Clark Wissler, a forgotten influence in American anthropology

Cardinal Scholar

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.advisor Glenn, Elizabeth J. en_US Reed, James S. en_US
dc.coverage.spatial n-us--- en_US 2011-06-03T19:30:17Z 2011-06-03T19:30:17Z 1980 en_US 1980
dc.identifier LD2489.Z68 1980 .R44 en_US
dc.description.abstract The purpose of this dissertation was to examine the institutional history of Clark Wissler's professional career as an anthropologist and to determine his influence upon American social science in this context. By focusing on specific historical contexts in which Wissler affected social science research in America, the study attempted to show the extent of Wissler's influence and impact on the development of social science. As well, the study considered and offered an explanation of how Wissler became a relatively obscure figure in the history of American anthropology after a period of considerable impact on the discipline. Primary data for this study were several pieces of correspondence and personal papers in the collection of "Wissler Papers" at the Department of Anthropology, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana.This study revealed that Clark Wissler occupied a unique position among American social scientists. That position Was unique in terms of Wissler's activities in a strictly institutional context as "Curator" of the American Museum of Natural History's Department of Anthropology; but more so, the position at the museum (one of the regional centers of American anthropology until the Second World War) led directly and indirectly to Wissler's influence upon social science research through ancillary positions with research foundations and institutes during the formative years of modern social science. What the study indicated, in this context, was that personal relationships often influenced ties between individuals in an institutional framework. Also, in the development of anthropology as an academic discipline in America, the more extensive that one's institutional network was -- in terms of personal and/or institutional ties, the more impact one had on ideological constructs and research trends.Furthermore, the study indicated that the extent and duration (from one generation of students to another) of a figure's impact on a discipline was dependent upon three factors -- politics, polemics, and progeny -- which were postulated as critical determinants of influence. That is, the study suggested and posited that influential figures in American anthropology were determined in a three-fold context: those one patronizes and is patronized by (politics); those trend-setters and organization officials that one agrees with and/or is thought of in association with (polemics); and those one proselytizes and converts to one's frame of reference, and thusly, who become disciples (progeny). All three contexts are in terms of personal relations that develop into institutional structures and functions, and thereby, determine one's influence and stature in an academic discipline.Thus, the study concluded that: 1) more than "ideas" are involved in the history of a social science discipline, namely anthropology; 2) Wissler, with an extensive institutional network but virtually no "progeny," was very influential among social scientists during his professional career, but he became a forgotten figure within twenty years of his death; 3) influence, in terms of historical "facts," must be determined in a. situational context that does not remove personalities and concrete personal relations from a holistic view of a specific cultural milieu.Extensive appendices to the dissertation provide primary data for further study in the history of anthropology, as well as support for contentions in the dissertation. As such, the dissertation, in itself, serves as a basis for further research. en_US
dc.format.extent 3, vi, 511 leaves : facsims. ; 28 cm. en_US
dc.source Virtual Press en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Anthropologists -- United States -- Biography. en_US
dc.subject.other Wissler, Clark, 1870-1947. en_US
dc.subject.other Wissler, Clark, 1870-1947 -- Correspondence. en_US
dc.title Clark Wissler, a forgotten influence in American anthropology en_US Thesis (Ph. D.) en_US
dc.identifier.cardcat-url en_US

Files in this item

Files Size Format View

There are no files associated with this item.

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

  • Doctoral Dissertations [3121]
    Doctoral dissertations submitted to the Graduate School by Ball State University doctoral candidates in partial fulfillment of degree requirements.

Show simple item record

Search Cardinal Scholar


My Account