Handbook of South American Indians

The Handbook of South American Indians is a monographic series of edited scholarly and reference volumes in ethnographic studies, published by the Smithsonian Institution between 1940 and 1947.[1]

In 1932, Baron Erland Nordenskiöld agreed to edit the series for the National Research Council Division of Anthropology and Psychology; however, he died that year. The Smithsonian Institution agreed to sponsor the series but adequate funds were not approved by US Congress until 1940. Julian Steward edited the series. Ultimately, over a hundred scholars from Latin America, the United States, and Europe contributed and provided advice for the series.[1]

This six-volume series, with an additional index volume, documents information about Indigenous peoples of South America, including cultural and physical aspects of the people, language family, history, and prehistory. This is a reference work for historians, anthropologists, other scholars, and the general reader. The series utilizes noted authorities for each topic. The set is illustrated, indexed, and has extensive bibliographies. Volumes may be purchased individually.

Paul Radin reviewed the first four volumes, generally giving a favorable evaluation, but noting that the volumes are a "compromise between a handbook and a textbook."[2] Radin criticizes the relative neglect of religion as a topic, as well as the neglect of functional aspects of indigenous cultures. He highly praises the inclusion of the cultures of the indigenous in the Southern Cone, which is new in the anthropological literature. He also esteems the article on Andean civilizations, while deeming the volume on the circum-Caribbean groups the weakest.[3]

Bibliographic information

Handbook of South American Indians / Julian H. Steward, General Editor. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1940-1947.

Volume 1: The Marginal Tribes

Steward, ed., Julian H. (1946), The Marginal Tribes, Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, p. 623CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)

Sections

  1. Indians of Southern South America
  2. Indians of the Gran Chaco
  3. The Indians of Eastern Brazil

Volume 2: The Andean Civilizations

Steward, ed., Julian H. (1946), The Andean Civilizations, Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, p. 1935CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)

Volume 3: The Tropical Forest Tribes

Steward, ed., Julian H. (1948), The Tropical Forest Tribes, Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, p. 986CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)

Sections

  1. The Coastal and Amazonian Tupi
  2. The Tribes of Mato Grosso and Eastern Bolivia
  3. Tribes of the Montana and Bolivian East Andes
  4. Tribes of the western Amazon Basin
  5. Tribes of the Guianas and the Left Amazon Tributaries

Volume 4: The Circum-Caribbean Tribes

Steward, ed., Julian H. (1948), The Circum-Caribbean Tribes, Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, p. 609CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)

Sections

  1. Central American Cultures
  2. The Cultures of Northwest South America
  3. The West Indies

Volume 5: The Comparative Ethnology of South American Indians

Steward, ed., Julian H. (1949), The Comparative Ethnology of South American Indians, Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, p. 818CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)

Sections

  1. A Cross-Cultural Survey of South American Indian Tribes
  2. Jesuit Missions in South America
  3. The Native Populations of South America
  4. South American Cultures: An Interpretative Summary

Volume 6: Physical Anthropology, Linguistics and Cultural Geography of South American Indians

Steward, ed, Julian H (1950). Physical Anthropology, Linguistics and Cultural Geography of South American Indians. 6. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution. p. 715.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)

Sections

  1. Ancient Man
  2. Physical Anthropology
  3. The languages of South American Indians
  4. Geography and Plant and Animal Resources

Volume 7: Index

Steward, ed., Julian H. (1959), The Comparative Ethnology of South American Indians, Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, p. 286CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)

Notes

  1. "Handbook of South American Indians (1940-1947), Records."National Anthropological Archives and Human Studies Film Archives . (retrieved 24 Feb 2011)
  2. Paul Radin, "Review Article," Hispanic American Historical Review, vol. 28, No. 4 (Nov. 1948), p. 540.
  3. Radin, "Review," p. 540.
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