Anthropology toward History: Culture and Work in a 19th Century Maine Town

Anthropology toward History: Culture and Work in a 19th Century Maine Town

Anthropology toward History: Culture and Work in a 19th Century Maine Town

Anthropology toward History: Culture and Work in a 19th Century Maine Town

Excerpt

The history of this book, like that of so many books with academic authors, begins with university experiences, influential teachers, students, and texts. It begins, too, with dissatisfaction. I have been a student in American studies, a field whose foundations, laid in the early 1950s, crumbled in the late 1960s. Classic pieces on American "myths and symbols" lost credibility, and American studies lost its center.

I was fortunate to have teachers who encouraged me and others of my generation to develop a better approach to the description of American cultures. My friends turned to popular or mass culture materials, cliometrics, new journalism, various forms of structuralism, cultural ecology and geography, psychohistory, folklore, and so on. I wish I could say that my approach was systematically culled from the alternatives. But a more likely source is the particular sequence of ideas and advocates that I encountered during my graduate days at the University of Pennsylvania.

I was early impressed with what were known as the new ethnography and the new social history. The first tended to be crudely idealistic and synchronic, and the second naively realistic and diachronic, but both, I felt, held promise. In fashioning a synthesis I sought new friends among the historians in College Hall and the anthropologists at the University Museum.

I am particularly indebted to University of Pennsylvania Professors John Caughey, Gordon Kelley, Melvyn Hammarberg, Patrick Malone, and Robert Zemsky in American civilization, Richard Beeman in history, and Ward Goodenough, Igor Kopytoff, and Anthony . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.