp. p. 4 (first anthro book), 10 (first “civilisation”).  “Ethnographie,” “ethnographisch” and “Völkerkunde” were all coined by one man, August Schlözer, prof at Göttingen from 1769 on.  He was using them by early 1770s.  This from John Gascoigne:  “The German Enlightenment and the Pacific,” pp. 141-171; see p. 144.  Other ideas of this time included stagnant China, childlike India, etc.  The savage New World stereotype continued from the 17th century, and got new spin from Adam Smith.  Lots in here about Siberia, slaves in Haiti, etc.  Very little bullshit (though C’s last chapt is pretty lame).

Belleau, Jean-Philippe E., “Love in the Time of Hierarchy:  Ethnographic Voices in Eighteenth-Century Haiti,” 209-237, has all the horrors Steadman found in Surinam.  Confirmation.

Young, Virginia Heyer.  2005.  Ruth Benedict:  Beyond Relativity, Beyond Pattern.  Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

     There are many other excellent works.  Their exclusion from this list is merely due to time and space constraints.  In particular, I have avoided most biographies and autobiographies, but note that W. H. R. Rivers, A. C. Haddon, Robert Lowie, A. L. Kroeber, Margaret Mead, Ruth Benedict, Alice Fletcher, Edgar Lee Hewitt, Jaime de Angulo, Frank Cushing, Claude Levi-Strauss, B. Malinowski, Franz Boas, Hortense Powdermaker, Emile Durkheim, L. H. Morgan, and many other “greats” have been the subjects of biographies or wrote autobiographies.  (The biographies of Sapir, Harrington, Fletcher and Morgan above are “different” because they go far beyond mere biography and cover the whole intellectual life of the periods in question.  For Morgan, there is another more “ordinary” biog as well as Trautman’s more ambitious book.)  

     When seeking to know about a particular person, always remember to look up his or her obituaries in the major journals.  Obits are often very valuable, especially in the early and mid 20th century, when scholars like A. L. Kroeber made the obit into a major scholarly form.          

     Dozens of anthropologists have written popular or semipopular accounts of their field work.  Most of these can most charitably be described as chatty journals and travel accounts.  Uncharitable descriptions could get much worse without being unfair or wrong, I am sorry to say.  Among the few that deserve attention as literature are Jaime de Angulo’s writings and Carobeth Laird’s book Encounter with an Angry GodIn the Company of Man, edited by Joseph Casagrande, provides a good selection of short accounts. 

     Another category missing above are regional histories.  There are superior histories of archaeology in Mexico, the US Southwest, Mayaland, Mesopotamia, China, and many other areas.  The Maya, in particular, are well served; the archaeologists seem almost as fascinating to historians as the ancient Maya themselves.  See esp. a number of works by Robert Brunhouse and by Michael Coe (his Breaking the Maya Code is deservedly a classic).  Other fields have not been so well served, but there are good sources around. 

     A few books are so bad as to require a special avoidance warning.  Marvin Harris has been noted above.  Donna Haraway’s stuff is amusing polemic but not serious history; she gets her facts wrong occasionally, and puts a lot of spin on them even when they’re right.  Several earlier authors (Leslie White for one) didn’t even get their facts straight.

Some Related Items

The Three Great Founders of social science are universally agreed to be Marx, Durkheim, and Weber (whatever one may think of their theories!).  (For American anthropology, add Morgan and Boas.)  All three of the Greats are well translated and analyzed in current literature, and there is no substitute for reading them in detail in the original.


There is no substitute, in the end, for reading CAPITAL (at least Vol. I) and the GRUNDRISSE, if you are all interested in Marxian matters.  For a quick introduction, though, everybody’s favorite—deservedly so—is Rius’ cartoon book Marx for Beginners.  It’s accurate (more so than most learned tomes on Marx), fair, and human.  Anyway, it’s always fun to recommend a comic book to grad students!

For a more serious take, see Elster, below.

Three readers give quick looks at the Marxian canon:
Elster, Jon (ed.).  1986.  Karl Marx:  A Reader.  Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press.  My favorite.

