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Title: Anthropology - As a Science and as a Branch of University Education in the United States
Author: Brinton, Daniel Garrison, 1837-1899
Language: English
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Transcriber's Note

   Two typographical errors were identified but not corrected
   in this e-book. They are marked with [TN-1] and [TN-2],
   which refer to notes at the end of the text.


As a Science and As a Branch of University Education
in the United States.



Professor of American Archæology and Linguistics in the University
of Pennsylvania, and of General Ethnology at the Academy of Natural
Sciences, Philadelphia; Corresponding Member of the Anthropological
Societies of Washington, New York, Paris, Berlin, St. Petersburg,
Vienna, Munich, Florence, Etc.



This very brief presentation of the claims of Anthropology for a
recognized place in institutions of the higher education in the United
States will, I hope, receive the thoughtful consideration of the
officers and patrons of our Universities and Post-Graduate Departments.

The need of such a presentation was urged upon me not long since by the
distinguished president of a New England University. Impressed with the
force of his words, I make an earnest appeal to our seats of advanced
learning to establish a branch of Anthropology on the broad lines herein
suggested. It may be but one chair in their Faculties of Philosophy; but
the rightful claims of this science will be recognized only when it is
organized as a department by itself, with a competent corps of
professors and docents, with well-appointed laboratories and museums,
and with fellowships for deserving students.

Who is the enlightened and liberal citizen ready to found such a
department, and endow it with the means necessary to carry out both
instruction and original research?

I do not plead for any one institution, or locality, or individual; but
simply for the creation in the United States of the opportunity of
studying this highest of the sciences in a manner befitting its

  As a Branch of University Education.

_What Anthropology Is._

Man himself is the only final measure of his own activities. To his own
force and faculties all other tests are in the end referred. All
sciences and arts, all pleasures and pursuits, are assigned their
respective rank in his interest by reference to those physical powers
and mental processes which are peculiarly the property of his own

Hence, the Study of Man, pursued under the guidance of accurate
observation and experimental research, embracing all his nature and all
the manifestations of his activity, in the past as well as in the
present, the whole co-ordinated in accordance with the inductive methods
of the natural sciences--this study must in the future unfailingly come
to be regarded as the crown and completion of all others--and this is

_The Value of Anthropology._

The value of the applications of this science can scarcely be

In government and law, in education and religion, men have hitherto been
dealt with according to traditional beliefs or _a priori_ theories of
what they may or ought to be. When we learn through scientific research
what they really are, we shall then, and then only, have a solid
foundation on which to build the social, ethical and political
structures of the future. It is the appreciation of this which has given
the extraordinary impetus to the study of Sociology--a branch of
Anthropology--within the last decade.

Anthropology alone furnishes the key and clue to History. This also is
meeting recognition. No longer are the best histories mainly chronicles
of kings and wars, but records of the development and the decline of
peoples; and what constitutes a "people," and shapes its destiny, is the
very business of Ethnology to explain.

So likewise in hygiene and medicine, in ethics and religion, in language
and arts, in painting, architecture, sculpture and music, the full
import and often unconscious intention of human activity can only be
understood, and directed in the most productive channels, by such a
careful historical and physical analysis as Anthropology aims to

_Societies and Schools for the Study of Anthropology._

The world of science has been recognizing more fully, year by year, the
paramount importance of the systematic study of Anthropology to the
aspirations of modern civilization.

The first Anthropological Society--that of Paris--was founded by Paul
Broca, in May, 1859. It has been rapidly followed by the organization of
similar societies in London, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Vienna, Brussels,
Munich, Madrid, Florence, Washington, New York, and many other centres
of enlightened thought. In 1882 the American Association for the
Advancement of Science organized its Section of Anthropology; and in
1884 the British Association for the Advancement of Science followed
this example. It is a well known fact that these sections are more
attractive to the general public, and are better supplied with material
than any other sections in the Associations. This augurs well for the
zeal with which students would welcome the creation of special
departments for instruction in all branches of the science.

