Hist. Anthr. II

Joseph M. O'Neal (josephon@ADMIN.STEDWARDS.EDU)
Wed, 14 Jun 1995 09:27:37 CDT

People on the list responded with the following suggestions for designing
a History of Anthropology course. Again, I thank them for their help.


-Avoid material that has not stood the test of time. Most hot
theoretical stuff from years past is long forgotten.

-Teach the paradigm of 19th C. evolutionism, whence it came, and why it
is no longer accepted.

-Read the very lively autobiographical profiles in each year's Annual
Review of Anthropology. Also the interviews with prominent
anthropologists in Current Anthropology.

-It is important to be able to explain why fieldwork became crucial in
anthropology. Also why separate human sciences evolved in the first place.

-Assigning students to subscribe to lists such as this one is throwing
them off the deep end.

-Writing Culture is a great book but very theoretical. How much will
critical analysis of Evans-Pritchard mean to students who have never read

-Reading some of the shorter classic ethnographies is useful, e.g.,
Leach'es Political Systems and Evans-Pritchard's Witchcraft, Oracles, and
Magic, or The Nuer.

-The monographs edited by the Spindlers offer short works that illustrate
various approaches in anthropology.

-Have students read classic and contemporary ethnographies, e.g., compare
Malinowski and the pomo folks.

-Why not be really creative? Have students practice anthropology and
research their workplaces, reinventing and rediscovering anthropological
theory in the process.

-Look at early Victorian ethnographies, e.g., Gertrude Bell, Sir Richard
Burton, Lady Duff-Gordon, Amelia Edwards, T.E. Lawrence.

-Use numerous articles and excerpts, everything from Blackberry Winter to
The Nuer to Kuper's Anthropology and Anthropologists. I am also thinking
of assigning Wolf's A Thrice Told Tale, which contains a great deal about
current trends and battles.

-I have begun collecting material for a reader. The selections should be
of broad relevance, widely cited, well-written, concise, and
self-contained. The authors should be anthropologists, and the examples
should be concrete rather than exclusively abstract theoretical
programmatic announcements.

Joseph M. O'Neal 512-448-8745
St. Edward's University FAX: 512-448-8767
Austin, TX 78704 josephon@admin.stedwards.edu
"My brother worked his way through the documents again more slowly,
collecting bits and pieces as he came to them, and then moving it all
ahead to whatever was next, as if he were sweeping a floor." Pete
Dexter, The Paperboy.