Early Anthropology in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries
Although social sciences such as anthropology are often thought
to have been organized as academic specialties in the nineteenth
century, the ideas upon which these disciplines were founded
actually developed centuries earlier. In fact, the foundational
concepts can be traced at least as far back as the sixteenth
century, when contact with unfamiliar peoples in the New World led
Europeans to create ways of describing and understanding social
similarities and differences among humans.
Early Anthropology in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth
Centuries examines the history of some of the ideas adopted to
help understand the origin of culture, the diversity of traits, the
significance of similarities, the sequence of high civilizations,
the course of cultural change, and the theory of social evolution.
It is a book that not only illuminates the thinking of a bygone age
but also sheds light on the sources of attitudes still prevalent
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