Current Anthropology

Current Anthropology

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Author: Sol Tax etal (editors) from the library of Robert Van Kemper

Year: 1959-2010

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Place: Chicago


51 volumes complete with diagrams, illustrations, plates, maps, figures, indexes. Quarto (10 1/4" x 8 1/2") issued in wrappers. Some reprints, most first editions.

Current Anthropology, whose first issue was launched in 1959, is one of the discipline's oldest and most distinguished journals, and has been sponsored since its founding by the Wenner-Gren Foundation. The journal was the first of its kind, championing an interdisciplinary approach alongside a commitment to international dialogue, while fostering a community of international scholars. It became known for its innovative format that combined major research papers with responses solicited from the field. The format, now known as the “CA treatment” was unique in its time and was copied by other journals such as Behavioral and Brain Sciences. While the journal has changed over the years, its original principles are still clearly present and can be traced back to the unique collaboration between the Foundation, led by Paul Fejos,and the anthropologist Sol Tax (University of Chicago).Fejos and Tax first worked together as organizers of a state of the art conference on Meso-American ethnology in 1949. Tax edited the volumes that resulted from this meeting. During the next decade, as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health in the United States directed their considerable resources towards the funding of large-scale research projects. Fejos explored alternative avenues to expand the reach and impact of the Foundation on the discipline. One shift was to direct funding towards activities that fostered international communication: meetings, with their subsequent publications, would encourage contacts among scholars and permit them to share their knowledge on a worldwide scale. With this in mind, Fejos organized an International Symposium on Anthropology in 1952 whose aim was to take a total inventory of the field and through this help the Foundation to set up new directions for funding. With this in mind, Fejos convened over 80 participants and the final proceedings (some 50 papers and transcripts of lengthy discussions) appeared in 1953 in two edited volumes published by University of Chicago Press: Anthropology Today: An Encyclopedic Inventory, A.L. Kroeber (ed.); and An Appraisal of Anthropology Today, Sol Tax, Loren Eiseley, Irving Rouse, and Carl Voegelin (eds.). With the success of this symposium and its volumes, Fejos decided to condense and update the findings into a volume published by the Foundation in 1955 as “The Yearbook of Anthropology.” Inspired by this output, but frustrated by the logistics of publication, in 1957 Fejos invited Sol Tax to develop a plan that could enable worldwide exchange of ideas to continue, but which would be more immediate and flexible.While he had initially thought of publishing updates to the "Anthropology Today" proceedings in a series of books, he was adamant about the need to consult with anthropologists around the world and see what larger consensus might emerge. Intensive discussions began across the globe: Tax traveled to over 30 countries and organized a series of conferences at the Foundation in New York City. He continued to imagine the initiative primarily as a type of yearbook summarizing the current state of research until 1958. This changed after Burg Wartenstein was inaugurated by the Foundation. Its first scholarly event was a symposium dedicated to exploring new ideas for Current Anthropology. Tax, Fejos and twelve invited scholars gathered, and Tax's innovations were consolidated into a proposal that continues to represent the backbone of the journal to this day. Current Anthropology was to be a journal, not a yearbook. It was to address a worldwide community of anthropologists, and its goal would be to represent and unify the “anthropological sciences” by presenting articles across the discipline. Importantly, Tax envisioned a community of scholars rather then a representation of national traditions. The journal's purpose would not be to compete with national or specialist periodicals but, rather, to complement them by conveying knowledge to a broader inter­disciplinary audience, including scholars from related social sciences and from the humanities. The journal would be a communication bridge, reliable and fast. Its content would include major reviews of broad scope, often summarizing new research, and all subdisciplines and scholarly traditions would be welcome. The journal also was to include current news, reference materials, conference reports, bibliographical guides and a classified section. The first issue was mailed in September 1959—an enormous achievement in a short time, and one that proved Tax’s commitment and energy. Along with its wide-ranging content, a newly created network of associates enabled the journal to reach a worldwide community of scholars. Tax began by inviting some 3000 individuals to join as associates. Associates were mailed each issue, and could respond to its content via a tear-reply letter addressed to the editor’s office. In January 1960, Tax received 1,000 replies, validating his sense that anthropologists wanted a dialogue. By 1962, there were almost 2,500 associates, and 1,467 resided outside of North America. Associates contributed to the direction of the journal: they could nominate others, provide suggestions for articles, respond to what was published, and contribute with reviews, conference proceedings and commentaries. Through his duration as editor, Tax wrote regular letters to the associates, and would publish their replies as well. In this way, the journal mimicked some of the functions of a newsletter, and fulfilled the larger goals of communication and networking. Associates were asked to pay an annual fee, equivalent of $2 per individual associate (higher for institutions), and in countries with currency restrictions (such as in Eastern Europe) money was left in the country to be used for CA associated expenses. To encourage payment, The Viking Fund Publications also sponsored by the Foundation were added as a bonus to paying subscribers.Since its inception, the Wenner-Gren Foundation has sponsored Current Anthropology in different ways. After much deliberation, Current Anthropology kept English as its main language. However, submissions were (and still are) accepted in other languages, and all accepted items are fully edited and translated. In its earliest years, the journal offered, on the inside front cover, summaries of its submissions in different languages, including Arabic, French, German, Hindi , Russian and Serbo-Croatian. While more submissions come from North America then elsewhere and debate continues as to how to increase international submissions, Current Anthropology's forum-oriented method has proven fruitful. While the journal no longer relies on a network of associates, it continues an editorial policy that dates back to its early days, when associates were asked to comment on major research articles, and editors solicited responses to articles from the worldwide community.Current Anthropology Editors and their terms of service: Sol Tax 1959 – 1974; Cyril Belshaw 1975 – 1984; Adam Kuper 1985 – 1992; Richard G. Fox 1993 – 2001; Ben Orlove 2002 – 2008; Mark Aldenderfer 2009 – present


Robert Van Kemper's stamp to some of the front wrappers. Some light edge wear with some corners bumped. A complete set shipping of this item, because of the volume, will be $250.00.


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