AAA Annual Meeting Program

AAA Annual Meeting Program Details


View Session Details
Paper Information:
This paper may be of particular interest to:  Practicing and Applied Anthropologists     Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges     Students
Type: Paper
Paper Title: WHAT HAPPENED TO THE FOUR-FIELD APPROACH?: THE SPLINTERING OF AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGY
Author: JAKOB SEDIG   
Date/Time: Sun., 11:45 AM
Co-Author(s): JAKOB SEDIG 
Abstract: American Anthropology grew up under a unique set of circumstances. Unlike in Europe, where historians and sociologists were basically studying themselves, in America a displaced “other” could be researched. Every aspect of Native American life--their language, biological make-up, history, and culture--could be compared and contrasted to European life. Early researchers, such as Boas, also realized that these people were rapidly disappearing, and that a field needed to be developed to record as much about Native Americans as possible before they vanished from the face of the Earth. Thus, the four-field anthropological approach was born. And for a while it worked. Recently, however, anthropology departments across the U.S. have been disintegrating. Biological anthropologists can’t get along with cultural anthropologists, archaeologists want to be associated with history instead of anthropology, and linguists have their own departments separate from anthropology. This paper will trace the history of American anthropology and how it has changed from a combined, four-field study of humans to a secularized field. From my own personal experiences in archaeology it is apparent that a mixed methods approach, in which theories and data are exchanged between all subfields, is still essential to understanding human history. But American archaeology seems to be the only sub-field where this is so. In this paper, I will use surveys and interviews of graduate students and professors in anthropology to gauge opinions on the four-field approach to anthropology and determine if it has any utility left.

Program Number: 5-0365
Session Title: SPEAKING THE SAME LANGUAGE: BRIDGING THE EVER-GROWING DISCIPLINARY DIVIDE BETWEEN CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY AND ARCHAEOLOGY
Session Sponsor: Archaeology Division
Session Date/Time: Sun., 10:15 AM-12:00 PM
Organizer(s): IVY HEPP (Florida State University) 
Chair(s): IVY HEPP (Florida State University)  
View Session Details


Schedule-at-a-Glance

If you have any questions about the program, please contact the AAA Meetings Department at aaameetings@aaanet.org.