Alfred Louis Kroeber 's Influence On The Field Of Anthropology Essay

Alfred Louis Kroeber 's Influence On The Field Of Anthropology Essay

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Alfred Louis Kroeber was born in New Jersey in 1876 and later grew up in New York City where he attended a New York prep school. Kroeber was not only well-educated as a child, but he was also multilingual. It was arguably this strong educational background and history of assiduousness and discipline that contributed to Kroeber’s later success in an academic setting and in the field of Anthropology.
By 1917, Alfred Kroeber was already flourishing in his field. By 1897, Kroeber received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English from Columbia College. He then spent the summers of 1899 and 1900 in Wyoming studying and living among the Arapaho, Shoshone, Ute, and Bannock peoples. Also in 1900, Kroeber became the curator of the California Academy of Sciences Museum, a position he returned to from 1903 to 1911. In 1901, Kroeber received the first doctorate degree awarded in Anthropology at Columbia University under the direction of Franz Boas. In that same year, he became a founding member and the first professor of the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkley, where he remained until 1946. Kroeber was also the director of UC Berkley’s Museum of Anthropology in 1908 and the president of the American Anthropological Association from 1917 to 1918.
During the extent of Kroeber’s career, several events and figures greatly influenced his ideas and actions. One of the most influential moments in Alfred Kroeber’s life occurred in 1911 when a “wild” man was found and eventually brought to the Museum of Anthropology at Berkeley. Upon meeting the man and realizing he was of the Yana native population, Kroeber named him Ishi, meaning “the man” in the Yana language. Shortly after Ishi’s arrival to Berkeley, the Yana ...


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... historical approach and the scientific method. He begins by describing the four underlying levels that exist in every human situation: the body, mind, society, and culture. He explains that both the scientific method and the historical approach can be applied to all levels; however, the scientific method is most useful for the lower-level ‘body,’ whereas the historical approach is most applicable to the upper-levels of ‘mind,’ ‘society,’ and ‘culture.’ This is because the lower the level, the more predictable it is and the easier it is to manipulate using the scientific method. On the other hand, “translevel reductionism” is needed to understand the causality of mind, society, and culture. He also notes that the historical approach considers context and a wide array of causality, whereas science uses a more myopic view and pinpoints specific regularities in nature.

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