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Author Gershenhorn, Jerry.

Title Melville J. Herskovits and the racial politics of knowledge / Jerry Gershenhorn
Published Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press, [2004]
Online access available from:
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Description 1 online resource (xvii, 338 pages) : illustrations
Series Critical studies in the history of anthropology
Critical studies in the history of anthropology.
Summary Melville J. Herskovits and the Racial Politics of Knowledge is the first full-scale biography of the trailblazing anthropologist of African and African American cultures. Born into a world of racial hierarchy, Melville J. Herskovits (1895-1963) employed physical anthropology and ethnography to undermine racist and hierarchical ways of thinking about humanity and to underscore the value of cultural diversity. His research in West Africa, the West Indies, and South America documented the far-reaching influence of African cultures in the Americas. He founded the first major interdisciplinary American program in African studies in 1948 at Northwestern University, and his controversial classic The Myth of the Negro Past delineated African cultural influences on American blacks and showcased the vibrancy of African American culture. He also helped forge the concept of cultural relativism, particularly in his book Man and His Works. Drawing extensively on Herskovits's private papers and published works, Jerry Gershenhorn's biography recognizes Herskovits's many contributions and discusses the complex consequences of his conclusions, methodologies, and relations with African American scholars
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 241-327) and index
Notes Print version record
Subject Herskovits, Melville J. (Melville Jean), 1895-1963.
African Americans -- Anthropometry.
African Americans -- Social life and customs.
African diaspora.
Anthropologists -- Africa, West -- Biography.
Anthropologists -- United States -- Biography.
Cultural relativism -- Africa, West.
Racism in anthropology -- United States.
Self-determination, National -- Africa, West.
Africa, Western -- Social life and customs.
Genre/Form Biography.
Form Electronic book
ISBN 0803203950 (electronic bk.)
0803221878 (alk. paper)
9780803203952 (electronic bk.)
9780803221871 (alk. paper)