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date: 03 April 2020

Boas, Franzlocked

  • Sue Carole DeVale

Extract

(b Minden, July 9, 1858; d New York, Dec 21, 1942). American anthropologist and ethnomusicologist of German birth. He was trained at Heidelberg, Berlin and Kiel as a physicist and geographer (1877–81), and, having gone to Baffinland, North America, to do a survey of Cumberland Sound, he went on to compare Inuit perceptions of space with his own technical mapping. It was during his stay among the Inuits in 1883–4, that he formulated the anthropological perspectives and field methodology that was to shape the character of early 20th-century American anthropology. On his return to Berlin, he became interested in the methods used by Carl Stumpf, Hornbostel and Herzog in the study of music in other cultures. In 1886 Boas returned to North America to work among the Bella Coola Indians of the Pacific Northwest coast; in 1888 he took a post teaching anthropology at Clark University and settled in the USA, having decided to make Amerindians the centre of his anthropological work....

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