Ant 200: Syllabus



Anthropology 200: History of Anthropology

[Fall Quarter 2013, Th. 12:10-3:00PM; CRN 54020; 224 Young Hall]

Prof. Bruce Winterhalder
Anthropology, and Graduate Group in Ecology
(218 Young Hall;




The catalog description of this class calls for study of the history of socio-cultural anthropology theory, from the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries. It promises to focus on original texts in the context of the development of the field as a whole. We will take both of these charges seriously.

As historical background, we will read Roy Porter's small book, The Enlightenment, and Robert Layton's, An Introduction to Theory in Anthropology. We will then read all or most of four original, monograph-length works by central historical figures: Darwin, Engels, Boas and Steward.  All fall roughly within our time period.  Each is essential to the development of our field; each figures prominently in its present configuration and issues.  A half-dozen other individuals could have been chosen and we will not completely neglect one of the most important of the missing: Marx.  I likewise will recommend that you read the section introductions in the McGee and Warms reader, Anthropological Theory: An Introductory History, dipping into the original selections as you choose.

Finally, I will ask each of you to read and report on one additional, more recent volume, focused on interpreting the history of Anthropology.  I have listed six titles (see below) from which you may select, depending on your own particular interests.  If you have another selection you are eager to read, I am receptive to being convinced that we should add it to the list.

The seminar is open to graduate students.  Advanced undergraduates in Anthropology or a related social science may register by permission.  It does not presume previous courses in Anthropology or the history of the field, although those would be useful.  It should be of interest to any student in the subfields of economic, ecological, social or archaeological anthropology, broadly speaking.

Reading Materials (Books)

There are six required books, which we will read and discuss as a group. They are available at Student Stores. They include:

Darwin, Charles.  1997 [1871-72].  The Descent of Man.  Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.

Engels, Frederick.  1972 [1884].  The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State.  New York, NY:  International Publishers.

Layton, Robert.  1997.  An Introduction to Theory in Anthropology.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Porter, Roy.  2001.  The Enlightenment, 2nd ed.  New York: Palgrave.

Steward, Julian H.  1955.  Theory of Culture Change: The Methodology of Multilinear Evolution.  Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.

Stocking Jr., G. W.  1974.  A Franz Boas Reader: The Shaping of American Anthropology 1883-1911.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Also available at Students Stores, and recommend for selections:

McGee, R. J., and R. L. Warms (eds.).  2008.  Anthropological Theory: An Introductory History, 4th ed. New York: McGraw Hill.

In addition, I will ask each of you to read and report on one of the following, more recent works on the history of socio-cultural anthropology:

Elster, Jon.  1985.  Making Sense of Marx.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hiatt, L. R.  1996.  Arguments About Aborigines: Australia and the Evolution of Social Anthropology.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kerns, Virginia. 2003. Scenes from the High Desert: Julian Steward's Life and Theory. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Kuper, Adam.  1988.  The Invention of Primitive Society: Transformations of an Illusion. New York: Routledge.

Patterson, Thomas.  2004.  Marx’s Ghost: Conversations with Archaeologists.  Oxford: Berg Publishers.

Segerstråle, Ullica. 2000. Defenders of the Truth: The Sociobiology Debate. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Reading Materials (Papers)

Stocking, G. W., Jr.  1968  On the limits of "presentism" and "historicism" in the historiography of the behavioral sciences.  In Race, Culture and Evolution: Essays in the History of Anthropology, edited by G. W. Stocking, Jr., pp. 1-12. The Free Press, New York.

Lewis, H. S. 1999 The misrepresentation of anthropology and its consequences. American Anthropologist 100:716-731.

Lewis, H. S. 2001 Boas, Darwin, science, and anthropology. Current Anthropology 42:381-406.

Lewis, H. S. 2001 The passion of Franz Boas. American Anthropologist 103:447-467.

