George and Louise Spindler are widely regarded as significant founders of the field of educational anthropology. This book brings together their best, most seminal work from the last 50 years--a time frame representing the developmental epoch of the field--and binds them together with a master commentary by George Spindler. Previously scattered over a wide range of publications, the articles collected here allow for a unified view of the Spindlers' work and of the development of the field.
The book opens with an insightful Foreword by Henry T. Trueba, a fascinating piece titled "A Life With Anthropology and Education: Interviews With George and Louise Spindler by Ray McDermott and Frederick Erickson," and George Spindler's "Previews" essay which gives the reader a grasp of the whole to which the parts of the book contribute. These pieces frame and contextualize the work that follows.
In Part I, Character Defining, many of the major themes of this volume are first encountered; this section sets the stage for what follows. Part II, Comparisons, focuses on comparison, which the Spindlers view as essential to an anthropological approach. Part III, Ethnography in Action, is devoted to the explicit exposition of ethnographic methods (though actually every piece in the book is a demonstration of method). Part IV, American Culture, moves from a traditional representation of American Culture to a processual analysis of how the culture is transmitted in real situations, and finally to an interpretation of right-wing actions that seem to constitute a reactive movement; the implications for education are pursued. Part V, Cultural Therapy , explains what cultural therapy is and how it may be applied to teachers and students. The volume concludes with Part VI, Orientation, Susan Parman's overview of the works of the Spindlers that spans their whole career.
"A very good selection of the best work done by George and Louise Spindler….What is extraordinary in their work is the consistency of themes and research activities….[It] presents a cohesive nucleus with a very forceful intent to change anthropological inquiry into action for a better understanding of cultural expectations in school contexts. The question is, how did George and Louise become the champions of cultural therapy in an anthropological world that was inherently colonialist, oppressive, and insensitive? What peculiar events in their fifty years of anthropological research and publications led them from the beginning to pursue cultural understanding for the sake of equity? Although we knew part of the answer, this volume provides the most eloquent and powerful statements, and the most touching candid revelations about their family life that explain why the Spindlers accomplished so much in their search for equity."
—Henry T. Trueba
From the Foreword
"Encapsulates the changes (and resilience) of the field over the last 50 years. The articles are among the best the Spindlers have written, the quality of the scholarship is extremely high, and the book is clearly and informatively organized."
University of Utah
"Assembles much of the work of the Spindlers, providing a historical record and document of their impressive contributions to the field of educational anthropology."
University of Vermont
Contents: H.T. Trueba, Foreword. Preface. R. McDermott, F. Erickson, A Life With Anthropology and Education: Interviews With George and Louise Spindler. Previews. Part I:Character Definition. Anthropology and Education: An Overview: The 1954 Conference on Education and Anthropology (1955). The Transmission of American Culture (1959). Education in a Transforming American Culture (1955). Beth Anne: A Case Study of Culturally Defined Adjustment and Teacher Perceptions (1974). Why Have Minority Groups in North America Been Disadvantaged by Their Schools (1974)? The Transmission of Culture (1967). Part II:Comparisons. There Are No Dropouts Among the Arunta and the Hutterites (1989). Das Remstal (From Male and Female in Four Changing Cultures) (1990). Roger Harker and Schoenhausen: From Familiar to Strange and Back Again (1982). Cultural Dialogue and Schooling in Schoenhausen and Roseville (1987). Part III:Ethnography in Action. Teaching and Learning How to Do the Ethnography of Education (1988). Transcultural Sensitization (1997). Crosscultural, Comparative, Reflective Interviewing in Schoenhausen and Roseville (1993). Part IV:American Culture. Consensus and Continuity in American Culture (1983). Schooling in the American Cultural Dialogue (1990). Cultural Policies in the White Ethni-Class in the Mid-90s (1998). Part V:Cultural Therapy. The Processes of Culture and Person: Cultural Therapy and Culturally Diverse Schools (1993). Part VI:Orientation. S. Parman, Making the Familiar Strange: The Anthropological Dialogue of George and Louise Spindler (1998). L. Hammond, Memoir. Conclusion.