Monday workshop
Monday, February 25, 2013 (All day)

337 Cohen Hall

Emily Martin, New York University

"Steps toward an anthropology of the human subject in experimental psychology"

Abstract: Historians of psychology have described how the "introspection" of early Wundtian psychology largely came to be ruled out of experimental settings by the mid 20th century. In this talk I take a fresh look at the years before this process was complete -- from the vantage point of early anthropological and psychological field expeditions.  The psychological research conducted during and after the Cambridge Anthropological Expedition to the Torres Straits Islands (CAETS) in 1898 had a certain impact on Ludwig Wittgenstein, who, among other things, became an important commentator on experimental psychology. In his later writings, Wittgenstein frequently referred to "anthropological facts" and "anthropological phenomena." He articulated some of the central tenets of cultural anthropological analysis. His efforts to move the ground of analysis from philosophy to anthropology take on greater force in the light of his acquaintance with the early history of anthropology.  I will take this opportunity to reconsider the importance of the CAETS in the history of anthropology and to explore some possible ways of approaching experimental psychology ethnographically.