Part of this concerns the different colonial experiences of the former "great" imperial powers (England, France, etc) as opposed to the earlier creeping colonial expansion of America, Spain, etc. There really was no 'anthropology' as such until the great power expansions for markets, resources, etc., of the later 19th century. Then, they were really needed. Earlier, (as well as later), force was simply the necessary factor, not some as-yet-non-existent social science. Different times have different responses. But remember, however, whatever they come up with is usually inadequate (or not really listened to--cf. the essentially useless Human Terrain experiments of the U.S. in Afghanistan). I am not saying the colonial anthropologists nor the Human Terrain people today are not insidious, it is just that the generals usually follow their own ideas. And many anthropologists who hire on to this kind of stuff are frequently hopeless.
This is not to say there were not folks who served imperial and colonial expansion--they were just mostly adventurers, explorers, etc. A few, however, were explicit, such as Sylvanus Morley in Yucatan. David Price probably has much more detail on these matters.
Best of luck on whatever you come up with. Jim Faris
Some good points. I understand that there is a historical perspective that sees colonialism as different in the Americas than in places like Africa. This seems to be odds with the experience of Indigenous nations. Doing a genealogical history of how they American colonies (and eventually the United States government) negotiated and fought with Indigenous Nations demonstrates a much colonial enterprise that still takes place today. This colonial enterprise was/is underscored by notions of evoutionary thought (stage theories) ala enlightenment thinking. As much as Jefferson and Franklin, for example, loved and respected the ingenuity and advancement of Indigenous nations, they still wanted to dispossess them of their lands. Jefferson thought the best way to do so was by making them into farmers (since they allegedly had not progressed to this 'natural' stage of human evolution. Doing this, they could be brought into the modern and assimilated into the United States culture/politic.
Jump to the mid 20th century and we have people like Julian Steward working for the Department of Justice in providing evolutionary arguments to not only deny them land claims, but overturn legal Treaty agreements. The logic is that since they are so primitive on a scale of socio-cultural evolution, then whatever agreements the US made are null and void because it was mistake to assume such a primitive people had the authority to make such agreements.
The Calfifornia claims commissions and the Termination policies (HCR 108 in Congress) were driven by evolutionary thought and the assumption that assimilation is immanent and unavoidable: why not speed it along? Court cases in North america are still basically Indigenous peopls trying to resist a colonial foreign power. Anthrcopology in these court cases anthropologists are still the legal experts with the govenremnts side trying to argue that Indians are too primitive to have considerations.... the cases (which I read) often descend into absurdities.
It really is a clear misuse of law and argument to sustain a colonial enterprise over indigenous peoples. My question is why we can see and analyze these colonialisms elsewhere, but here the distinction is made between them as being different. Im not so convinced that they are. It is only in the western historical account that it is written as being different. Especially from a western legal perspective, it seems both the US and Canada as legal political entities are by definition still colonial.
It would be great to see some anthropological studies done on the legal and political aspect of this ongoing colonial relationship (the concept of Treaty for example would be interesting and what settler society's obligations are to the Treaties).
THe silence to me on this subject is shocking... no?
Thanks Jim. That is kinda where I think the problem is manifest now; the idea that 'we dont do that bad anthropology' anymore. Yet, in the court cases, in Canada, for example- it is precisely that 'bad' anthropology that is still being argued in current cases over land rights and aboriginal title.
In the history of anthropology, there is no shortage of work labelling the British school (RB and Malinowksi, for example) handmaidens of colonialism, even thought both wrote scathing critiques of colonial administrations and endeavoured to fight against the establishment. Malinowski has a great article from the 1930s warning about the future of anthropology. Stocking's book on colonialism doesnt say anything about North America; Talal Asad's anthropology and the colonial encounter doesnt either.
I get the sense that the 'institution/elite-ism' that you point out is a major part of this silence, but I wonder if there is an ongoing complicity of social science with American colonialism; a cooptation in the ongoing denial of indigenous claims for recognition and treaty rights. We keep producing knowledge- more and more knowledge, theory and so on, but at what point are we trapping ourselves in our own mythologies....? I think these are questions that will eventually occupy our complete attention as a professional and intellectual community.