Abstract

Franz Boas is known for his role in professionalizing the scholarly outlook of native North America, which in turn has strongly influenced the general perception of them by its “products“—its collections, museum displays, and academic output—even if only by critically dealing with these. In that connection, Boas the scholar and ethnographer has received increased attention, too. His shorthand field notes fall into this category. My analysis of these notes, which I decipher here for the first time, sheds new light on Boas, the field-person, and reveals new aspects of his encounters. This article will show that whereas Boas tried to seek a deeper understanding of Indigenous peoples, he did so by ignoring much of the reality of his encounters with them. In my analysis, I not only shed light on Boas's attempts to “disentangle” the “entangled” in the name of science but also revisit the original contexts of interaction.

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