Melville Jean Herskovits

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Herskovits, Melville Jean


Born Sept. 10, 1895, in Bellefontaine, Ohio; died Feb. 25, 1963, in Evanston, 111. American anthropologist.

Herskovits’ chief works deal with the general anthropology and cultures of the African peoples and the Negroes of America. Beginning in 1930, Herskovits conducted anthropological studies of areas along the Guinean coast of Africa and in Latin America. He studied the problems of acculturation and the economy and culture of primitive societies, emphasizing the independent value of the cultures of all the peoples (the theory of cultural relativism).


Acculturation: The Study of Culture Contact. New York, 1938.
Economic Anthropology. New York, 1952.
Cultural Anthropology. New York, 1955.


Artanovskii, S. N. “‘Kul’turnyi’ reliativizm v amerikanskoi etnografii.” In Sovremennaia amerikanskaia etnografiia. Moscow, 1963.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Quoting Melville Jean Herskovits and others, Spencer concludes in the chapter on mythologies of the blues that "the trickster-like 'devil' of African-American lore of the old South (and country blues) was often portrayed as a conjurer; the trickster-like 'devil' in the new North (and in city blues) was often portrayed as a pimp" (p.