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By Henrika Kuklick

A brand new historical past of Anthropology collects unique writings from pre-eminent students to create a cosmopolitan yet obtainable advisor to the improvement of the sector.

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Berkeley: University of California Press. qxd 18/06/2007 10:07 Page 35 2 North American Traditions in Anthropology: The Historiographic Baseline Regna Darnell The diversity of traditions within North American anthropology has been underestimated by most historians of anthropology, both North American and foreign. Americanist anthropology cannot be equated simply with the tradition that developed around Franz Boas (1858 –1942) and his students, and encapsulated within the geographical boundaries of the United States.

Nevertheless, methods of study and analysis were developed and collections of skeletons became available for later analysis. And population genetics would eventually show that the outward characteristics usually thought to define racial differences were merely superficial surface differences among groups. qxd 18/06/2007 10:07 Page 38 38 Regna Darnell The Emergence of Americanist Anthropology Prior to the existence of anything recognizable as a professional discipline of anthropology, the basic parameters of the four subdisciplines were delineated, and beginnings were made in exploring diverse aspects of the American Indian within the geographical boundaries of North America.

The Greeks and Romans (along with the Bible) provided Europe’s in-house stock of anthropological knowledge. They served as norms of admirable humanity for moderns, but at the same time their literature and histories recorded practices as strange as any to be discovered around the world. The chief objective of missionaries such as Las Casas and Acosta may have been to convert the people they met, but missionaries could also be disposed to pay close attention to indigenes’ psychological, cultural, and religious life.

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