New Book on Anthropologist Franz Boas Examines Views on Race, War and Free Speech

NEW YORK, Feb. 8, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The author of a new book on Franz Boas today announced its publication.

“The Political Activism of Anthropologist Franz Boas, Citizen Scientist (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Jan. 23, 2024) is written by The New School professor Alan H. McGowan, a native of Watertown, MA.

Boas, a German-American anthropologist dubbed the “father of American anthropology,” comes to life from 15 years of research by McGowan, who looks at Boas’s tenure at the Museum of Natural History and Columbia University, among other places. One of Boas’ students was Margret Mead.

While not a household name, Boas was part of a February 7 Jeopardy clue about starting the Anthropology Department at Columbia in 1902 – the country’s first.

McGowan examines the ground-breaking anthropologist’s denial of racial superiority in favor of cultural relativity. Boas opposed U.S. entry into WWI, organized a group protecting free speech, and was among the first proponents of scientists discussing political issues.


“The first biography to emphasize the political dimension of Boas’s work”

Jonathan Gould, author of “Can’t Buy Me Love”

“Masterfully” written, “this book is a revelation.”

Adam Van Doren, artist, author, and documentary filmmaker

“The book is “important for people grappling with … environmental (and) racial justice, indigenous sovereignty, or gender and justice, … McGowan has written a thoughtful and enjoyable book.”

Steven Kolmes, Editor-in-Chief, Environment Magazine

About the Author

Alan H. McGowan was selected as 2019’s Top Science and Technical Expert by the International Association of Top Professionals. Now a professor at The New School, he served first as Chair of the Science, Technology, and Society Program, and Chair of the Environmental Studies Program, where he developed a newsletter disseminated to 400 environmental studies leaders. He is a Yale graduate in mechanical engineering.

For more information on the book and McGowan

The Political Activism of Anthropologist Franz Boas, Citizen Scientist – Cambridge Scholars Publishing

The Political Activism of Anthropologist Franz Boas, Citizen Scientist: McGowan, Alan H.: 9781527566859: Books

Alan McGowan | The New School

Alan H McGowan – Biography 

Publication Information

“The Political Activism of Anthropologist Franz Boas, Citizen Scientist” by Alan H. McGowan

Publication Date: Jan. 23, 2024

Cambridge Scholars Publishing/UK

267 pages

Hardcover: $82

ISBN: 1-5275-6685-4

ISBN 13: 978-1-5275-6685-9

PR Contact:

Andrew Blum, AJB Communications 917-783-1680, [email protected]

Cision View original content:

SOURCE Alan McGowan


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