Anthropology / Archaeology


Significant Others
Interpersonal and Professional Commitments in Anthropology
Edited by Richard Handler

History of Anthropology
Richard Handler, General Editor

Together in the field

"A winsome and intelligent young lady . . . used to do typing for [an anthropologist]. . . . On his birthday she brought him a sheaf of typescript in gift wrappings. It was the whole of [Edward Sapir's] 'Time Perspective,' which she had meticulously copied. He married her."—David Mendelbaum, 1949

Anthropology is by definition about "others," but in this volume the phrase refers not to members of observed cultures, but to "significant others"—spouses, lovers, and others with whom anthropologists have deep relationships that are both personal and professional. The essays in this volume look at the roles of these spouses and partners of anthropologists over the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, especially their work as they accompanied the anthropologists in the field. Other relationships discussed include those between anthropologists and informants, mentors and students, cohorts and partners, and parents and children. The book closes with a look at gender roles in the field, demonstrated by the "marriage" in the late nineteenth century of the male Anthropological Society of Washington to the Women's Anthropological Society of America.

Richard Handler is professor of anthropology at the University of Virginia. He is author of Nationalism and the Politics of Culture in Quebec, and editor of Excluded Ancestors, Inventible Traditions, both published by the University of Wisconsin Press.


January 2003
352 pp. 6 x 9
ISBN 0-299-19470-1 Cloth $35.00 s

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