A New History of Anthropology by Henrika Kuklick

By Henrika Kuklick

A brand new heritage of Anthropology collects unique writings from pre-eminent students to create a cosmopolitan yet obtainable consultant to the advance of the sphere.

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Powell’s geological outlook was consistent with his interest in the cultural practices of the Ute and Shoshone, whose simple technology produced a living from the desert. Although the BAE ethnologists were trained in fields ranging from geology to journalism to theology, they quickly set new standards for scientific research. Powell was able to amass a database for understanding the American Indian by eliciting information from (usually unpaid) amateurs who were in contact with Indians, supplementing their labors with fieldwork by his permanent staff.

His writings also included a stage theory of civilization – one that arranges all peoples in a hierarchy that ascends to full civility, in which human beings live in a peaceful, orderly polity. All had the same beginnings in barbarism, characterized by violence and irreligion. Las Casas’s stage theory of social development was an alternative to theories of Amerindians’ depravity, an attempt to plead for a recognition of their full humanity (Pagden 1982: 142). Another remarkable Spanish analyst of indigenous Americans was the Jesuit missionary José de Acosta (1540 –1600).

Las Casas traveled to the New World several times, first visiting what is today Haiti in 1502, and subsequently going to Cuba, Venezuela and Mexico (Pagden in Las Casas 1992: xviii–xxiii, xxxvii). He witnessed atrocities, the enslavement of indigenous peoples, and their masters’ ruthless contempt toward them. A member of the Dominican order who left Spain for the first time without an inkling of what awaited him, Las Casas worked tirelessly and risked his own life and reputation to call attention to the evils he discovered, never losing his sense of moral outrage.

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