Anthropology was still in its youth as an established area of study when the war broke out in 1914. The discipline, which claimed to be pursuing the “science of man,” began to take formal institutional shape in the late nineteenth century. This introductory chapter sets out this book's purpose, which is to present an intellectual and cultural history of anthropology during wartime. The book contends that World War I played a crucial role in the transformation of German anthropology from the decidedly liberal discipline of the late nineteenth century into the racist and nationalistic race science of the 1920s. Anthropologists and the impact of the war are examined primarily within three institutional contexts: the anthropological society, the university, and the ethnographic museum. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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