Anthropological Theory for the Twenty-First Century: A Critical Approach

By A. Lynn Bolles, Ruth Gomberg-Muñoz, Bernard C. Perley, and Keri Vacanti Brondo

© 2022

Anthropological Theory for the Twenty-First Century presents a critical approach to the study of anthropological theory for the next generation of aspiring anthropologists. Through a carefully curated selection of readings, this collection reflects the diversity of scholars who have long contributed to the development of anthropological theory, incorporating writings by scholars of colour, non-Western scholars, and others whose contributions have historically been under-acknowledged. The volume puts writings from established canonical thinkers, such as Marx, Boas, and Foucault, into productive conversations with DuBois, Ortíz, Medicine, Trouillot, Said, and many others. The authors also engage in critical conversations surrounding the "canon" itself, including its colonial history and decolonial potential.

Updating the canon with late twentieth century and early twenty-first century scholarship, this reader includes discussions of contemporary theories such as queer theory, decolonial theory, ontology, and anti-racism. Each section is framed by clear and concise editorial introductions that place the readings in context and conversation with each other. Posing thoughtful questions to students, and including a glossary to facilitate reader comprehension, the authors have also designed a dynamic companion website to recommend additional resources, including multimedia materials, supplemental readings, links to author websites, and more.

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  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 384 pages
  • Illustrations: 10
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
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Quick Overview

This new collection of anthropological theory updates and diversifies the canon with contributions by important yet underrepresented scholars and theoretical discussions that reflect the state of the discipline today.

Anthropological Theory for the Twenty-First Century: A Critical Approach

By A. Lynn Bolles, Ruth Gomberg-Muñoz, Bernard C. Perley, and Keri Vacanti Brondo

© 2022

Anthropological Theory for the Twenty-First Century presents a critical approach to the study of anthropological theory for the next generation of aspiring anthropologists. Through a carefully curated selection of readings, this collection reflects the diversity of scholars who have long contributed to the development of anthropological theory, incorporating writings by scholars of colour, non-Western scholars, and others whose contributions have historically been under-acknowledged. The volume puts writings from established canonical thinkers, such as Marx, Boas, and Foucault, into productive conversations with DuBois, Ortíz, Medicine, Trouillot, Said, and many others. The authors also engage in critical conversations surrounding the "canon" itself, including its colonial history and decolonial potential.

Updating the canon with late twentieth century and early twenty-first century scholarship, this reader includes discussions of contemporary theories such as queer theory, decolonial theory, ontology, and anti-racism. Each section is framed by clear and concise editorial introductions that place the readings in context and conversation with each other. Posing thoughtful questions to students, and including a glossary to facilitate reader comprehension, the authors have also designed a dynamic companion website to recommend additional resources, including multimedia materials, supplemental readings, links to author websites, and more.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 384 pages
  • Illustrations: 10
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
  • Author Information

    A. Lynn Bolles is a professor emerita in the Department of Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland.


    Ruth Gomberg-Muñoz is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at Loyola University Chicago.


    Bernard C. Perley is an associate professor and director of the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies at the University of British Columbia.


    Keri Vacanti Brondo is a professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Memphis.
  • Table of contents

    Timeline
    Introduction: A Contested Canon

    Section One: On Roots of Social Difference
    Editors’ Introduction 

    1. William Apess. 1833. An Indian’s Looking Glass for the White Man. In On Our Own Ground.
    2. Frederick Douglass. 1854. The Claims of the Negro, Ethnologically Considered.
    3. Karl Marx and Frederich Engels. 1872.  Bourgeois and Proletarians. In The Communist Manifesto.
    4. Lewis Henry Morgan. 1877. Ethnical Periods. In Ancient Society.
    5. Lucy Parsons. 1905. Afternoon Session, June 29th. In Speeches at the Founding Convention of the Industrial Workers of the World. 
    6. Max Weber. 1905. Excerpts from The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.

