Ann M. Kakaliouras - The Making of Anthropology’s ‘American Indian’: Aleš Hrdlička’s Anthropometry

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Thursday, April 21, 2016 5:30pm - 6:30pm
Salomon Center, Room 001

Aleš Hrdlička, 1869–1943, from the Archive Museum of Aleš Hrdlička in Humpolec, Czech Republic

Smithsonian Museum researcher and Father of Physical Anthropology in America, Aleš Hrdlička, staked his professional life on the accuracy and reliability of anthropometry, the metrical and qualitative study of the human body. In this talk, Ann M. Kakaliouras (Whittier College) discusses her current book project on knowledge production in the history of physical anthropology, and situates Hrdlička and his work at the center of Anthropology’s involvement with land allotment and enrollment policies on Native American reservations during the early 20th century. Hrdlička’s practices, along with those of his contemporaries, helped to create wider anthropological notions about Native authenticity, influencing the research directions of physical anthropologists and archaeologists alike. Sponsored by the Friends of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology.

Ann M. Kakaliouras is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Whittier College, and a Mellon Research Fellow at Yale University’s Whitney Humanities Center (2015-2016). She received her Ph.D from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2003) with a focus in bioarchaeology (American Southeast and Midwest), and taught at Appalachian State University for three years before taking her current position at Whittier College, near Los Angeles, CA. Since receiving her doctorate she has turned her research toward knowledge production in physical anthropology, and the history of relationships between scientific anthropologists and Native American/Indigenous people. She has written about NAGPRA (the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act) and the repatriation movement, in particular repatriation’s transformative effects on biological anthropology in the U.S. Her current project investigates how key methodologies and practices in physical/biological anthropology have produced a disciplinary version of the “American Indian,” one that has been challenged by indigenous resistance to anthropological conceptions of Native identities.

Photo Credit: Aleš Hrdlička, 1869–1943, from the Archive Museum of Aleš Hrdlička in Humpolec, Czech Republic.