The “First Course in General Anthropology:The first course in general Anthropology was offered in 1885 at the University of Vermont. Flow of Anthropological Interest One of the main reasons for this slow growth of Anthropology was the lack of vision on the part of the Europeans to recognize the similarities and homogeneity in physical and cultural aspects with the non-whites, non Europeans.
All the ‘remotely located’ societies sharing the fundamental cultural values of the European whites hardly deserved to be regarded as humans. When human diversity was accepted as ‘natural’ it opened the doors for formal studies. Credit goes to European explorers, adventurers, travelers, missionaries and a host of other people for providing rudimentary and basic information about the so-called ‘exotic’ and ‘strange’ people inhabiting the remotest of areas. Beginning of Field Work:It is interesting to know that the earliest anthropologists like Tylor, Morgan, Spencer, Boas, etc.
were by and large ‘Armchair Anthropologists’ who were basing their conclusions on the secondary data and secondary sources. They were theorizing on the accounts provided by others. The Jessup North Pacific Expedition led by Franz Boas in 1897 and the Cambridge Expedition to the Torres Straits in 1898-99 comprising Haddon, Rivers, Seligman and others mark the beginning of formal anthropological field work.
Malinowski, the great British social anthropologist of Polish origin transformed the field-work in anthropology and raised it to the status of an art and craft. Inclusion of Vast Range:Till almost the first quarter of the 20th century the common man and even the intellectual class considered the contemporary anthropologist’s as ‘eccentrics’. This was primarily due to the anthropologists’ interest in “bizarre” and “inconsequential” things. In a highly interesting and absorbing description Gopala Sarana (1983) says that the so-called liabilities, namely, the study of oddments, the so-called eccentricity of the pioneering anthropologists and romanticism which led most of them to take interest in distant places and exotic people, have proved to be most advantageous to anthropology.