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Frontiers of Historical ImaginationNarrating the European Conquest of Native America, 1890-1990$
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Kerwin Lee Klein

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780520204638

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520204638.001.0001

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Time Immemorial

Time Immemorial

(p.129) Book Three Time Immemorial
Frontiers of Historical Imagination

Kerwin Lee IZlein

University of California Press

This chapter discusses the anthropologists and ethnographers' view of the history of the American frontier. Anthropologists such as Franz Boas described the encounter of Europeans and Native Americans as a conflict between incommensurable culture that opened up a national memory divided by ethnicity and plot. Victorian ethnographers told a grand story of social evolution that described Native Americans as representatives of an earlier state of human experience through which Europeans had already passed. By the 1920s, the culture concept of ethnography tended to be cased in language that was at best ahistorical.

Keywords:   American frontier, anthropologists, ethnographers, Franz Boas, Native Americans, ethnicity, social evolution, Europeans

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