Peter d'Errico: Historian tackled bias in study of Native people

Peter d'Errico shares the passing of a professor who challenged racial and cultural biases in the field of anthropology:
Unless you're an anthropologist, you've probably never heard of Professor George Stocking, Jr., so you also wouldn't have noticed his obituary in The New York Times. He died July 13, 2013, at 84 in Chicago, where he became famous for his research into the history of anthropology.

American Indians ought to know about Prof. Stocking, because they certainly know about anthropologists. Stocking was a major force in developing critiques of Euro-centrism in the discipline of anthropology. As the Times obituary says, "his work helped produce a culture shift in anthropology during the 1960s and ’70s that heralded a growing respect for cultural diversity."

The primary target of Stocking's work was the anthropological presumption that "civilization" means Western civilization. Stocking argued that this idea was the root of brutal, even genocidal, "civilizing" programs directed at American Indians and other peoples around the world. He also challenged the mythology of "race" that fueled colonial domination.

Get the Story:
Peter d'Errico: The Man Who Forced Anthropologists to Respect Native Cultures (Indian Country Today 8/12)

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