History of Anthro Thought

This is the homepage for a 2024 anthropology course titled “The History of Anthropological Thought.” As a textbook, we read through Anthropological Theory for the Twenty-First Century: A Critical Approach edited by A. Lynn Bolles, Ruth Gomberg-Muñoz, Bernard C. Perley, and Keri Vacanti Brondo.

Part 1


  • William Apess, “An Indian’s Looking Glass for the White Man” (1833)
  • Frederick Douglass, “The Claims of the Negro, Ethnologically Considered” (1854)
  • Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, “Bourgeois and Proletarians” (1872)


  • Lewis Henry Morgan, “Ethnical Periods” (1877)
  • Lucy Parsons, Speeches at the Founding Convention of the Industrial Workers of the World (1905)
  • Max Weber, Excerpt from The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905)


  • Edward Sapir, “Language and Environment” (1912)
  • Arthur Caswell Parker, “The Origin of the Iroquois as Suggested by their Archaeology” (1916)
  • Franz Boas, “Methods of Ethnology” (1920)
  • Margaret Mead, “The Methodology of Racial Testing: Its Significance for Sociology” (1926)
  • Zora Neale Hurston, Excerpt from Mules and Men (1935)


  • Bronisław Malinowski, “The Essentials of the Kula” (1922)
  • Marcel Mauss, Excerpt from The Gift (1925)
  • Ruth Benedict, “The Science of Custom” (1935)


  • Jomo Kenyatta, Excerpt from Facing Mt. Kenya (1938)
  • Claude Lévi-Strauss, “Language and the Analysis of Social Laws” (1951)


  • W.E.B. Du Bois, “The White Worker” (1935)
  • Fernando Ortiz, “On the Social Phenomenon of ‘Transculturation’ and Its Importance in Cuba” (1940)
  • Eric Wolf, “The World in 1400” (1982)


  • Ann L. Stoler, “Making Empire Respectable: The Politics of Race and Sexual Morality in 20th-Century Colonial Cultures” (1989)
  • Paul Farmer, “An Anthropology of Structural Violence” (2004)


  • Katherine Dunham, “Twenty-Seventh Day” (1946)
  • Clifford Geertz, “Notes on the Balinese Cockfight” (1973)
  • Renato Rosaldo, “Grief and the Headhunters Rage” (1989)
  • Lila Abu-Lughod, “Writing Against Culture” (1991)
  • Rosabelle Boswell, “Sensuous Stories in the Indian Ocean Islands” (2017)


  • Beatrice Medicine, “Learning to Be an Anthropologist and Remaining ‘Native'” (1978)
  • Edward W. Said, “Knowing the Oriental” (1979)
  • Esteban Krotz, “Anthropologies of the South: Their Rise, Their Silencing, Their Characteristics” (1997)


  • Michel-Rolph Trouillot, “Anthropology and the Savage Slot: The Poetics and Politics of Otherness” (1991)
  • Epeli Hau’ofa, “Our Sea of Islands” (2008)


  • Eleanor Burke Leacock, “Introduction to The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State: In the Light of the Researches of Lewis H. Morgan, by Frederick Engels” (1972)
  • Sylvia Junko Yanagisako & Jane Fishburne Collier, “Toward a Unified Analysis of Gender and Kinship” (1987)
  • Ifi Amadiume, Excerpt from Male Daughters, Female Husbands: Gender and Sex in an African Society (1987)
  • Gloria Anzaldúa, “La conciencia de la mestiza/Towards a new consciousness” (1987)
  • Philippe Bourgois, “In Search of Masculinity: Violence, Respect and Sexuality among Puerto Rican Crack Dealers in East Harlem” (1996)

Part 2


  • Michel Foucault, Excerpt from The History of Sexuality, Vol. I (1976)
  • Evan B. Towle & Lynn M. Morgan, “Romancing the Transgender Native: Rethinking the Use of the ‘Third Gender’ Concept” (2002)


  • Susan Stryker, “Transgender History, Homonormativity, and Disciplinarity” (2008)
  • Jafari Allen, “One Way or Another: Erotic Subjectivity in Cuba” (2012)
  • Savannah Shange, “Play Aunties and Dyke Bitches: Gender, Generation, and the Ethics of Black Queer Kinship” (2019)

Social Position

  • Donna Haraway, “Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective” (1988)
  • Delmos Jones, “Anthropology and the Oppressed: A Reflection on ‘Native’ Anthropology” (1995)
  • Dana-Ain Davis, “What Did You Do Today? Notes From a Politically Engaged Anthropologist” (2003)

Ethnographic Authority

  • Heike Becker, Emile Boonzaier, & Joy Owen, “Fieldwork in Shared Spaces: Positionality, Power and Ethics of Citizen Anthropologists in Southern Africa” (2005)
  • Bernard Perley, “‘Gone Anthropologist’: Epistemic Slippage, Native Anthropology, and the Dilemmas of Representation” (2013)

Beyond Culture

  • Arjun Appadurai, “Theory in Anthropology: Center and Periphery” (1986)
  • Akhil Gupta & James Ferguson, “Beyond ‘Culture’: Space, Identity, and the Politics of Difference” (1992)
  • Aihwa Ong, “Mutations in Citizenship” (2006)

Global Apartheid

  • Faye Harrison, “Global Apartheid at Home and Abroad” (2008)


  • Paige West, “Translation, Value, and Space: Theorizing an Ethnographic and Engaged Environmental Anthropology” (2005)
  • Zöe Todd, “Indigenizing the Anthropocene” (2015)
  • Arturo Escobar, Excerpt from Designs for a Pluriverse: Radical Interdependence, Autonomy and the Making of Worlds (2018)
  • Alaka Wali, “Complicity and Resistance in the Indigenous Amazon: Economía Indígena Under Siege” (2020)

State Power

  • Pierre Bourdieu, “Symbolic Power” (1977)
  • Begoña Aretxaga, “What the Border Hides: Partition and Gender Politics of Irish Nationalism” (1998)
  • Katherine Verdery, “Seeing like a mayor. Or, how local officials obstructed Romanian land restitution” (2002)


  • Achille Mbembé, “Necropolitics” (2003)
  • Christen Smith, “Strange Fruit: Brazil, Necropolitics, and the Transnational Resonance of Torture and Death” (2013)


  • Saba Mahmood, “The Subject of Freedom” (2005)
  • Shalini Shankar, “Speaking like a Model Minority: ‘FOB’ Styles, Gender, and Racial Meanings among Desi Teens in Silicon Valley” (2008)
  • Victoria Redclift, “Abjects or Agents? Camps, Contests, and the Creation of ‘Political Space.'” (2013)


  • Yarimar Bonilla & Jonathan Rosa, “#Ferguson: Digital Protest, Hashtag Ethnography, and the Racial Politics of Social Media in the United States” (2015)
  • Audra Simpson, “Consent’s Revenge” (2016)


  • Lynn Bolles, “Seeking the Ancestors: Forging a Black Feminist Tradition in Anthropology” (2001)
  • Leith Mullings, “Interrogating Racism: Toward an Antiracist Anthropology” (2005)
  • Ghassan Hage, “Towards an Ethics of the Theoretical Encounter” (2016)


  • Jeff Maskovsky, “At Home in the End Times”
  • Kim TallBear, “Caretaking Relations, Not American Dreaming” (2019)

Anthropological Theory Playlists

Living Anthropologically means documenting history, interconnection, and power during a time of global transformation. We need to care for others as we attempt to build a world together. This blog is a personal project of Jason Antrosio, author of Fast, Easy, and In Cash: Artisan Hardship and Hope in the Global Economy. For updates, subscribe to the YouTube channel or follow on Twitter.

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