1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

History of Anthropological Knowledge, Practice, and Ethics

The department has a long, deep, and wide-ranging engagement with the history of anthropological thought and practices. More than about paying tribute to the monumental figures and transformative events of the discipline, its commitment has been directed to knowing how and why all of current anthropology possesses its genealogical ties to certain specific concepts and procedures, rather than to the multitudes of other possibilities. Thus it has sustained a concern for how the anthropological has historically subordinated anthropology while still holding promise for a more perspicaciously equipped identification of its internally operating principles. This purview particularly complicates the ways in which the boundaries between the inside and outside of the discipline have been continuously negotiated, reproduced, and reshaped by conversations with the anthropological Other. And yet it serves to provide powerful insights into the historical formation of a (primarily) Euro-American cultural production of the discipline, perhaps no better seen than in the at times uncomfortable partnership with the “scientific.” Often traceable in the distinctly cultivated (and addressed) cultural, conceptual and/or literary sensibilities of the anthropologist, the trans-culturally and trans-nationally anthropological continues to secure its place in the department’s obligation to the historical.