Office Hours

I will have office hours by appointment.  Please contact me if you have questions or suggestions, or just want to discuss the course or related materials.  I use email regularly and can always be reached at:

Course Organization and Expectations

We will meet once a week for approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes, with a short break midway through the period. Following the introductory meeting, the quarter will be devoted to discussion of Layton, Porter, the four articles and the monographic readings.  One or more of you (depending on enrollment) will be responsible for leading discussion in most class sessions.

Written Assignments

For each class numbered 3 through 7, please post to the appropriate Smartsite "Resources" folder 3-5 discussion questions on the assigned readings.  Bring three copies to class.  One is for me, one for the discussion leaders, and one for you.  I encourage you to keep written notes (in the form of a précis) on your readings.  You will have to be quite selective about their length.

I anticipate having two written projects.  The first is an 8-12 page, double-spaced, essay book review on your supplemental reading selection.

The second will be a power point presentation with accompanying notes, of sufficient length and detail to constitute an hour and twenty-minute lecture, on a key individual in the history of Anthropology (e.g., Boas, Childe, Durkheim, Kroeber, Lévi-Strauss, Malinowski, Mauss, Marx, Morgan, Radclifffe-Brown, Spencer, Steward, Westermarck, White, or Wittfogel).  The resulting presentations will be placed on SmartSite with those from previous classes, where they will be available to each of you, a 'starter kit' for your own class on the history of anthropology.

Oral Assignments

Your oral responsibilities are several.  If you are the discussion leader(s), you should prepare a brief introduction to the readings (no more than 5-10 minutes), know the material thoroughly, and be prepared to talk about it.  You should be prepared to pose questions to your classmates, yours and theirs, and to guide discussion productively.

In those class sessions in which you are not a discussion leader, you should come to class prepared to analyze and talk about the material, and help others to answer their questions.  Please be prepared to refer to supporting text, by page number, when formulating your thoughts on the readings.


Your main responsibility is to come to class prepared to discuss the readings.  You may wish to raise questions about the interpretation or to offer observations from your own knowledge and experience.  It is equally appropriate (and potentially enlightening to all of us) to express bafflement, offer an insight, or to comment on what you found striking or especially interesting, perhaps troublesome, about the materials.

There is a lot of reading for this class, so you will have to be smart and selective about the parts you read carefully and those you read with less diligence.


I will weight assignments as follows:

Written Questions (20%)

Supplemental Reading, written review and oral presentation (30%

General oral participation & knowledge of material, as leader and as discussant (50%)

Week/ Class Date
Class Activity and Discussion Leader(s)
Week 1
(26 September)

Stocking 1968
Lewis 1999

No class (BW out of town)
Week 2
(03 October)

Layton, Chs. 1, 2

Darwin, Chs. 1-7

Description of course, review of syllabus, personal introductions.

Assignment of Discussion Leaders:

Discuss: Stocking 1968, Lewis 1999, Porter

Week 3
(10 October)

Layton, Ch. 3

Darwin Chs. 8 & 17-21

Layton, Chs. 1, 2
Darwin Chs. 1-7


Week 4
(17 October)
Layton, Ch. 4

Layton, Ch. 3

Darwin, Chs. 8 & 17-21


Week 5
(24 October)

Layton, Ch. 5

Lewis, 2001a, 2001b

Stocking, Pts. 1-3


Layton, Ch. 4



Week 6
(31 October)

Layton, Ch. 6

Stocking, Pts. 6, 7
& 10

Layton, Ch. 5

Lewis, 2001a, 2001b

Stocking, Pts. 1-3


Week 7
(07 November)

Layton, Ch. 7


Layton, Ch. 6

Stocking, Pts. 6, 7 & 10


Week 8
(14 November)


Layton, Ch. 7



Week 9
(21 November)

Presentations: Supplemental Volumes

Note: Nov 28th is Thanks-Giving

Week 10
(05 December)

Presentations: Supplemental Volumes

Summary and Conclusions
Course Review