Elster, Jon.  1984.  Making Sense of Marx, Cambridge UP, 1984, a stunning job of explaining and critiquing the Master.

McLellan, David (ed.).  1988.  Marxism:  Essential Writings.  Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.  Standard reader, including not only Marx and Engels but also Kautsky, Plekhanov, Lenin, Mao, Marcuse, and even Che Guevara, among others.

Tucker, Robert (ed.).  1978.  The Marx-Engels Reader.  2nd edn.  New York:  W. W. Norton.  Short bits of a lot of disparate things, but useful.

Durkheim, Emile.  1933.  The Division of Labor in Society.  NewYork:  Free Press.

—  1973. Moral Education.  New York:  Free Press.

1982.  The Rules of Sociological Method.  S. Lukes, ed.  New York:  Macmillan.

—  1995 [1912].  The Elementary Forms of Religious Life.  Tr. Karen E. Fields.  New York:  Free Press.  Note no “the” in the title!!

—  1951.  Suicide.  Tr. John A. Spaulding and George Simpson.  Orig. 1897.  Free Press.

—  1993.  Ethics and the Sociology of Morals.  Tr. Robert T. Hall. 

— and Marcel Mauss.  1963 (Fr. orig. 1903).  Primitive Classification.  London: Cohen and West.

Don’t waste your time with existing English-language biographies of Durkheim.  (The major one is a disaster.  I won’t even mention names.)  Read Collins, and Turner, above.

Philosophy of Science:

There is not, so far, a serious work on the philosophy of anthropology.  (The theoretical, postmodern, and critical works are really a different sort of thing.  They argue for, or describe, particular views.  The books below examine the underpinnings of the whole scientific enterprise.)  Until we have our own, try these more general works:

Dupre, John.  1993.  The Disorder of Things.  Good summary of recent philosophy of science.  Refutes Popper and other naive realists, but also avoids the trap of Kuhn and Feyerabend (“it’s all arbitrary”). 

Elster, Jon.  Vast series of books, all superb, some definitive.  One particularly useful for us is The Cement of Society (Cambridge UP 1989).  Local Justice (Russell Sage Fdn., 1992), reports studies of ways of trying to ensure fairness in situations like the draft and immigration. 

Hacking, Ian.  1999.  The Social Construction of What?  Cambridge, MA:  Harvard University Press.

Kitcher, Philip.  1993.  The Advancement of Science.  New York: Oxford Univ. Press.  Definitive review of the recent literature.   See also his Vaulting Ambition, 1985, a critique of sociobiology.

Kuhn, Thomas.  1962.  The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.  Chicago:  University of Chicago Press.

Latour, Bruno.  2004.  Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy.  Tr. Catherine Porter.  Cambridge, MA:  Harvard University Press.

Latour, Bruno.  2005.  Reassembling the Social:  An Introduction to Adctor-Network-Theory.  Oxford:  Oxford University Press.

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice.  Many books, of which The Structure of Behavior is possibly the most useful for anthropologists.  His Nature is, alas, just course notes; he died before writing it up.  Possibly the most important philosopher of social science in the mid-20th c., and a major source of ideas for people ranging from Levi-Strauss to Byron Good.

Rosenberg, Alexander.  1988.  Philosophy of Social Science.  Boulder: Westview.  Excellent introduction.

Some more useful theory stuff, just for completeness:

Anderson, Benedict.  1991.  Imagined Communities.  2nd edn.  London:  Verso.

Classic.  Possibly the most cited book in anthro in the last 20 years.

Berger, Peter L., and Thomas Luckmann.  1966.  The Social Construction of Reality.  Garden City, NY:  Doubleday.

Fairly well-known intro to phenomenology in social science, but you can get it better from Merleau-Ponty and Kay Milton.

Engels, Frederick.  1942 [1892].  The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, in the Light of the Researches of Lewis H. Morgan.  New York:  International Publishers.

