Repository logo
 

Data, Meta Data and Pattern Data: How Franz Boas Mobilized Anthropometric Data, 1890 and Beyond

Published version
Peer-reviewed

Type

Book chapter

Change log

Authors

Müller-Wille, Staffan 

Abstract

jats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:pBetween 1890 and 1911, the German-American anthropologist Franz Boas conducted a whole suite of anthropometric studies, which all in all generated data from body measurements carried out on about 27,000 individuals. To this day, this data is being re-analyzed by researchers with a range of disciplinary interests. In my chapter, I will take a close look at a small subset of the original datasheets Boas used in his surveys, and how he and other scientists processed the data in later publications. My analysis will reveal that the extraordinary potential for travel and re-use of Boas’s data crucially depended on the way in which he designed his surveys. Alongside recording standard anthropometric variables, Boas collected genealogical and geographical information on the individuals measured, which allowed him to flexibly classify data in a variety of ways. It is this richness in structure, or “pattern data,” that explains why the data from Boas’s anthropometric projects remain valuable for researchers from a variety of disciplines to this very day.</jats:p>

Description

Title

Data, Meta Data and Pattern Data: How Franz Boas Mobilized Anthropometric Data, 1890 and Beyond

Keywords

33 Built Environment and Design, 3304 Urban and Regional Planning

Is Part Of

Data Journeys in the Sciences

Book type

Publisher

Springer International Publishing

ISBN

9783030371760