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Valentina Mann

Department: Faculty of History

Supervisor: Prof. Peter Mandler

College: Christ's

AHRC Subject Area:History

Title of Thesis: Theoretical transitions and the formation of anthropology in international perspective, 1880-1920


I graduated for Sarah Lawrence College in 2014 with a degree in Anthropology and it was during my undergraduate studies that I first became aware of the difficulty of assessing anthropology's contributions to twentieth century thought. After a year back home in Florence working as a translator I embarked on the MPhil in Political Thought and Intellectual History at Cambridge. My dissertation focused on the German-American anthropologist Franz Boas (often considered the founder of modern cultural anthropology) and the politicization of his legacy over the course of the twentieth century. During the PhD I will attempt to further tackle the question of anthropology's intellectual contribution by considering the international dimension of its development in the crucial decades 1880-1920, when the discipline became the main site of debates regarding the existence of differences among humans as well as the implications of such assessments.