The first School of Anthropology was founded also by Broca, at Paris,
in the year 1876. It began with a corps of five professors, a number
which it has now doubled, the demand for more extended instruction
having steadily increased. The courses have been as well attended as any
others, either at the Collége de France, or at the Sorbonne. A second
school is organized in connection with the Museum of Natural History at
the Jardin des Plantes. It has counted among its instructors various
illustrious names, and its courses have also been highly popular.

Several of the German universities have organized a department of
Anthropology. In those of Munich, Berlin, Marburg, and Buda Pesth the
chairs are filled respectively by Ranke, Bastian, Von den Steinen, and
Von Török. In the University of Leipzig, Dr. E. Schmidt is _docent_ in
Anthropology; and the same position is held in Berlin by Dr. Von
Luschan. In a number of other institutions, lectures on the branch are
given. The first degree in Anthropology was conferred by the University
of Munich three years ago. The University of Brussels has established a
full chair of Anthropology, occupied by Professor Houze; and a similar
position is filled in the Musée Polytechnique, at Moscow, by Professor
Dimitri Anoutchine.

In the United States, regular courses on Physical Anthropology and
Ethnology have been given by me for the last six years, at the Academy
of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia. But the only educational institutions
which have distinctly recognized the branch are Clark University,
Worcester, Mass., where Dr. Franz Boas is _docent_ in Anthropology, and
which, in March of this year, conferred the first degree in Anthropology
given in America; and the University of Chicago, in which Dr. Frederick
Starr is Assistant Professor of Anthropology. I cannot learn that any
full professorship of the science has been established in this country.

Considerable attention has been paid to the subject by the scientists
connected with the National Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, the
Army Medical Museum, and especially the Bureau of Ethnology at
Washington. The last mentioned, under the efficient administration of
Major J. W. Powell, has enriched the literature of Anthropology with a
series of publications not exceeded in value by those of any other

_Subdivisions of Anthropology._

The Study of Man in accordance with the laws of inductive research is,
therefore, the aim and meaning of Anthropology. The subject is a broad
one,--in space, as wide as the world; in time, longer than all history;
in depth, reaching to the innermost consciousness. A man may be regarded
merely as a specimen of a certain species of vertebrates; or, in his
multifarious relations as a member of a social organization. We may
study him as a living being; or seek to trace his actions and origin in
ages long before history begins. Hence, Anthropology is divided into
several associated departments devoted to the exploration of its varied
realms of research. They may conveniently be divided into four, of
nearly equal importance. An acquaintance with all of them is essential
to the equipment of a sound anthropologist.

The first is the study of the physical nature of man, his anatomy,
physiology and biology, so far as these bear on the distinctions of
races, peoples, and nations. Psychology, so far as it is an experimental
and inductive science, belongs in this department. This general division
has been called by French writers "special Anthropology", and by the
Germans "somatic Anthropology"; but we need for it a single term, and
none better could be found than that suggested by the German expression.
I call it, therefore, _Somatology_, a word long since,[TN-1]
domesticated in the vocabulary of English and American medical science,
and explained in the dictionaries as "a discourse or discussion on the
human body".

The second division is _Ethnology_. This is, in its methods, historic
and analytic. It contemplates man as a social creature. It is more
concerned with the mental, the psychical part of man, than with his
physical nature, and seeks to trace the intellectual development of
communities by studying the growth of government, laws, arts, languages,
religions, and society.

The third division, _Ethnography_, is geographic and descriptive in its
plans of research. It studies the subdivision and migrations of races,
local traits, peculiarities and customs, and confines itself to matters
of present observation.

Finally, _Archæology_ comes in to supply the material which neither
history nor present observation can furnish. It pries into the obscurity
of the remotest periods of man's life on earth, and gathers thousands of
facts forgotten by historians and overlooked by contemporaries. Often
these unconsidered trifles prove of priceless value, and furnish the key
to the real life of ancient nations.

