Article

Franz Boas

Vernon J. Williams

in Anthropology

ISBN: 9780199766567
Published online January 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199766567-0008
Franz Boas

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Franz Boas was a scholar, professional, and activist who almost single-handedly transformed American anthropology from a field dominated by amateurs to a full-fledged professional, academic discipline. A German-born Jewish immigrant who had experienced anti-Semitism in his native land and in the United States, Boas was especially effective in dismantling hierarchical theories of race, language, and culture. As a consequence, most of his works centered on Native Indians, African Americans, and southern and eastern European immigrants in the United States and on the themes of race, language, and culture. As an activist, he expressed his revulsion against immigration restriction and anti-black prejudice and discrimination, the erasure of Native Indian cultures, and anti-Semitism. Boas suffered a fatal heart attack while vociferously protesting the exterminations by the Nazis during World War II.

Article.  4154 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology ; Human Evolution ; Medical Anthropology ; Physical Anthropology ; Social and Cultural Anthropology

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