Nationalism and Mobilization in Wartime Anthropology, 1914–18

in Anthropology at War

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780226222677
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226222691 | DOI:
Nationalism and Mobilization in Wartime Anthropology, 1914–18

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This chapter begins the examination of the practice and discourse of anthropology during the war years, exploring the influence of the conflict on the day-to-day work of anthropologists. With normal avenues for anthropological work cut off, many anthropologists turned the focus of their science toward the conflict itself in an attempt to support the war effort and gain the recognition of the state. As a result, anthropologists fully mobilized their discipline for war, throwing their support behind the German government, signing patriotic decrees, and condemning the enemies of the Central Powers. Anthropologists gave lectures on the anthropological makeup of the enemy, undertook investigations of wartime nutrition in German schoolchildren, and commented on the Allied use of colonial troops. All the while, the shortages and limitations caused by the war affected the institutions in which they did their work. The new wartime context encouraged members of the discipline to practice an increasingly nationalistic anthropology, and facilitated the erosion of the distinctions and precepts at the heart of the liberal tradition.

Keywords: war years; anthropologists; war effort; German government; nationalistic anthropology; liberal tradition

Chapter.  14306 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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