Melville J. Herskovits on the African and Jewish diasporas: Race, culture and modern anthropology

Authors
Citation
G. Frank, Melville J. Herskovits on the African and Jewish diasporas: Race, culture and modern anthropology, IDENTITIES, 8(2), 2001, pp. 173-209
Citations number
116
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Review
Categorie Soggetti
Sociology & Antropology
Journal title
IDENTITIES-GLOBAL STUDIES IN CULTURE AND POWER
ISSN journal
1070-289X → ACNP
Volume
8
Issue
2
Year of publication
2001
Pages
173 - 209
Database
ISI
SICI code
1070-289X(200106)8:2<173:MJHOTA>2.0.ZU;2-4
Abstract
Anthropologist Melville J. Herskovits' (1895-1963) work helped to shape how African-Americans in the United States were viewed and viewed themselves. By 1930, he challenged the prevailing view that "Negro" life-ways were only an incomplete and pathological version of mainstream American culture. In contrast, he contributed a scholarly foundation to the claim that elements of African culture had survived in the Americas. His work supported the New Negro movement and the emergence of pan-African identity. Curiously, howev er, Herskovits argued that the Jews, another diasporic group, had no distin ctive culture nor were they a people. This paper reviews the development of Herskovits' views in relation to: (1) concepts of race and culture in mode rn anthropology; (2) public controversies concerning assimilation versus pa rticularism of blacks and Jews in the 1920s and 1930s; and (3) Herskovits' Jewish identity.