The Art and Science of Describing and Classifying: The Triumph of Anthropology

in History's Shadow

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2004 | ISBN: 9780226114941
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226115115 | DOI:
The Art and Science of Describing and Classifying: The Triumph of Anthropology

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As the nineteenth century turned into the twentieth, anthropology emerged as a lively new “science,” created from a synthesis of several related but autonomous fields. Harvard librarian and historian Justin Winsor saw as much when he observed in 1888 that out of archaeological and ethnological work in the nineteenth century “has risen the new science of Anthropology, broad enough in its scope to include not only archaeology in its general acceptation, but to sweep into its range of observation various aspects of ethnology and geology.” In fact, Winsor had it only partially right. In the end, anthropology served as the umbrella under which gathered four studies—archaeology, language, ethnography/ethnology, and “somatology”—the four “legs” of anthropology's “chair” in the oft-used metaphor. These were the researches around which anthropology coalesced as an academic discipline in the 1890s, and they remain the heart of anthropology today.

Keywords: anthropology; science of describing; anthropology; ethnology; somatology; nineteenth century

Chapter.  18172 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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