The University of Wisconsin Press

Anthropology / History


Excluded Ancestors, Inventible Traditions
Essays Toward a More Inclusive History of Anthropology
Edited by Richard Handler

History of Anthropology (VOLUME NINE)
Richard Handler, Series Editor

Excluded Ancestors seeks to widen the anthropological past and, in doing so, to invigorate contemporary anthropological practice.

History-making can be used both to bolster and to contest the legitimacy of established canons. In the past decade, anthropologists have become increasingly aware of the ways in which participation in professional anthropology has depended and continues to depend on categorical boundaries of race, class, gender, citizenship, institutional and disciplinary affiliation, and English-language proficiency. Historians of anthropology play a crucial role both in setting and questioning those boundaries; as they do, they make newly available the work of anthropologists who have been ignored.

Excluded Ancestors focuses on little-known scholars who contributed to the anthropological work of their time, such as John William Jackson, the members of the Hampton Folk-Lore Society, Charlotte Gower Chapman, and Lucie Varga. In addition, essays on Marius Barbeau and Sol Tax present figures who were centrally located in the anthropologies of their day but who are not currently well remembered. A final essay analyzes notions of “the canon” and considers the place of a classic ethnographic area, highland New Guinea, in anthropological canon-formation.

The essays in Forgotten Ancestors illustrate different processes of inclusion and exclusion in the history of anthropology. Taken together, they suggest a larger project of historical recuperation that contemporary anthropologists find increasingly relevant to both their theoretical and their political concerns. Contributors include Peter Pels, Lee Baker, Frances Slaney, Maria Lepowsky, George Stocking, Ronald Stade, and Douglas Dalton.

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 Significant Others: Interpersonal and Professional Commitments in Anthropology, both published by the University of Wisconsin Press.

Inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at or (608) 263-0734.

Fall 1999
LC: 99-035054 GN
352 pp.    6 x 9
14 b/w photos

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