_Means of Practical Instruction._

Anthropology is not a theoretical science. It is essentially
experimental and practical, a science of observation and operative
procedures. It cannot be learned by merely reading books and attending
lectures. The student must literally put his hand to the work.

For that reason every institution for teaching Anthropology must have a
Laboratory attached to it; and in that Laboratory the best part of the
work will be done.

Such a Laboratory will naturally be divided into two departments; one
devoted to the study of the physical characteristics of man, the other
to the investigation of the products of his industry. The former will be
more especially related to the branch of Somatology; the latter, to
those of Ethnology, Ethnography, and Archæology. The efforts of the
Laboratory instructors will be directed to training the perceptions of
the students in the requirements of this science and to giving them the
practical knowledge and manual dexterity necessary to employ its tests.

Connected with the Laboratory, and really forming part of it, will be a
Museum, of such extent as circumstances permit. It will include crania
and osteological specimens; art-products, arranged both ethnologically,
that is, in series showing their evolution, and ethnographically, that
is, illustrating the geographical provinces and ethnic areas from which
they are derived; and archæological specimens typical of prehistoric and
proto-historic culture.

Hand in hand with the Laboratory work should proceed Library Labor.
There is a strong tendency in students of sciences of observation to
read only for immediate purposes and on current topics. Few acquaint
themselves with the history even of their own special branches; an
ignorance which often results injuriously on the effectiveness of their
work. To correct this, a series of tasks in the literature of the
science should regularly be assigned.

Finally, all that has been proposed must be supplemented by a course of
Field-work, in which the student must be trained to apply his
acquirements in really adding to the stores of knowledge by independent
and unaided exertion.

I do not rest satisfied with presenting these general statements. More
detail will very properly be demanded by any one seriously considering
the foundation of a chair or department in this branch.

I have drawn up, therefore, and append, a scheme for a course or courses
of lectures; a plan for laboratory instruction; another for library
work; a sketch of what should be done in the field; and finally, I name
a few of the best text-books on the various subdivisions of the general

I would ask the particular attention of those interested in this science
to the classification and nomenclature which I here present. It is the
result of a careful collation of all the leading European writers on the
subject and of consultation with several of the most thoughtful in this

There is, unfortunately, considerable diversity in the arrangements and
terms adopted by different authors, and it is most desirable that a
uniform phraseology be adopted in all countries. That which I offer aims
to be exhaustive of the science and to adopt, wherever practicable, the
expressions sanctioned by the greater number of distinguished living
authorities in its literature.

General Scheme for Instruction in Anthropology.



    I. _Somatology._--Physical and Experimental Anthropology.

   II. _Ethnology._--Historic and Analytic Anthropology.

  III. _Ethnography._--Geographic and Descriptive Anthropology.

   IV. _Archæology._--Prehistoric and Reconstructive Anthropology.


A. Internal Somatology.

    _a._ Osteology.--Bones of the skeleton, names, forms, measures,
        proportions, peculiarities, such as flattened tibia, perforated
        humerus, form of pelvis, os calcis, etc. Craniology;
        measurements of skull and face, sutures, angles, nasal and
        orbital indices, dentition, artificial deformations.

    _b._ Myology and Splanchnology.--The muscular system and viscera so
        far as they concern racial peculiarities, as deficient calves,
        proportions of liver and lungs, etc. Steatopygy.

B. External Somatology.

    Stature and Proportion. Anthropomometry. Tests for strength and
        endurance. Color of skin, hair, and eyes. Color scales. Shape
        and growth of hairs. Canons of proportion. Physical beauty.

C. Psychology.

    Application of experimental psychology to races. Comparative rates
        of nervous impulse, sensation, muscular movements, and mental
        processes. Right- and left-handedness. Anomalous brain actions.

