Scenes from the High Desert

Scenes from the High Desert : JULIAN STEWARD'S LIFE AND THEORY

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Julian Steward (1902-72) is best remembered in American anthropology as the creator of cultural ecology, a theoretical approach that has influenced generations of archaeologists and cultural anthropologists. Virginia Kerns considers the intellectual and emotional influences of Steward's remarkable career, exploring his early life in the American West, his continued attachments to western landscapes and inhabitants, his research with Native Americans, and the writing of his classic work, Theory of Culture Change. With fluid prose and rich detail, the book captures the essence and breadth of Steward's career while carefully measuring the ways he reinforced the male-centered structure of mid-twentieth-century American anthropology.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 448 pages
  • 140 x 224 x 30mm | 557.92g
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0252076354
  • 9780252076350

Review quote

"The history of anthropology offers a unique opportunity to combine an interest in anthropological theory with the methods of ethnography and Karns' book succeeds remarkably well in demonstrating how this can be done... As the ethnographer forces us to look at Steward through her eyes, she often provokes or entices readers to make up their own mind about these matters, certainly if they happen to be anthropologists themselves. I think that this is one of the reasons why this book stands out from most of the run-of-the-mill 'intellectual biographes', which remain caught in the hermeneutics of self-referential thick description." Jan de Wolf, Utrecht University "This richly evocative story of a fiercely original anthropologist lights up the generation of scholars who taught him, argued with him, and learned from him." Sidney Mintz, William L. Straus Jr. Professor Emeritus of anthropology, Johns Hopkins University "A brilliant, exquisitely written account of the life of one of the most influential anthropologists of the twentieth century." Rita Wright, author of Gender and Archaeology "A work of consummate scholarship. Kerns's book is so effortlessly crafted and beautifully constructed that it has the quality often attributed to Inca walls -- you can't insert a knife blade between the stones." Robert L. Carneiro, author of The Muse of History and the Science of Culture
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About Virginia Kerns

Virginia Kerns, a professor of anthropology at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, is the author of Women and the Ancestors: Black Carib Kinship and Ritual.
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