— 1966.  Anti-Duhring: Herr Eugen Duhring’s Revolution in Science.  New York: International Publishers.  (New printing. Orig. US edn. 1939.  Orig. English edn. 1894.)

Engels is an easier read than Marx and these two books have all of Marx’ directly anthro-useful ideas.  On the other hand, they don’t tell you much about Marx’ most interesting ideas, like the mode of production concept.

Fustel de Coulanges, Numa Denis.  1955 [1864].  The Ancient City:  A Study on the Religin, Laws, and Institutions of Greece and Rome.  Garden City, NY:  Doubleday.

Enormously important book in the history of sociology and anthro, mostly via its influence on Durkheim.  D got from it most of his sense of institutions and their functionality and contextual embedding.

Gaukroger, Stephen.  2006.  The Emergence of a Scientific Culture:  Science and the Shaping of Modernity 1210-1685.  Oxford:  Oxford University Press.

This improbable work covers (in a mere 700 pages) the entire history of western science up till the full emergence.  Incredible undertaking; I can’t believe one guy did it.  Obviously basic background if you are into this, but nothing on anthro per se.

Geertz, Clifford.  1973.  The Interpretation of Cultures.  Basic Books.

The classic Kant-to-Parsons-to-anthro book.

Hodgen, Margaret T.  1964.  Early Anthropology in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries.  Philadelphia:  University of Pennsylvania Press.

Humboldt, Wilhelm von.  1988.  On Language:  The Diversity of Human Language-Structure and Its Influence on the Mental Development of Mankind.  Tr. Peter Heath.  Ger. orig. ca. 1800. 

The original locus of the “Sapir-Whorf” hypothesis.

Hume, David.  1969 (1739-1740).  A Treatise of Human Nature.  New York:  Penguin.

Everybody’s favorite bit of light-hearted cynicism and total devastation-for-fun of all generalizations.

Locke, John.  1979 [1697]. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.  Oxford:  Oxford University Press.

Locke, John.  1924 (orig. 1690).  Two Treatises on Government.  New York: Dutton.

These two were extremely influential on the development of social science—as influential in the English and empirical worlds as Kant in the German and Germanic-American ones.

Definite “must reads” if you care about social thought, and easy to read, even though the first is inordinately long.

Mead, George Herbert.  1964.  George Herbert Mead on Social Psychology.  Ed. Anselm Strauss.  Chicago:  University of Chicago Press.

Major thinker; basically started social psych, and brought interactionism to the US (from Dilthey).

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice.  1962.  The Phenomenology of Perception.  London: Routledge, Kegan Paul.

— l963.  The Structure of Behavior.   Boston: Beacon Press.

— l964.  “From Mauss to Claude Levi-Strauss.”  In: Signs.  Evanston, Ill:Northwestern University Press.  Pp. ll4-l25.

— 1968.  The Visible and the Invisible.  Chicago, IL: Northwestern University Press.

ly long.

These are the most useful to anthropologists of MMP’s many books.  The 1964 item is the only thing that makes L-S and MMP actually comprehensible, even easy, to the suffering beginner, and thus is a must read (even if you’re not a beginner).

Martin, Michael, and Lee C. McIntyre (eds.).  1994.  Readings in the Philosophy of Social Science.  Cambridge, MA:  MIT Press.

Mills, C. Wright.  1959.  The Sociological Imagination.  New York:  Grove Press.

This book is Sacred Text to a lot of us from the 1950s and 1960s.  Beyond comment.

Montesquieu (Charles Secondat, Baron of Montesquieu).  1949 (Fr. orig. 1748).  The Spirit of the Laws.  New York: Hafner.

Another truly foundational work.  This book started serious cross-cultural comparison; started rational critique of legal systems on the basis thereof; started the idea of “environmental determinism” as a serious theory; and started enough more things to inspire a huge literature. 

(My friend the expert would comment here that Montesquieu didn’t really start all that stuff, but for all practical purposes M did; nobody read the obscure other guys that anticipated tiny bits of it.)

