Anthropologists and the Rediscovery of America, 1886–1965
Anthropologists and the Rediscovery of America, 1886-1965
by John S. Gilkeson
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Between the start of the First World War and the aftermath of the Second, a small group of American intellectuals began to search for new answers to the question of what makes us human. They were no more than a dozen at the start, outsiders in one way or another—secular Jews, immigrants from Europe, young women. Yet they rapidly rose to influence in New York, Berkeley, Cambridge, New Haven, and Chicago, and in a few decades their ideas would reorient American attitudes toward matters as basic to existence as race, sex, and human nature. They were anthropologists, and as John Gilkeson demonstrates in Anthropologists and the Rediscovery of America, they championed a new concept of culture.
Following Matthew Arnold's famed formulation, intellectuals had regarded culture as "the best that has been thought and said"
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