Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Anthropology, History of
Josiah McC. Heyman
Anthropology is the science of humans. If we take science in a broad sense as rigorous intellectual inquiry, anthropology has occurred in a number of times and places, whenever literate thinkers recorded observations and analyses of humanity, particularly those involving diverse cultures and physical forms. Anthropology also refers to a historically specific social formation: the product of university-trained scholars within the boundaries of a discipline of the same name. In this sense, it has existed only since the late 19th century. Whichever definition we use, a few basic lines of inquiry apply. Anthropologists are influenced by their surrounding social, cultural, and political settings. In this sense, each era has its own anthropology. At the same time, the technology of recording intellectual products in writing enables an element of progress, as scholars look back on the work of previous writers. One can thus put forward a narrative of successive schools of ...