Ant 200: Short Description

Anthropology 200: History of Anthropology

[Fall Quarter 2013, Th. 12:10-3:00PM; CRN 54020; 224 Young Hall]

Prof. Bruce Winterhalder
Anthropology, and Graduate Group in Ecology
(218 Young Hall;

Short Description

As historical background, we will read Roy Porter's small book, The Enlightenment, and Robert Layton's, An Introduction to Theory in Anthropology. We will then read all or most of four original, monograph-length works by central historical figures: Darwin, Engels, Boas and Steward.  All fall roughly within our time period.  Each is essential to the development of our field; each figures prominently in its present configuration and issues.  A half-dozen other individuals could have been chosen and we will not completely neglect one of the most important of the missing: Marx.  I likewise will recommend that you read the section introductions in the McGee and Warms reader, Anthropological Theory: An Introductory History, dipping into the original selections as you choose.

Finally, I will ask each of you to read and report on one additional, more recent volume, focused on interpreting the history of Anthropology.  I have listed six titles (see below) from which you may select, depending on your own particular interests.  If you have another selection you are eager to read, I am receptive to being convinced that we should add it to the list.

The seminar is open to graduate students.  Advanced undergraduates in Anthropology or a related social science may register by permission.  It does not presume previous courses in Anthropology or the history of the field, although those would be useful.  It should be of interest to any student in the subfields of economic, ecological, social or archaeological anthropology, broadly speaking.

The central texts are:

Darwin, Charles.  1997 [1871-72].  The Descent of Man.  Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.

Engels, Frederick.  1972 [1884].  The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State.  New York, NY:  International Publishers.

Steward, Julian H.  1955.  Theory of Culture Change: The Methodology of Multilinear Evolution.  Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.

Stocking Jr., G. W.  1974.  A Franz Boas Reader: The Shaping of American Anthropology 1883-1911.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

The "Choose One" list of readings will be:

Elster, Jon.  1985.  Making Sense of Marx.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hiatt, L. R.  1996.  Arguments About Aborigines: Australia and the Evolution of Social Anthropology.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kerns, Virginia. 2003. Scenes from the High Desert: Julian Steward's Life and Theory. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Kuper, Adam.  1988.  The Invention of Primitive Society: Transformations of an Illusion. New York: Routledge.

Patterson, Thomas.  2004.  Marx’s Ghost: Conversations with Archaeologists.  Oxford: Berg Publishers.

Segerstråle, Ullica. 2000. Defenders of the Truth: The Sociobiology Debate. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

This class will meet Thursday, from 12:10PM to 3:00PM. For further information please contact:

Bruce Winterhalder (