American Historical Anthropology: Essays in Honor of Leslie Spier

American Historical Anthropology: Essays in Honor of Leslie Spier

American Historical Anthropology: Essays in Honor of Leslie Spier

American Historical Anthropology: Essays in Honor of Leslie Spier

Excerpt

It was my good fortune to be associated with Leslie Spier for over thirty-five years in the varying capacities of student, colleague, and friend. During this period I developed an increasing respect for his intellectual achievements. Throughout his lifetime he was an important force in developing and directing the course of American anthropology. This influence was as great as that of some of his better publicized contemporaries. Leslie Spier was a shy person who avoided publicity, the more flamboyant areas of the field, and involvements in anthropological politics. Because of this his impact on the total range of anthropological thought has tended to be underestimated by the current generation. It is impossible in a limited space to do justice to the entire range of his activities. However, in order to place him in proper perspective some brief comments are in order concerning his contributions to three aspects of the discipline, two of which have tended to go unnoticed.

While it may seem superfluous to mention Leslie Spier's research achievements, an area in which he was accorded international recognition, certain facets of his work will bear review because they have relevance for the contemportry scene. First, like other anthropologists of his period, he encompassed the entire field of anthropology, as is amply documented by his publications. That he was productive is attested by such monographic monuments as Havasupai Ethnography, Wishram Ethnography (with Edward Sapir), Klamath Ethnography, Yuman Tribes of the Gila River, and Sinkaietk or Southern Okanagon of Washington (Walter Cline et al.) for which Spier was largely responsible.

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