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Anthropology (1942)
Carl E. Guthe

DURING the early 1920’s, the desirability of offering instruction in anthropology, the need for which had been recognized for a number of years, was made more apparent by the increased interest in the anthropological collections of the University. This led, in 1923, to the offer of a nonresident lectureship in anthropology to Colonel Thomas Callan Hodson, of London, England. As a result of his acceptance, regular courses in the subject were given in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts for the first time during the second semester of the school year 1923-24. Colonel Hodson, who had enjoyed special opportunities for research in comparative religions while serving as a member of the Indian Civil Service for many years, offered three courses. The enrollment in these indicated the interest in the subject and the advisability of making permanent arrangements for instruction in anthropology.

In the years which followed, attempts were made, without success, to find a professor of anthropology and to organize a regular department. It was finally decided to begin modestly by appointing an instructor in the subject and to develop the work gradually, with the active cooperation of the officials of the recently established Museum of Anthropology. Late in the spring of 1928, a Department of Anthropology was created in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, and Dean Effinger was authorized to appoint an advisory committee to supervise its activities. The work of this committee led to the appointment, on October 1, 1928, of Julian H. Steward (Cornell ’25, Ph.D. California ’29), then a doctoral candidate in anthropology at the University of California, as Part-time Lecturer in Anthropology and Part-time Curator in the Museum of Anthropology. Mr. Steward and Carl Eugen Guthe (’14, Ph.D. Harvard ’17), Director of the Museum of Anthropology, jointly offered an introductory course in the subject during the school year 1928-29. Although the course was organized too late to be included in the Announcement for that year, it had an enrollment of seventy-three students.

Having received his doctorate in June, 1929, Steward resigned his position in the Museum of Anthropology in September, 1929, to devote his full time to an instructorship in the College. During the school year 1929-30, a full-year introductory course was given by Steward and Guthe, who held a lectureship in the department. In addition, Dr. Steward taught three one-semester advanced courses, and conducted a seminar in primitive culture each semester. An individual research course enabled qualified students to take advantage of the library and museum facilities.

In the spring of 1930 Steward resigned to accept a position at the University of Utah and was succeeded by Leslie A. White (Columbia ’23, Ph.D. Chicago ’27), formerly of the University of Buffalo, who was appointed to an assistant professorship of anthropology in June, 1930. The courses offered in the next school year were essentially the same as those offered the previous year.

During the ensuing years, the department has grown steadily. All of the courses in anthropology were open only to upperclassmen and graduate students until 1936-37, when the full-year introductory course was opened to sophomores. That same year a survey course was established to meet the needs of upperclassmen and graduate students concentrating in other fields. In the fall of 1930, an assistantship was established in the department, and in June, 1932, White was advanced to the rank of associate professor. In November, 1935, Mischa Titiev (Harvard ’23, Ph.D. ibid. ’35) was appointed as an instructor in the department. Dr. Guthe has continued to teach one or two courses as a part-time lecturer. During this period White gradually assumed full responsibilities as the acting chairman of the department.

In the school year 1930-31, the department offered eighteen semester hours of courses, including the full-year introductory course open only to upperclassmen, and a course in research and special work each semester. In 1937-38, thirty-seven semester hours were offered, including the full-year introductory course now open to sophomores, and two courses each semester in research and special work, one in the department and the other in the Museum of Anthropology. The enrollment increased from 250 in 1930-31 to 553 in 1936-37. Regular summer session courses in anthropology were offered for the first time in the summer of 1937. Extension courses in anthropology have been given for a number of years in Detroit, Saginaw, and Pontiac.

The department is still young, but it is well established, due in no small measure to the cordial welcome it has received from the faculties of its sister departments. As yet, it is not possible to offer a full complement of courses in all the fields of anthropology. The interests and energy of the present small staff lead to an emphasis upon theoretical anthropology of the American Indian. As opportunity offers, it is planned to add courses in ethnography, comparative linguistics, archaeology, technology, and, possibly, physical anthropology. The present offerings allow students to obtain a master’s degree in the subject.

Announcement, Department [College, 1915 — ] of Literature, Science, and the Arts, Univ. Mich., 1920-40.
Catalogue …, Univ. Mich., 1920-23.
Catalogue and Register, Univ. Mich., 1923-27.
General Register Issue, Univ. Mich., 1927-40.
President’s Report, Univ. Mich., 1920-40.
Proceedings of the Board of Regents …, 1920-40.