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The Formation and Development of Historical Anthropology

Ying-kuei HUANG (Academia Sinica, Taipei)
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In the history of anthropology, the initial conception and development of historical anthropology has occurred mostly since the 1980s. Sahlins was the first to identify the question of how culture defines history as a major research topic of historical anthropology. Subsequent discussions of the nature of the historical event; the way historicity shapes research into historical consciousness and representation; the interaction of historicity, the cultural construction of time (especially past time) and social memory, and the genres of historical representation, are suggestive of the overall development of research and theory in historical anthropology, and of their contribution to the larger field of anthropology. This contribution does not consist only of greater attention to historicization, which has been the most important and extensive influence on general anthropological research. Research into the question “What is history?”has also led to important new insights into the meaning of culture, making significant contributions to anthropological understandings of culture and anthropological knowledge more broadly. It also offers the possibility of integrating anthropology and history in new ways in the future.

Journal of History and Anthropology