Re: historical anthropology

Jens Kjaerulff (
16 Apr 1995 15:59:09 GMT

I believe the relationship between history and anthropology is
much closer than suggested here so forth, depending on whether
your inquiry about historical anthropology may be taken to
include what goes as anthropology of history.

Fundamentally both anthropology and history as academic
disciplines are about interpretation of other cultures. With
history the otherness is established through distance in time,
with anthropology (traditionally) through distance in space.
What is more, people (not just historians or anthropologist)
interpret history, and this interpretive act may be subject for
anthropological inquiry.

One of my favourite books that touches on the subject is Bruce
Kapferer's "legends of People - Myths of State" (1988), which is
a comparative inquiry about Sri Lankan and Australian
nationalism. Its a brilliant book. More widely known books that
reflects this understanding of history and anthropology include
several works by Marshall Sahlins (Islands of History 1985), and
James Boon's "Other Tribes, Other Scribes" (1982) is also of interest.

Jens Kjaerulff E-mail: