I’m delighted to feature this, our dozenenth SMOPS, for readers. These papers provide an excellent example of anthropology’s long term commitment to social justice, public outreach, and a critique of incorrect folk theories of heredity and race. The real gems of this paper are not Boas or Herskovits or even Sapir, but the sparkling, penetrating papers by Hendrik Willem Van Loon and, especially, Konrad Bercovici. Read them first.
I’m also delighted that this issue of SMOPS is the first to feature an introduction by someone other than me. I’d like to thank Richard Handler, a distinguished historian of anthropology, for providing a brief introduction to this issue.
The pieces here are reproduced in full. Numbers in brackets indicate page breaks in the original. I hope that this paper, like the others in this series, will help present anthropological theory in a form that is accessible to everyone. There is today a tremendous amount of material which is open access, but it is difficult to find, inconvenient to read, and many people do not know where to start looking for it. By curating a selection of important open access work, I hope to make open access resources better known and to raise awareness of the actual history of anthropological theory.
I’m so amazed and proud to see the way the anthropology noosphere has grown over the past few years. Where once we had two blogs and an Open Access lunch for six at the AAAs, we now have twitter meet-ups and more blogs and social media sites than you can shake a stick at. One missing piece of the puzzle, however, has been a good podcast. And now, thanks to the Society for Cultural Anthropology and their podcast series AnthroPod, we have that too. Go listen to it now.
That’s not to say that there haven’t been anthropology podcasts out there in the past. Savage Minds has played around with the genre from time to time, for instance. And of course the AAA has its own podcast series. But we at SM ultimately were too busy keeping the blog afloat to expand into podcasts, and the AAA series… well, the quality was somewhat uneven. Often podcasts would open up with a couple of seconds of static and then a phone dialing, and then people started talking, and if you listened for a while you slowly realized you were listening to Virginia Dominguez interview Marilyn Strathern. And even when they seemed a bit more professionally produced, these podcasts were too anthropological — too much for the sake of the interlocutors and not for the sake of the audience — to be interesting.