“Boas Talks”

Scientific colloquium commemorating the 140th anniversary of Franz Boas' Doctorate & Relaunch of the Ethnographisch-Archaeologische Zeitschrift (EAZ, Journal for Archaeology and Cultural Anthropology)
Kiel University, 18–21 November, 2021

ROOTS Interdisciplinary ResearchAlthough Franz Boas only spent a brief time in Kiel throughout his prolific scientific career, he completed his first career milestone here. He received his doctorate from Kiel University in 1881 for his dissertation Contributions to the Perception of the Color of Water. The methodological and interpretive frameworks that he developed at Columbia University along with the legacy among his students had a decisive influence on the development of cultural anthropology. Boas emphasised that “the data of anthropology teach us a greater tolerance of forms of civilization different from our own”. This is particularly relevant today against the backdrop of current methodological and theoretical trends as well as in light of further global environmental, societal and political developments.

Within the post-modern humanities, integrated discourses in a Boasian sense that bridge archaeology, social and cultural anthropology, linguistics and philosophy are becoming increasingly relevant. The overarching aim is to accomplish a more complete and comprehensive understanding of the human condition and its variability across space and time. Fields, such as ethnoarchaeology, anthropological archaeology and historical anthropology, make contributions to this agenda, e.g., by evaluating the relevance of cross-cultural comparisons, by incorporating multi-vocal scopes and shared authority in research designs, by integrating longue durée perspectives, and by critically reflecting the position of the researchers themselves and their relation to the “others” they study. In this respect, an anthropologically situated archaeology is becoming increasingly relevant in societal and political discourses.

In November 2021, 140 years after Boas’ doctorate, we renew Kiel’s early connection to this outstanding scholar with a scientific colloquium. Drawing on his later seminal works, we will discuss developing trends, recent advancements, and enrich points of contact between the archaeological and anthropological frameworks.
In keeping with current plans, the “Boas Talks” colloquium will take place in Kiel “analogously” over two days, featuring 15-minute talks from invited guests, followed by discussions and plenty of opportunity to debate and develop ideas in a relaxed colloquium atmosphere. 

You can find more information, including the preliminary program here

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Project by:

Henny Piezonka Email, Vesa Arponen Email, Nils Müller-Scheeßel Email, Jens Schneeweiß Email, Maria Wunderlich Email (all members of ROOTS)

Coordination and contact
/ Anastasia Khramtsova
Cluster of Excellence ROOTS, Kiel University
Leibnizstrasse 3, 24118 Kiel
Email: Email

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