D. Developmental and Comparative Somatology.

    Embryology of man. Doctrines of heredity and congenital
        transmission. Teratology, or the production of varieties and
        monstrosities. Ethnic and racial anatomy. Evolution of man.
        Comparative anatomy of man and anthropoids. Simian and lemurian
        analogies. Fossil remains of man.

    Biology of man. Changes produced by nutrition (food supply),
        climate, humidity, altitude, etc. Comparative physiology and
        pathology. Medical geography. Comparative nosology of different
        races. Criminal anthropology. Pathology of races. Fertility and
        sterility of races. Reproduction and stirpiculture. Comparative
        longevity. Immunity from disease. Vital statistics. Anatomical
        classifications of races. (Historical review; present opinions.)


A. Definitions and Methods.

    Meaning of Race, People (_ethnos_, folk), Nation, Tribe. Culture and
        civilization. Measures and stages of culture. Causes and
        conditions of ethnic progress. Ethnic aptitudes for special
        lines of progress. Ethnic psychology (Völkerpsychologie).

B. Sociology.

    _a._ Government.--Primitive forms. The gens; the tribe; the
        confederacy; chieftainship; monarchy; theocracy; democracy, etc.

    _b._ Marriage.--Theories of primitive marriage; promiscuity;
        polygamy; polyandry; monogamy. Limitations of marriage. Forms
        and rites of marriage. Laws of descent and consanguinity. Social
        position of woman. Gynocracy.

    _c._ Laws.--Origin of laws. Primitive ethics. Dualism of ethics.
        Evolution of the moral sense. The Taboo. Blood revenge. Tenures
        of land. Classes above law. Castes. Privileged classes. Codified
        laws. International laws.

C. Technology.

    _a._ The Utilitarian Arts.--Manufacture of tools, utensils, weapons,
        and agricultural, etc., implements. Architecture and building.
        Clothing and fashions. Means of transportation by land and
        water. Agriculture. Domestication of plants and animals.
        Weights, measures, and instruments of precision. Media of
        exchange, currency, money, articles of barter and commerce.

    _b._ The Esthetic Arts.--Theory of the sense of the beautiful.
        Decorative designs in line and color. Skin-painting. Tattooing.
        Sculpture and modeling. Music and musical instruments. Scents
        and flowers. Games and festivals.

D. Religion.

    _a._ Psychological Origin of Religions.--Principles and method of
        the science of religion. Personal, family, and tribal religions.
        Ancestral worship. Doctrines of animism; fetichism; polytheism;
        henotheism; monotheism; universal religions.

    _b._ Mythology.--Definition and growth of myths. Solar light and
        storm myths. Creation and deluge myths. Relation of myths to

    _c._ Symbolism and Religious Art.--Relation of symbolism to
        fetichism. Primitive idols. Charms and amulets. Tokens. Tombs,
        temples, altars. Sacrifice. Symbolism of colors and numbers.
        Special symbols; the bird; the serpent; trees; the cross; the
        svastika; the circle, etc.

    _d._ Religious Teachers and Doctrines.--The priestly class.
        Shamanism. Theocracies. Secret orders. Initiations. Diviners.
        Augurs and prophets. Doctrines of soul. Fatalism.

    _e._ Analysis of Special Religions.--Egyptian religion; Buddhism;
        Judaism; Christianity; Mohammedanism, etc.

E. Linguistics.

    _a._ Gesture and Sign Language.--Examples. Plan of thought in
        relation to picture writing.

    _b._ Spoken Language.--Articulate and inarticulate speech. Imitative
        sounds. The phonology of languages. Universal alphabets. Logical
        relations of the parts of speech. The vocabulary and the grammar
        of languages. Distinctions between languages and dialects. Mixed
        languages and jargons. Relations of language to ethnography.
        Polyglottic and monoglottic peoples. Causes of changes in
        language. Extent and nature of such changes. Examples.
        Classifications of languages. Relative excellence of languages.
        Criteria of superiority. Rules for the scientific comparison of

    _c._ Recorded Language.--Systems of recording ideas.
        Thought-writing. Pictography. Symbolic and ideographic writing.
        Examples. Sound-writing. Evolution of the phonetic alphabets.
        Egyptian, Cuneiform, Chinese, Aztec, and other phonetic systems.

