Laboratory for Anthropology

Science and Romanticism in the American Southwest, 1846-1930

Initially published in 2000, this beautiful paperback reprint of respected archaeologist Don Fowler’s A Laboratory for Anthropology tells the sweeping history tells of an idea, “The Southwest,” through the development of American anthropology and archaeology.

For eighty years following the end of the Mexican-American War, anthropologists described the people, culture, and land of the American Southwest to cultural tastemakers and consumers on the East Coast. Digging deeply into public and private historical records, the author uses biographical vignettes to recreate the men and women who pioneered American anthropology and archaeology in the Southwest. He explores institutions such as the Smithsonian, the University of Pennsylvania Museum, the School of American Research, and the American Museum of Natural History, which influenced the southwestern research agenda, published results, and exhibited artifacts. Equally influential in this popular movement were the “Yearners”—novelists, poets, painters, photographers, and others—such as Alice Corbin, Oliver La Farge, Mabel Dodge Luhan, and Laura Adams Armer, whose literature and art incorporated southwestern ethnography, sought the essence of the Indian and Hispano world, and substantially shaped the cultural impression of the Southwest for the American public. Fowler brings this history to a close on the eve of the New Deal, which dramatically restructured the practice of anthropology and archaeology in the United States.

Don Fowler is Mamie Kleberg Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Historic Preservation Emeritus, University of Nevada, Reno. He is the author of more than 120 scholarly publications in archaeology, historic preservation, Western exploration in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and the history of American anthropology.

Table of Contents:

Foreword by Brian Fagan
Prologue: The Land and the People
Introduction: Origins of American Anthropology
1. Documenting the Southwest, 1540–1846
2. The Topographical Engineers in the Southwest
3. Legends and Ruins, 1846–1859
4. Army Ethnographic Observations, 1846–1860
5. The Great Surveys
6. The Bureau of Ethnology: Organizing Anthropological Research in America
7. The Bureau and the Southwest
8. Cushing, Matthews, Bourke, and Compatriots
9. Washington Matthews
10. Bourke, Keam, and Stephen
11. The Mindeleff Brothers
12. The Bureau after Powell
13. The Hemenway Expedition
14. Jesse Walter Fewkes: From Ichthyologist to Ethnologist
15. Bandelier, Bancroft, and Bolton
16. The Wetherills and Nordenskiöld
17. World’s Fairs, Museums, and Modern Anthropology
18. Universities, Museums, and Anthropology
19. Building a New American Anthropology
20. The Western Scholar-Entrepreneurs
21. Byron Cummings
22. Edgar Lee Hewett
23. A “New Archaeology” in the Southwest
24. Expanding the New Archaeology
25. A. V. Kidder and Southwestern Archaeology
26. Ethnography in the Southwest
27. Inventing the Southwest, 1890–1930
28. Literary and Pictorial Ethnography
29. New Institutions, New Directions
30. Epilogue

Praise and Reviews:

"As a thoughtful and well-illustrated introduction to the beginnings of southwestern archaeology for the general reader, A Laboratory of Archaeology has no rival."—Brian Fagan, University of California, Santa Barbara

"A fascinating story accessible to all who are interested in the American Southwest. For those of us studying the history of anthropology, it is an essential reference for that foundation period in the initial conceptualization of the Southwest as a landscape and as an anthropological laboratory."—J. Jefferson Reid, University of Arizona