    Section Two: On Methods of Fieldwork
    Editors’ Introduction

    1. Edward Sapir. 1912. Language and Environment 1.
    2. Arthur Caswell Parker. 1916. The Origin of the Iroquois As Suggested by their Archaeology.
    3. Franz Boas. 1920. Methods of Ethnology.
    4. Margaret Mead. 1926. The Methodology of Racial Testing: Its Significance for Sociology.
    5. Zora Neale Hurston. 1935. Excerpts from Mules and Men.

    Section Three: On Hidden Logics of Culture
    Editors’ Introduction

    1. Bronisław Malinowski. 1922. The Essentials of the Kula. In Argonauts of the Western Pacific.
    2. Ruth Benedict. 1935. The Science of Custom. In Patterns of Culture.
    3. Marcel Mauss. 1950 [1925]. Introduction. In The Gift.
    4. Claude Lévi-Strauss. 1951. Language and the Analysis of Social Laws.
    5. Jomo Kenyatta. 1965 [1938]. Excerpts from Facing Mt. Kenya.

    Section Four: On Power, History, and Inequality
    Editors’ Introduction

    1. W.E.B. DuBois. 1935. The White Worker. In Black Reconstruction in America, 1860-1880.
    2. Fernando Ortiz. 1940. On the Social Phenomenon of “Transculturation” and Its Importance in Cuba. In Cuban Counterpoint: Tobacco and Sugar.
    3. Eric Wolf. 1982. The World in 1400. In Europe and the People without History.
    4. Eleanor Leacock. 1983. Interpreting the Origins of Gender Inequality: Conceptual and Historical Problems.
    5. Paul Farmer. 2004. An Anthropology of Structural Violence.

    Section Five: On Writing Cultures
    Editors’ Introduction

    1. Katherine Dunham. 1946. Twenty-Seventh Day. In Journey to Accompong.
    2. Clifford Geertz. 1972. Notes on the Balinese Cockfight. In The Interpretation of Cultures.
    3. Renato Rosaldo. 1993 [1989]. Grief and the Headhunters Rage. In Culture and Truth.
    4. Lila Abu-Lughod. 1993. Writing Against Culture. In Recapturing Anthropology.
    5. Rosabelle Boswell. 2017. Sensuous Stories in the Indian Ocean Islands.

    Section Six: On Colonialism and Anthropological “Others”
    Editors’ Introduction

    1. Edward Said. 1979. Knowing the Oriental. In Orientalism.
    2. Esteban Krotz. 1997. Anthropologies of the South: Their Rise, Their Silencing, Their Characteristics.
    3. Beatrice Medicine. 2001. Learning to Be an Anthropologist and Remaining “Native.”
    4. Rolph-Michel Trouillot. 2003. Anthropology and the Savage Slot: The Poetics and Politics of Otherness. In Global Transformations. 
    5. Epeli Hau’ofa. 2008. Our Sea of Islands. In We Are the Ocean.

    Section Seven: On Anthropology and Gender
    Editors’ Introduction

    1. Sally Slocum. 1975. Woman the Gatherer: Male Bias in Anthropology. In Toward an Anthropology of Women.
    2. Sylvia Junko Yanagisako and Jane Fishburne Collier. 1987. Toward a Unified Analysis of Gender and Kinship. In Gender and Kinship.
    3. Ifi Amadiume. 1987. Excerpts from Male Daughters, Female Husbands: Gender and Sex in an African Society.
    4. Karen Brodkin Sacks. 1989. Toward a Unified Theory of Class, Race, and Gender.
    5. Philippe Bourgois. 1996. In Search of Masculinity: Violence, Respect and Sexuality among Puerto Rican Crack Dealers in East Harlem.

    Section Eight:: On Queering Anthropological Knowledge Production
    Editors’ Introduction

    1. Michel Foucault. 1976. Excerpts from The History of Sexuality, Vol. I.
    2. E.B. Towle and L.M. Morgan. 2002. Romancing the Transgender Native: Rethinking the Use of the "Third Gender" Concept.
    3. Susan Stryker. 2007. Transgender Feminism. In Third Wave Feminism.
    4. Jafari Allen. 2012. One Way or Another: Erotic Subjectivity in Cuba.
    5. Savannah Shange. 2019. Play Aunties and Dyke Bitches: Gender, Generation, and the Ethics of Black Queer Kinship.

