Regna Darnell
Department of Anthropology


The University of Western Ontario

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2010 [1990]     Edward Sapir: Linguist, Anthropologist, Humanist. Reprinted with a new introduction by University of Nebraska Press.



Although he is referred to as a “genius” more often than any other scholar of his period, Edward Sapir has received no full-scale biography since his death in 1939.  At long last Regna Darnell does justice to the life and ideas and wide-ranging interests of this remarkable man, the foremost linguist and anthropologist of his generation.  Sapir, the most distinguished linguist of Boasian anthropology, contributed substantially to the professionalization of linguistics as an independent discipline.  He was the first to apply comparative Indo-European methods to the study of American Indian languages and did field work on more than twenty of them.  His theoretical work on the relationship of the individual personality to culture remains a major part of culture theory in anthropology, as does his insistence on the symbolic nature of culture and the importance of culture as understood by its members, in their own words.  The first professional anthropologist in Canada, and teacher of a whole generation of North American linguists and anthropologists at Chicago and Yale, Sapir also wrote poetry and literary criticism.  He insisted on the humanistic nature of anthropology and was the most articulate spokesman for the interdisciplinary social science of the late 1920s and 1930s.



Histories of Anthropology Annual, 2006 -




Histories of Anthropology Annual promotes diverse perspectives on the discipline's history within a global context.  Critical, comparative, analytical, and narrative studies involving all aspects and subfields of anthropology will be included, along with reviews and shorter pieces.


This inaugural volume offers insightful looks at the careers, lives, and influence of anthropologists and others, including Herbert Spencer, Frederick Starr, Mark Hanna Watkins, Leslie White, and Jacob Ezra Thomas.  Topics in this volume include anti-imperialism, racism in Guatemala, the study of peasants, the Carnegie Institution, Mayan archaeology and espionage, Cold War anthropology, African studies, and tribal museums.



2006 Historicizing Canadian Anthropology. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.  Editor (with Julia Harrison).





2002    Presidential Portraits: Celebrating a Century of the American Anthropological Association Editor (with Frederic W. Gleach). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.


During the past century the American Anthropological Association has borne witness to profound social, cultural and technical changes, transformations that have affected anthropologists and the people they work with across the planet.  In response to such global changes, anthropology continues to evolve into an increasingly complex and sophisticated discipline with a dynamic range of flourishing subfields.

    This volume contains the memorable stories of the seventy-seven men and women who have led the American Anthropological Association during the past century.  The list of the association's presidents reads like a roster of influential scholars from various specializations within anthropology.  Their histories cumulatively reflect the trends in interpretive thought and fieldwork methodology that have emerged through the past ten decades.

        For each president the book provides a photograph and a biography replete with personal anecdotes, career highlights, and information about his or her contributions to the development of the discipline of anthropology.  Important works by each president are listed separately in the back of the volume.  An introduction by Regna Darnell and Frederic E. Gleach summarizes the first century of the American Anthropological Association and contextualizes the individual stories.  From Book Jacket



2002    American Anthropology 1971-95: Selected Papers from the American Anthropologist.  Editor. Washington D.C.: American.


American Anthropology in the late twentieth century interrogated and depicted the worlds of others, past and present, in subtle and incisive ways while increasingly questioning its own authority to do so.  Marxist, symbolic, and structuralist thought shaped the fieldwork and conclusions of many researchers around the globe.  Practicing anthropology blossomed and grew rapidly as a subdiscipline in its own right.  There emerged a keener appreciation of both the history of the discipline and the histories of those studied.  Archaeologists witnessed a resurgence of interest in the concept of culture.  The American Anthropologist also made systematic efforts to represent the field as a whole, with biological anthropology and linguistics particularly adept at crossing subdiscipline boundaries.  Proliferation of specialized areas within sociocultural anthropology encouraged work across the subdisciplines.

    The thirty selections in this volume reflect the notable trends and accomplishments in American anthropology during the closing decades of the millennium.  An introduction by Regna Darnell offers a historical background and critical context that enable readers to better understand the changes and continuity in American anthropology during this time.




2002    Special Centennial Issue of the American Anthropologist, June. Editor (with Frederic W. Gleach).