Romancing the Tribe: The History of an Anthropological Problem
Lawrence Rosen, Professor, Department of Anthropology, Princeton University, and William Y. and Nettie K. Adams Fellow, SAR
Colloquium, SAR Boardroom
Wednesday, June 27, 2012, 12:00–1:00 pm, Free
Anthropologists have long tested their most foundational theories against the exemplary case of tribal structures. Whether it is to measure the scope of kinship as it affects the political, to assess the implications of patterns of marital alliance, or to ascertain the boundaries of group identity through dialect or territory the tribe has been the archetypal form that could sustain or alter one’s approach to an issue regarded as central to human society. The presentation will trace the history of the anthropological “romance of the tribe” not only for its impact on the discipline itself but how, as views of the tribe have changed, so have our views of humankind and the policies applied by Western nations in many parts of the world.