    _d._ Forms of Expression.--Rhythmical. Origin of meter. Poetry of
        primitive peoples. Rhythm and rhyme. Characters of prose.
        Relation of prose and poetry to national language and character.
        Dramatic. The primitive drama and its development.

F. Folk-lore.

    Definition, nature, and value of folk-lore. Methods of its study.
        Relations to history and character of a people. Traditional
        customs. Traditional narratives. Folk-sayings. Superstitious
        beliefs and practices.


A. The Origin and Subdivisions of Races.

    Theories of monogenism and polygenism. Doctrine of "geographical
        provinces" or "areas of characterization." The continental areas
        at the date of man's appearance on the earth. Eurafrica,
        Austafrica, Asia, America, Oceanica. Causes and consequences of
        the migrations of races and nations.

    _a._ The Eurafrican Race.--Types of the white race. Its first home.
        Early migrations. The South Mediterranean branch (Hamitic and
        Semitic stocks). The North Mediterranean branch (Euskaric,
        Aryan, and Caucasic stocks).

    _b._ The Austafrican Race.--Former geography of Africa. The
        Negrillos or Pigmies. The true Negroes. The Negroids. The race
        in other continents. Negro slavery.

    _c._ The Asian Race.--The Sinitic branch (Chinese, Thibetans,
        Indo-Chinese). The Sibiric branch (the Tungusic, Mongolic,
        Tataric, Finnic, Arctic, and Japanese groups).

    _d._ The American Race.--Peopling of America. Groups of North and
        South American tribes.

    _e._ Insular and Litoral Peoples.--The Negritic stock (Negritos,
        Papuans, Melanesians). The Malayic stock (Western Malayans,
        Eastern, or Polynesians). The Australic stock (Australian
        tribes; Dravidians and Kols, of India).


A. General Archæology.

    _a._ Geology of the epoch of man. Late tertiary and quaternary
        periods. Glacial phenomena. River drift. Diluvial and alluvial
        deposits. Physical geography of the quaternary. Prehistoric
        botany and zoölogy.

    _b._ Prehistoric Ages.--The Age of Stone (chipped stone, or
        palæolithic period; polished stone, or neolithic period). The
        Age of Bronze. The Age of Iron. Epochs, stations, and examples.
        Methods of study of stone and bone implements, pottery, and
        other ancient remains. Indications of prehistoric commerce.
        Palethnology. Proto-historic epoch.

B. Special Archæology.

    Egyptian, Assyrian, Phenician, Classical, and Medieval Archæology.

    Archæology of the various areas in America. Art in stone, bone,
        shell, wood, clay, paper, etc., in these areas.


A. Physical Laboratory.

    Comparing and identifying bones. Measuring skulls. Dissections of
        anthropoids and human subjects. Examination of brains. Study of
        embryology and teratology. Practical study of the hair, skin,
        nails, etc., of different races. Use of color scales, etc.
        Practice in anthropomometry, with the necessary instruments.
        Testing for sense perceptions.

B. Technological Laboratory.

    Study of stone implements; simple and compound; rough and polished;
        primary and secondary chipping; cleavage; firing; bulb of
        percussion; mineralogy of implements; patine, etc. Bone

    Study of metal implements. Hammering, smelting, casting. Results of
        exposure. Analysis of alloys. Coins, etc. Study of pottery.
        Pastes; burning; glazing; forms; decorative designs; painting
        and coloring.

    Textile materials; ancient cloth and basket work; feather work.

    Methods of making casts and models; taking squeezes, rubbings,
        copies, and photographs. Drawing, shading, and coloring
        ethnographic charts.

