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Uncensoring Franz Boas

Adopted by a vote of the AAA membership June 15, 2005.

WHEREAS The American Anthropological Association regrets the censure motion passed against Dr Franz Boas, third president of the AAA (1907-08), at its eighteenth annual meeting at the Peabody Museum, Harvard University, December 30, 1919, President Clark Wissler presiding and

WHEREAS the association publicly distanced itself from the opinion written by Dr Franz Boas on October 16, 1919, and published in The Nation on December 20, 1919 and

WHEREAS the majority voted that Boas’ claim was “unjustified and does not represent the opinion of the American Anthropological Association” and

WHEREAS in that open letter to the editor, “Scientists as Spies,” Boas insisted on the distinction between researchers — scientists whose lives are dedicated to “the service of truth” — and spies under the employment of the US Government and

WHEREAS Boas believed that it was immoral for scientists to use their professional identity as a cover for governmental spying activities and

WHEREAS other such incidents of anthropologists as spies have been repudiated by this Association,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the AAA rescinds that censure and entirely repudiates the 1919 motion.