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Indigenous VisionsRediscovering the World of Franz Boas$
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Ned Blackhawk and Isaiah Lorado Wilner

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780300196511

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300196511.001.0001

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“Culture” Crosses the Atlantic: The German Sources of The Mind of Primitive Man

“Culture” Crosses the Atlantic: The German Sources of The Mind of Primitive Man

(p.91) Chapter 4 “Culture” Crosses the Atlantic: The German Sources of The Mind of Primitive Man
Indigenous Visions

Harry Liebersohn

Yale University Press

This chapter explores the Franz Boas's German sources and how he used them, focusing on his book The Mind of Primitive Man. Boas was a proud graduate of the German research university, and after his move to the United States he continued to practice its virtues and its emphasis on detailed empirical research and methodological self-consciousness. His intellectual friendship with Carl Stumpf, a prewar Berlin professor, also underlines the intellectual style of a time and place. The chapter further argues that in Boas's anthropology, culture became a fluid, historical concept, relatively autonomous but open to new elements and reconfiguration. In the end, it was Boas, not Stumpf or his colleagues in the superbly knowledgeable and cultivated universities of prewar Germany, who became the founder of the modern study of culture.

Keywords:   Franz Boas, German sources, Carl Stumpf, culture, anthropology

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