marx-anthro

Adrien Verlee Adrien.Verlee at ping.be
Mon Nov 6 14:45:20 MST 1995


Dear Lisa,

LR:  This jogs my memory, I heard a lot about Boas in the anthro
history that I did get.  A European point of view in deed!  I never
heard this before.  It is not all clear to me what the German theory
_was_ or how it "approached variety".  My impression is that US

Below you find an extract from the Grolier encyclopedia ( USA :-))
Franz Boas, b. July 9, 1858, d. Dec. 21, 1942, was a German-American
anthropologist who is generally considered the father of anthropology in the
United States. Educated in Germany, he received (1881) his doctorate in
physics from the University of Kiel, where he also studied geography and
mathematics. On a scientific expedition to Baffin Island (1883-84), he
became interested in Eskimo culture and thereafter devoted his career to
anthropology. In 1886, Boas began fieldwork among the KWAKIUTL and other
Indians of the northwest Pacific coast. He served (1896-1905) as curator of
ethnology at the American Museum of Natural History, New York, and became
(1899) Columbia University's first professor of anthropology, a position he
held until his death.
A prolific scholar, Boas published hundreds of articles and books on
physical anthropology, linguistics, and North American archaeology and
ethnology. He trained some of America's best-known anthropologists,
including Ruth BENEDICT, Alfred L. KROEBER, Robert H. LOWIE, and Margaret
MEAD. His impact on American anthropology, in particular on its methodology,
was immense. Opposed to the armchair theorizing that had previously
dominated the field, Boas encouraged an empirical approach to ethnology
based on meticulous observation and quantification of data; some scholars
later criticized him, however, for collecting masses of facts without
attempting to reveal the underlying significance of the data. His best-known
books include The Mind of Primitive Man (1911; rev. ed., 1963; repr. 1966);
Primitive Art (1927, 2d ed., 1955; repr. 1962), and Race, Language, and
Culture (1940; repr. 1968).

This was the Grolier. And what about that German school? Well:
It seems there is a book from Kroeber himself and Kluckholm (his wife??):
Culture. A critical review of concepts and definitions. Cambridge (Mass.), 1952.
But I can say more (by means of my studybook :-))

Initial  was the notion 'culture' within the German tradition used as an
idicate for the general civilisation process where (as ???) humankind
several phases pass through, from low-development to high-development.
Little by little grows by the Germans the awareness that culture a general
quality of humankind is. Besides they get more and more interest for the
cultural variety (diversity).
During the 18 and 19 century they Germans produce several speculations about
the general evolution of a culture, taking into account they see diferent
phases.

Beside, mostly among representatives of the German Romantic, there was the
need to a profoundly and concrete knowledge of the way of living of other
peoples.
The expand of these interest go's with the notion that the ways of livings
of other peoples are equivalence at the own people. These appreciation
(romantic!) counts above all the 'primitive' cultures with low-development.

The empasis on cultural diversity, appreciation for other cultures and there
own character, also the strong interest in 'primitiv' cultures, are
outstanding voor the American anthropology, who comes from the Germans....

>Lisa, do you know Marx' text: Pre-capitalistic society shapes 
>(Grundrisse) ?
I've see the electronic version on the 'Marxism Page' You can find it via
Yahoo. But maybe less important for an anthropologist (the text I mean).

>>I look forward to any questions or comments you may have on my draft
>>paper!

I have read it. But my English prevent a global view. I know near here a
'biologist', and I asked him a few things. Maybe I can later react better?
Meanwhile, can you explain you're sentance: Non-mean-rate-maximaxing (mating
and nutrient). I don't understand it at all.

About the piece: Fathers can also have effects on their offspring.... (...)
....implications for marriage patterns, including length of marriage.
I remenber a text from a psychologist who explain the behavior of man and
woman about conjugal fidelity on Darwinian grounds (Darwinian theory). He
say that womans have interest in good fathers and one father especially
because there reproduction of genes (genetic) ask a great investment, thats
the reason that womans tends to monogamie. Man, on the other hand, have
interest in polygamie because this gives them the chance to scatter their
seeds (I mean, of course, scattering in the Darwenian mean of genetic
reproduction).

Maybe you have something by this, or maybe not... :-)

>>PS  Please tell me if my english is unclear to you, I can simplify it
>>a bit in future if it helps.

Its a bit difficult, but I have to learn better English. So, don't worry.

Take care.

Adrien



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