The University of Wisconsin Press

Anthropology / Intellectual History


The Ethnographer’s Magic and Other Essays
George W. Stocking Jr.

“It is George Stocking, more than anyone else, who has made the history of anthropology available to us. . . . [This] volume provides a multifaceted examination of anthropology from the time that ‘fieldwork’ emerged as a defining element of our profession until (almost) the present. . . . Essential reading for anthropologists now.”
—Daniel A. Segal, American Anthropologist

For this collection, Stocking has written comments on each of the eight essays included, as well as an introduction providing autobiographical and historiographical context and an afterword reconsidering major themes of the essays in relation to the recent past and present situation of academic anthropology. The essays themselves address the work and influence of Franz Boas and Bronislaw Malinowski; anthropology's powerfully mythic aspect and persistent strain of romantic primitivism; the contradictions of its relationship to the larger sociopolitical sphere; its problematic integration of a variety of natural scientific and humanistic inquiries; and the tension between its scientific aspirations and its subjectively acquired “data.”

George W. Stocking, Jr. (1928–2013) was the Stein-Freiler Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Department of Anthropology and the Committee on the Conceptual Foundations of Science at the University of Chicago. He was the author of many books, including Victorian Anthropology and After Tylor: British Social Anthropology, 1888–1951, and was the founder and long-time editor of the History of Anthropology series published by the University of Wisconsin Press. He was awarded the Huxley Medal of the Royal Anthropological Institute and the Franz Boas Award for Exemplary Service by the American Anthropological Association. His most recent book with the University of Wisconsin Press is Glimpses into My Own Black Box: An Exercise in Self-Deconstruction.

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November 1994
LC: 92-25829 GN
448 pp. 6 x 9 19 halftones

Book icon Paper $19.95 s
ISBN 978-0-299-13414-3
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The Ethnographer’s Magic may be read at several levels by practitioners from several disciplines: intellectual history, history of science, anthropology, even comparative literature, new cultural history, and literary criticism. Strikingly original in its design, it presents the historiographer as composer, responsive to his own lived experience [and] to those whom he encounters deliberately and by chance, defensive at times, disengaging himself from academic political sensibilities over certain issues, but, above all, a primary researcher into the further reaches of anthropology as a profession and as a discipline.”
—Joan Vincent, Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences

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