Since the work of Franz Boas and Bronisław Malinowski in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, anthropology has been distinguished from other social sciences by its emphasis on in-depth examination of context, cross-cultural comparisons, and the importance it places on participant-observation, or long-term, experiential immersion in the area of research. Cultural anthropology in particular has emphasized cultural relativity and the use of findings to frame cultural critiques. This has been particularly prominent in the United States, from Boas's arguments against 19th-century racial ideology, through Margaret Mead's advocacy for gender equality and sexual liberation, to current criticisms of post-colonial oppression and promotion of multiculturalism.
Although the first known use of the term "transhumanism" dates from 1957, the contemporary meaning is a product of the 1980s, when a group of scientists, artists, and futurists based in the United States began to organize what has since grown into the transhumanist movement. Transhumanist thinkers predict that human beings will eventually be transformed into beings with such greatly expanded abilities as to merit the label "posthuman". Transhumanism is therefore sometimes referred to as "posthumanism" or a form of transformational activism influenced by posthumanist ideals.
Franz Boas (July 9, 1858 – December 21, 1942) was a German-American anthropologist and a pioneer of modern anthropology who has been called the "Father of American Anthropology". Like many such pioneers, he trained in other disciplines; he received his doctorate in physics, and did post-doctoral work in geography. He is famed for applying the scientific method to the study of human cultures and societies, a field which was previously based on the formulation of grand theories around anecdotal knowledge.
Boas's work in physical anthropology brought together his interest in Darwinianevolution with his interest in migration as a cause of change. His most important research in this field was his study of changes in body form among children of immigrants in New York. Boas's primary interest — in symbolic and material culture and in language — was the study of processes of change; he therefore set out to determine whether bodily forms are also subject to processes of change.
Boas has had an enduring influence on anthropology. Virtually all anthropologists today accept Boas's commitment to empiricism and his methodological cultural relativism. Moreover, virtually all cultural anthropologists today share Boas's commitment to field research involving extended residence, learning the local language, and developing social relationships with informants. In his 1963 book, Race: The History of an Idea in America, Thomas Gossett wrote that "It is possible that Boas did more to combat race prejudice than any other person in history."
...that the Mass-Observation study, co-founded in 1937 by anthropologist Tom Harrisson, enlisted hundreds of untrained British volunteers to anonymously record people's conversation and behavior at work, on the street and at various public occasions?