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The Lost Black ScholarResurrecting Allison Davis in American Social Thought$
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David A. Varel

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226534886

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226534916.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 05 August 2021

The Making of a Social Anthropologist

The Making of a Social Anthropologist

(p.62) Chapter 3 The Making of a Social Anthropologist
The Lost Black Scholar

David A. Varel

University of Chicago Press

The third chapter evaluates the formal graduate training in anthropology of Allison Davis and his wife Elizabeth Stubbs Davis. From 1931 to 1932, the couple attended Harvard College and Radcliffe College, respectively, where they both studied under racial taxonomist Earnest Hooton. Allison was especially influenced by social anthropologist Lloyd Warner, who was in the process of developing an ambitious comparative sociology of modern civilizations. The following year, Allison and Elizabeth enrolled in the PhD program in anthropology at the London School of Economics. There, Allison studied under social anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski, but he was most influenced by social biologist Lancelot Hogben, a leader in the fight against scientific racism. Growing out of his collaboration with Hogben, Allison published his first social scientific article. Allison and Elizabeth also studied briefly at the University of Berlin in the spring of 1933, but Adolf Hitler’s rise to power cut the trip short. Overall, this chapter makes clear how Davis shifted from the arts to the social sciences in order to become more relevant to black people’s needs. He did so by contributing to the environmentalist trends within social science that counteracted scientific racism.

Keywords:   Harvard, Radcliffe, Earnest Hooton, social anthropology, Lloyd Warner, London School of Economics, Bronislaw Malinowski, Lancelot Hogben, scientific racism, University of Berlin

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