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On the Future of Anthropology in Schools of Education

In the 1940s Margaret Mead, one of the most famous anthropologists of her generation, started along association with Teachers College. With Solon Kimball, Dell Hymes, George Spindler, and many others in the United States, Mead successfully argued that anthropology had something to contribute to education whether one thinks about it mostly as a matter of schooling reform and policy or, broadly, as a fundamental process for all human activity. By the 1970s many anthropologists had been appointed to schools of education throughout the country. By the 1990s a certain skepticism set in and the relevance of anthropological work was challenged.

This sketch hints at complex conversations among all involved about the place of anthropology in a school of education even as the discipline evolved, as did the field of education itself. What is it, exactly, that anthropology might contribute to education? In this conference, we will continue these conversations with panels on the history of the field and its possibilities as well as two dozen papers exemplary of the work being done in the US and around the world..



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