Article ID: CBB165299061

A historiographical perspective on contemporary biological anthropology (2023)


The history of North American physical anthropology is a relevant topic for historians and philosophers of science. In this paper I offer a schematic perspective that accounts for a three-level historiographical narrative that includes: i) the “prehistory” of physical anthropology; (ii) the new physical anthropology; and (iii) the construction of a biological anthropology. First, I argue that historiography is a useful methodology for conducting epistemological analyses. Next, I delve into these three historical stages and contrast them in order to establish some guiding principles for each of them. For instance, the “prehistory” of physical anthropology is characterized by a parametric tradition, while the new physical anthropology considers measurement only as the first step of physical anthropological analyses; the second is to contextualize and explain what these measures represent in a biocultural context. Biological anthropology, on the other hand, is an extension of the new physical anthropology that includes theoretical, methodological and conceptual aspects of contemporary evolutionary biology, primatology, molecular anthropology, etc. In addition, it considers the other branches of anthropology: ethnography, archaeology, linguistics as fundamental frameworks towards a comprehensive and integral anthropology. I close with some concluding remarks that highlight the relevance of biological anthropology not only in the context of the Social Sciences and Humanities, but beyond.

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Article Vincent Jullien; Carmen Martínez-Adame (2023) Foreward. Almagest (pp. 6-14). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Baulu, Jean
Blancke, Stefaan
Burt, Jonathan
Couttenier, Maarten
Dance, Peter
De Laguna, Frederica
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Journal of the History of Collections
Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
Duke University Press
Columbia University
Houghton Mifflin
McGill-Queen's University Press
Physical anthropology
Andreas, F. C.
Regnault, Félix Louis
Rolleston, George
Spencer, Baldwin
Zuckerman, Solly
Haddon, Alfred Cort
Time Periods
19th century
20th century, early
20th century, late
17th century
20th century
Great Britain
United States
Jesuits (Society of Jesus)
Oxford University

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