Series Spotlight – Critical Studies in the History of Anthropology

Find out more about key series from our presses.

Critical Studies in the History of Anthropology Series – University of Nebraska Press

Describe the series: 

The series titles examine the history of anthropology from the intertwined perspectives of presentism and historicism, or the incorporation of contemporary theoretical reflexivity and archival, oral, and visual primary source research. It is neo-Boasian mostly in orientation.

What are the aims of the series? Why/how is it important? 

The aim of the series supports research into the discipline of anthropology’s history, its schools of thought, methodological traditions, and theoretical genealogies. The series covers the traditional four subfields of the discipline: cultural anthropology, ethnography, archaeology, and linguistics to both inform contemporary researchers and students of anthropology of the discipline’s past. The series is important because it tracks the invisible genealogies of anthropology’s methodological and theoretical orientations, and offers historicist understandings of the theoretical continuities between generations of anthropological research.

The series will publish 25 volumes of the Franz Boas Papers: Documentary Edition, with Dr. Regna Darnell of University of Western Ontario as the general editor. The project received a $2.5 million grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada in 2012.

What was the catalyst for the series? Why was it started? 

The series began in 1997 as an effort to promote historicist understandings of anthropology’s past and to rectify the proliferation of sub-standard and under-sourced scholarship about anthropology by outside disciplines like History, Sociology, and Literature. There had been too much writing “about” anthropology and anthropologists from published primary sources (usually anthropologists’ published writings), and not enough research in anthropologists’ papers or collaborative research with indigenous communities where ethnographic fieldwork had taken place in the past. 

The series prioritizes books that are inductive from the standpoint of primary source research, utilizing archives, oral histories and traditions, material culture, and collaborative research with indigenous communities where prior ethnographic fieldwork had taken place.  

How do you create & maintain a series? How do you select new titles for a series? 

Nebraska Press created the series to promote historicism and contemporary theoretical concerns in the history of anthropology. The series editors maintain the series through invitations and scouting book manuscripts from any discipline concerned with the history of anthropology from the standpoint of primary source research. The momentum of the series, with over 30 titles, also attracts appropriate submissions and interest from scholars. As sponsoring editor, I also acquire/recommend projects to the series editors. We all work in tandem.

What’s next for the series? Is there anything you would like to add to it? 

University of Nebraska Press is excited about Robert McMahon’s recent edited collection, National Races: Transnational Power Struggles in the Sciences and Politics of Human Diversity, 1840-1945 (2019), since it addresses the social scientific bases for the rise of the right-wing racial nationalism now pervading political parties in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and elsewhere around the globe. We are currently interested in acquiring more books that deal with the history of linguistic anthropology from the early 18th Century to the present.

Sponsoring editor: Dr. Matthew F. Bokovoy, Senior Acquisitions Editor
Series Editors: Regna Darnell, University of Western Ontario
Robert Oppenheim, University of Texas, Austin
Stephen O. Murray, Independent Scholar – San Francisco (deceased 2019).