Orans, Martin.  1996.  Not Even Wrong:  Margaret Mead, Derek Freeman, and the Samoans.  Novato, CA:  Chandler and Sharp.  Definitive final word on a classic controversy.

Oreskes, Naomi.  1999.  The Rejection of Continental Drift:  Theory and Method in American Earth Science.  New York:  Oxford University Press. 

Excellent book about why continental drift wasn’t such a revolution after all; it was rejected by most for lack of evidence (so no real failure to engage) and yet still widely taken seriously (so no real “revolution” when it turned out to be true).  But then….

— (ed.).  2001.  Plate Tectonics:  An Insider’s History of the Modern Theory of the Earth.  Boulder:  Westview.  …she found that the people who actually created the modern theory of plate tectonics saw it as very revolutionary indeed!  Educated in an age when “drifting continents” were literally a laughingstock, they formed a tight band of advocates when Tuzo Wilson (especially) converted because of overwhelming evidence from enemy to enthusiast.  This book consists of their reminiscences about it all, and is the most fascinating book in the history of science that I have read. 

Pagden, Anthony.  1987.  The Fall of Natural Man:  The American Indian and the Origins of Comparative Ethnology.  Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press.

Patterson, Thomas C.  2005.  “The Turn to Agency:  Neoliberalism, Individuality, and Subjectivity in Late-Twentieth-Century Anglophone Archaeology.”  Rethinking Marxism 17:373-384. 

Sahlins, Marshall.  l972.  Stone Age Economics.  Chicago: Aldine.

— l976.  Culture and Practical Reason.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

These two are historically important.

Weart, Spencer R.  2004.  The Discovery of Global Warming.  Cambridge, MA:  Harvard University Press.  Again, not directly relevant to anthro, but interesting as history of science.

Wylie, Alison.  2002.  Thinking from Things:  Essays in the Philosophy of Archaeology.  Berkeley:  University of California Press.  Essays; 514 pp. 

Controversies in anthropology

     I find the more famous controversies in anthro a bit unedifying.  Robert Redfield and his student Oscar Lewis famously disagreed about Tepoztlan—Redfield found it a delightful, happy place, Lewis a melancholy and conflicted one.  This is better understood when you read some history and learn that Tepoztlan changed a great deal between Redfield’s and Lewis’ visit.  At the time of R and L’s work, “peasant villages” were supposed to be “changeless,” even when they were virtually suburbs of Mexico City (which Tepoztlan is).  Thus, the differences between R and L were ascribed to differences between the two observers.  In reality, most of the differences were actual differences between Tepoztlan in the early 1920s, in the heady post-revolution days, and in the 1930s, in the dark depths of the Depression.  There were, however, some real differences between R and L.  (And when I was there a few years ago Tepoztlan was much bigger and neither particularly happy nor particularly sad.)

    The Margaret Mead-Derek Freeman thing pits two abysmally incompetent anthropologists against each other (see Orans reference above).  (Mead got much better later–she was in her mid-twenties when she did her Samoa work.)  It’s not worth much attention, but Orans gets off some general points about how things should have been done, and thus raises the issues to levels worth your time.

     Similarly, the “controversy” over Patrick Tierney’s book Darkness in El Dorado isn’t.  Tierney was a sensationalist reporter relying on local gossip.  His work is ridiculous.  He got off some easy points on Napoleon Chagnon (an easy man to hit) but otherwise the book is a waste of time, and the controversy around it too unedifying to take seriously.

     One controversy that IS worth your attention is the Richard Lee-Edwin Wilmsen controversy about the San.  Here we have serious, thoughtful experts carrying on something like a real exchange of views.  See also the recent medical anthro literature for serious exchanges of reasonable views.  Any issue of Current Anthropology will provide examples of other scientifically respectable controversies.

     It’s symptomatic of something (what?) that anthropologists love to focus on the R-L, Mead-Freeman, and Tierney controversies instead of the thousands of reasonable, civilized exchanges of views, leading to real resolution, that have taken place in the field.

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