    Section Nine: On Science, Politics, and Position
    Editors’ Introduction

    1. Donna Haraway. 1988. Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective.
    2. Delmos Jones. 1995. Anthropology and the Oppressed: A Reflection on "Native" Anthropology.
    3. Dana-Ain Davis. 2003. What Did You Do Today? Notes From a Politically Engaged Anthropologist.
    4. Heike Becker, Emile Boonzaier, and Joy Owen. 2005. Fieldwork in Shared Spaces: Positionality, Power and Ethics of Citizen Anthropologists in Southern Africa.
    5. Bernard Perley. 2013. “Gone Anthropologist”: Epistemic Slippage, Native Anthropology, and the Dilemmas of Representation. In Anthropology and the Politics of Representation.

    Section Ten: On Globalization and Cultural Analyses
    Editors’ Introduction

    1. Arjun Appadurai. 1986. Theory in Anthropology: Center and Periphery.
    2. Akhil Gupta and James Ferguson. 1992. Beyond “Culture”: Space, Identity, and the Politics of Difference.
    3. Aihwa Ong. 2006. Mutations in Citizenship.
    4. Faye Harrison. 2008. Global Apartheid at Home and Abroad. In Outsider Within.
    5. Gustavo Ribeiro Lins. 2009. Non-Hegemonic Globalizations: Alter-Native Transnational Processes and Agents.

    Section Eleven: On Environment, Pluriverse, and Power
    Editors’ Introduction

    1. Julian Steward. 1955. The Concept and Method of Cultural Ecology. In The Theory of Culture Change.
    2. Paige West. 2005. Translation, Value, and Space: Theorizing an Ethnographic and Engaged Environmental Anthropology. 
    3. Zöe Todd. 2015. Indigenizing the Anthropocene. In Art in the Anthropocene.
    4. Arturo Escobar. 2018. Excerpts from Designs for a Pluriverse: Radical Interdependence, Autonomy and the Making of Worlds.
    5. Alaka Wali. 2020. Complicity and Resistance in the Indigenous Amazon: Economia Indigena Under Siege. In Terrestrial Transformations.

    Section Twelve: On State Power
    Editors’ Introduction

    1. Pierre Bourdieu. 1992. Symbolic Power.
    2. Begoña Aretxaga. 1998. What the Border Hides: Partition and Gender Politics of Irish Nationalism.
    3. Katherine Verdery. 2002. Seeing Like a Mayor. Or, How Local Officials Obstructed Romanian Land Restitution.
    4. Achille Mbembé. 2003. Necropolitics.
    5. Christen Smith. 2013. Strange Fruit: Brazil, Necropolitics, and the Transnational Resonance of Torture and Death.

    Section Thirteen: On Politics of Agency and Social Struggle
    Editors’ Introduction

    1. Saba Mahmood. 2005. The Subject of Freedom. In Politics of Piety.
    2. Shalini Shankar. 2008. Speaking like a Model Minority: “FOB” Styles, Gender, and Racial Meanings among Desi Teens in Silicon Valley.
    3. Victoria Redclift. 2013. Abjects or Agents? Camps, Contests, and the Creation of “Political Space.”
    4. Yarimar Bonilla and Jonathan Rosa. 2015. #Ferguson: Digital Protest, Hashtag Ethnography, and the Racial Politics of Social Media in the United States.
    5. Audra Simpson. 2016. Consent’s Revenge.

    Section Fourteen: Rethinking Anthropology for the Twenty-First Century
    Editors’ Introduction

    1. A. Lynn Bolles. 2001. Seeking the Ancestors: Forging a Black Feminist Tradition in Anthropology. In Black Feminist Anthropology.
    2. Leith Mullings. 2005. Interrogating Racism: Toward an Antiracist Anthropology.
    3. Ghasan Hage. 2016. Towards an Ethics of the Theoretical Encounter.
    4. Jeff Maskovsky and Ida Susser. 2016. A Critical Anthropology for the Present. In After the Crisis.
    5. Kim Tallbear. 2019. Caretaking Relations, Not American Dreaming.

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