The University of Wisconsin Press

Anthropology / Literary Criticism


Romantic Motives
Essays on Anthropological Sensibility
Edited by George W. Stocking, Jr.

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

Romantic Motives explores a topic that has been underemphasized in the historiography of anthropology. Tracking the Romantic strains in the writings of Rousseau, Herder, Cushing, Sapir, Benedict, Redfield, Mead, Lévi-Strauss, and others, these essays show Romanticism as a permanent and recurrent tendency within the anthropological tradition.

This exploration of anthropology’s Romantic strains considers the writings of Benedict, Redfield, Mead, Rousseau, Herder, Sapir, Levi-Strauss, Cushing, Psalmanazar, and others. This fascinating collection notes that. . . the ‘reflexive,’ ‘hermeneutic,’ ‘interpretive,’ and ‘deconstructive’ proclivities of contemporary anthropology are to some extent all manifestations of the ‘Romantic sensibility’ at issue here. . . . What can be said about the ethnographic concern with ‘Romantic sensibility’ that counterpoints anthropology’s more dominant image of itself as a scientific discourse? . . . The editor of this fascinating collection notes that responding to this challenge is a more timely enterprise than might at first appear. In his long, concluding essay on the dualism of the anthropological tradition, Stocking [explores] ethnographic sensibility in three studies of the 1920s that later became the focus of famous controversies: Ruth Benedict on Pueblo culture; Robert Redfield on Tepoztlan; and Margaret Mead on Samoa. Romantic Motives maintains the high scholarly standards of this series.”

George W. Stocking, Jr.George W. Stocking, Jr. (1928–2013) was the Stein-Freiler Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Committee on the Conceptual Foundations of Science at the University of Chicago. He was editor of the History of Anthropology series published by the University of Wisconsin Press and the author of After Tylor: British Social Anthropology, 1888–1951; Victorian Anthropology; Race, Culture, and Evolution; The Ethnographer’s Magic; and Delimiting Anthropology. In 1993, he was awarded the Huxley Medal of the Royal Anthropological Institute.

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Essays on Anthropological Sensibility

February 1996

280 pp. 6 x 9
16 b/w photos  

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Paper $24.95 x
ISBN 978-
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“Among the most distinguished publications in anthropology, as well as in the history of social sciences.”
—George Marcus, Anthropologica

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