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Conclusion

Efram Sera-Shriar
Affiliation:
York University
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Summary

Perhaps some day [anthropologists] … will awake to the fact that the time spent in these armchair studies could be much more profitably occupied. Only natives can explain the meaning of the majority of designs and patterns, and not even all of them are sure as to what was meant by the artist in every case.

Alfred Cort Haddon, 1909

Disciplinary Transformations after 1871

This book has argued against the misconception that early nineteenth-century anthropology was fundamentally an armchair pursuit, with minimal analytical reflection, and detached from the activities of informants who were collecting and recording data in the field. This vision of the discipline's past started to take shape after Darwin and Tylor's heyday. During the 1890s the younger generation of naturalists writing on human diversity topics began to challenge the techniques of the older generation. One of the biggest critics of pre-1890s human variation studies was the naturalist Alfred Cort Haddon (1855–1940). Initially trained in biology and zoology, Haddon became an authority within anthropology after participating in the Cambridge Expedition to the Torres Straits (1898–1901). This expedition had a major effect on the observational practices researchers utilized in their studies of humans. In particular, it encouraged the use of new forms of technology such as sound recording and film to further enrich anthropological observational techniques.

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Publisher: Pickering & Chatto
First published in: 2014

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  • Conclusion
  • Efram Sera-Shriar, York University
  • Book: The Making of British Anthropology, 1813–1871
  • Online publication: 05 December 2014
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  • Conclusion
  • Efram Sera-Shriar, York University
  • Book: The Making of British Anthropology, 1813–1871
  • Online publication: 05 December 2014
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Conclusion
  • Efram Sera-Shriar, York University
  • Book: The Making of British Anthropology, 1813–1871
  • Online publication: 05 December 2014
Available formats
×