The University of Wisconsin Press

Anthropology / History


Central Sites, Peripheral Visions
Cultural and Institutional Crossings
in the History of Anthropology
Edited by Richard Handler

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

“Four substantive, edgy essays are matched with George Stocking’s tour de force depiction of an ‘ordinary’ mid-century anthropologist persecuted as a Communist by the FBI. The multiple avenues of exploration opened in this work will be traveled for some time to come.”

—Michael Lambek, University of Toronto

Central Sites, Peripheral Visions presents five case studies that explore the dilemmas, moral as well as political, that emerge out of anthropology’s unique positon as both control and periphery. From David Koester’s analysis of how ethnographic descriptions of Iceland marginalized that country's population, to Kath Weston’s account of an offshore penal colony where officials mixed prison work with ethnographic pursuits, from Brad Evans’s reflections on the “bohemianism” of both the Harlem vogue and American anthropology, to Arthur J. Ray’s study of anthropologists who serve as expert witnesses in legal cases, the essays in the eleventh volume of the History of Anthropology series reflect on anthropology’s always problematic status as centrally peripheral, or peripherally central.

Finally, George W. Stocking, Jr., in a contribution that is almost a book in its own right, traces the professional trajectory of American anthropologist Robert Gelston Armstrong, who was unceremoniously expelled from his position at the University of Chicago because of his communist sympathies in the 1950s. By taking up Armstrong’s unfinished business decades later, Stocking engages in an extended meditation on the relationship between center and periphery and offers “a kind of posthumous reparation,” a page in the history of the discipline for a distant colleague who might otherwise have remained in the footnotes.

Richard Handler is professor of anthropology at the University of Virginia. He is author of Critics against Culture and Nationalism and the Politics of Culture in Quebec, and coauthor of Jane Austen and the Fiction of Culture and The New History in an Old Museum.

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cover of Handler's book is illustrated with an old photo of a man and a censored document.

December 2006

LC: 2006008623 GN
448 pp. 6 x 9
13 b/w photos, 2 illus.

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Cloth $24.95 s
ISBN 978-0-299-21920-8
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