March 23, 2013

Franz Boas - The Shackles of Tradition

Franz Boas (July 9, 1858 – December 21, 1942) was a German-American anthropologist and a pioneer of modern anthropology who has been called the "Father of American Anthropology" and "the Father of Modern Anthropology". Like many such pioneers, he trained in other disciplines; he received his doctorate in physics, and did post-doctoral work in geography. He applied the scientific method to the study of human cultures and societies; previously this discipline was based on the formulation of grand theories around anecdotal knowledge.

Boas once summed up his approach to anthropology and folklore by saying: "In the course of time I became convinced that a materialistic point of view, for a physicist a very real one, was untenable. This gave me a new point of view and I recognized the importance of studying the interaction between the organic and inorganic, above all the relation between the life of a people and their physical environment."
YouTube Video Description - [Channel: ayabaya]:
Part of a television series on 'Strangers Abroad' shown in the 1990's. This is on the distinguished anthropologist Franz Boas. All credits to director, producer etc. are at the end of the film. For interviews of other anthropologists and other anthropological materials, please see

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