By Jerry Gershenhorn
Melville J. Herskovits and the Racial Politics of information is the 1st full-scale biography of the trailblazing anthropologist of African and African American cultures. Born right into a global of racial hierarchy, Melville J. Herskovits (1895–1963) hired actual anthropology and ethnography to undermine racist and hierarchical methods of brooding about humanity and to underscore the price of cultural variety. His learn in West Africa, the West Indies, and South the US documented the far-reaching impression of African cultures within the Americas. He based the 1st significant interdisciplinary American software in African reviews in 1948 at Northwestern college, and his arguable vintage the parable of the Negro prior delineated African cultural impacts on American blacks and showcased the vibrancy of African American tradition. He additionally helped forge the concept that of cultural relativism, fairly in his e-book guy and His Works. whereas Herskovits promoted African and African American experiences, he criticized a few activist black students, so much significantly Carter G. Woodson and W. E. B. Du Bois, whom he thought of propagandists as a result of their social reform orientation. After global struggle II, Herskovits turned an outspoken public determine, advocating African independence and attacking American policymakers who taken care of Africa as an item of chilly struggle technique. Drawing greatly on Herskovits’s inner most papers and released works, Jerry Gershenhorn’s biography acknowledges Herskovits’s many contributions and discusses the advanced effects of his conclusions, methodologies, and family members with African American students.
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Additional info for Melville J. Herskovits and the Racial Politics of Knowledge (Critical Studies in the History of Anthropology)
Embracing radical politics, Herskovits was attracted by the alternative brand of education o√ered at the New School. ’’≥≠ Meanwhile, he brieﬂy joined the Industrial Workers of the World (iww) and later published articles in H. L. ≥∞ Herskovits’s cohort was inﬂuenced by a number of revolutionary thinkers who established the relative nature of the physical world. Albert Einstein discovered that time and space were not immutable. Rather, they were contingent on the observer’s viewpoint. In his research on immigrants and their children, Franz Boas marshaled evidence that head shape changed from generation to generation.
S. Army Medical Corps in 1918 following the United States’s entrance in the First World War. Subsequent to the signing of the armistice in November 1918, but before returning stateside, Herskovits studied French history at the University of Poitiers, where he also served on the editorial sta√ of the student newspaper. ∞π Upon his return to the United States, Herskovits transferred to the University of Chicago, where he majored in history. ∞Ω In Chicago Herskovits embraced radical politics, self-reliance, and the intellectual life.
According to Boas’s culture concept—which replaced the race concept as an explanation for human behavioral di√erences—environmental and cultural inﬂuences were the primary determinants of behavior and intelligence; they were not predetermined by racial endowment. Leading the intellectual movement against Victorian notions of racial hierarchy and pseudoscientiﬁc racism, Boas sought to move anthropology away from its emphasis on racially determined behavior toward a more complex view that emphasized the environmental impact on hu17 The Making of an Anthropologist man behavior and culture.