Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Highest Praise a Modern Scholar Can Receive

His position was so radical that his superiors debated suppressing his work.

– Louis Warren on James Mooney's pathbreaking 1896 work of anthropology, The Ghost Dance Religion and the Sioux Outbreak of 1890. Mooney's work was radical in a scholarly sense for attacking the distinction between primitive and advanced societies; Mooney thought the Ghost Dance was as much like Mormonism or Pentacostalism as it was like traditional Indian religion. It was radical in a political sense for suggesting that since the Ghost Dance was a modern religious movement like all the others sweeping America it should be protected by the First Amendment.

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