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Franz Boas: The Mind of Primitive Man


Franz Boas: The Mind of Primitive Man


The Mind of Primitive Man by Franz Boas has become one of the most widely read and influential books ever written.  

Historians have long recognized the monumental role that Franz Boas played in eviscerating the racist worldview that prevailed in the American social sciences at the beginning of the 20th century. With compelling scientific evidence, Boas proved “that all men are born with identical and universal human attributes, and thus are created equal.”

Published in numerous editions and translated into virtually every modern language, The Mind of Primitive Man has not been out of print since 1911.

● Contains extended historical context and a critical essay:  Franz Boas: The Magna Carta of Race Relations, by Leslie Scarry

“The Mind of Primitive Man has always been among the most influential and popular of Franz Boas’ studies. His writing is lucid, involving and evocative, and sheds more light on the issue of what is basic to all human nature, and what is culturally influenced, than any other I know. An absolute must read for anyone concerned with the history, development, and defense of personal freedom.”

Sally Hirschorn

FRANZ BOAS (1858-1942), has long been considered the father of modern American anthropology. He introduced the relativistic, culture-centered principles and methods of investigation that continue to dominate the field today. By attempting to fuse anthropology with political and social activism, he sought to insure that his scientific contributions had practical relevance to the complex and challenging issues of race and gender facing American society and indeed, the world.

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