    Practice in preserving, mounting, arranging, and classifying
        specimens. Tests for the detection of frauds. Incrustations,
        dendrites, etc. Practice in reducing unknown tongues to writing,
        by the ear. Practice in the repetition of unfamiliar phonetic
        elements. Study of the actions of the lingual muscles in the
        production of sounds.


Researches in the history of anthropology.

Making lists of works and articles on special subjects, with brief

Notes of the proceedings of anthropological societies and the contents
of journals.

Presentation of the theories of particular writers on the science.

Familiarize the student with the past and present literature of his


Methods of surveying, photographing, and plotting ancient remains.

Plans for taking field-notes.

Instruction in the proper methods of opening mounds, shell heaps, etc.,
and in excavating rock-shelters and caverns. The preserving and packing
of specimens.

Study of quaternary geology; alluvial deposits; river terraces; glacial
scratches; moraines; river drift; loess; elevation and subsidence.

The collection of languages and dialects; of folk-lore, and local


As the plan of study here proposed is largely that which I have pursued
and developed in my own lectures and published works on the subject, I
may be permitted to insert the following list of these:--

     _Anthropology and Ethnology._ 4to, pp. 184. In Vol. I of the
     Iconographic Encyclopædia (Philadelphia, 1886).

     _Prehistoric Archæology._ 4to, pp. 116. In Vol. II of the
     Iconographic Encyclopædia (Philadelphia, 1886).

     _Races and Peoples; Lectures on the Science of Ethnography._ 8vo,
     pp. 313 (N. D. C. Hodges, New York, 1890).

     _The American Race; a Linguistic Classification and Ethnographic
     Description of the Native Tribes of North and South America._ 8vo,
     pp. 392 (N. D. C. Hodges, New York, 1891).

In addition to these I would name the following as among the best works
for the student of this branch:--

     _Anthropologische Methoden._ By Dr. Emil Schmidt (Leipzig, 1888).

     _Eléments d'Anthropologie Générale._ By Dr. Paul Topinard (Paris).
     Also L'Homme dans la Nature (Paris, 1891), by the same author.

     _Précis d'Anthropologie._ By Hovelacque and Hervé (Paris).

     _Allgemeine Ethnographie._ By Friederich Müller.

     _Die Urgeschichte des Menschen._ By Moritz Hoernes (Leipzig, 1891).

     _La Préhistorique Antiquité de l'Homme._ By G. de Mortillet

     _Anthropology._ By Dr. Tylor (New York).

     _Elements[TN-2] de Sociologie._ By Ch. Letourneau (Paris).

To this list I add the names of some others of the distinguished foreign
living writers on various departments of Anthropology:--

     In France: Bertrand, Collignon, Letourneau, de Nadaillac. In
     England: Buckland, Flower, Gallon, M. Müller. In Germany: Andree,
     Bastian, Meyer, F. Müller, Ranke, Schaafhausen, Steinthal, Virchow,
     Ratzel, Gerland. In Italy: Giglioli, Mantegazza.

It is highly likely that many modifications and improvements on this
scheme will suggest themselves to instructors; but I may say for it that
it is the carefully considered result of a comparison of the methods
employed in the European schools, combined with a personal experience of
some years in the presentation of the topics to classes.

Of course, the amount of attention which will be given to the separate
divisions of the subject will depend on the position which the branch
occupies in the student's plan of studies--whether a major or a minor.
If the latter, he should attend a course of thirty or forty lectures
about equally divided between the four headings under which the science
is here presented, and should give double as many hours to laboratory

This is the minimum which would give him any adequate notion of the
science. If, on the other hand, it be taken as a major, or principal
subject, the greater part of his time for two or three years will be
fully occupied in preparing himself for independent work, or for the
instruction of others.

      *      *      *      *      *

Transcriber's note:

The following misspelling and typographical error were not

       Page   Error
  TN-1   6    since, should read since
  TN-2  14    Elements should read Eléments

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