Monday, January 08, 2007

Collecting Diné Culture in the 1880s: Two Army Physicians and their Ethnographic Approaches

Readers of Museum Anthropology (MUA) 29(2) will note that, with this issue, we began publishing abstracts of articles. Not only does this bring us into line with standard practice for scholarly journals, it was a move aimed at facilitating access to MUA article content via AnthroSource. Internet visitors to AnthroSource who lack individual or library access can gain table of content information and, if they choose, pay-per-view access to individual items. Providing an abstract gives such potential customers at least some knowledge of what they might be buying into. Unfortunately, MUA could not afford the costs of a redesign of the format of the journal, although minor tweaks have been made, as with the cover and the "Notice to Authors." What this meant was that the absracts are given at the end of the article rather than at the beginning. This will continue until we are able to do a redesign. One consequence of this, to be rectified, is the absence, as of yet, of the abstract for Nancy Parezo's article (the only full article in 29(2)) in AnthroSource. A link to the paper is given [here]. Her abstract is as follows:
Collecting Diné Culture in the 1880s: Two Army Physicians and their Ethnographic Approaches
In the 1880s two army physicians, Robert W. Shufeldt and Washington Matthews, were stationed at Fort Wingate, New Mexico and studied Navajo culture. While similar in background each had a different orientation to collecting, representing two trends in 19th-century naturalist scholarship about Indians. Their approaches have influenced the development of Navajo studies in art, architecture and religious studies. While much has been written about Boasian-era collecting and ethnographic scholarship, less attention has been paid to the men and women who formed the foundation of American anthropology and whose small, individual collections are components of anthropology artifact and archival collections.
Nancy's paper is a valuable contribution to the history of museum anthropology and it is a pleasure share it with a wider audience online. To facilitate searches by those using blog search software, we will post abstracts on future articles here as well.

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