Stanley Diamond
Stanley Diamond was an American poet and anthropologist. As a young man, he identified as a poet, and his disdain for the fascism of the 1930s greatly influenced his thinking.

He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a public research university located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States...

 and then New York University
New York University
New York University is a private, nonsectarian research university based in New York City. NYU's main campus is situated in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan...

, graduating from the latter with a B.A. degree in English and philosophy.

At the outbreak of World War II, Diamond joined the British Army Field Service and served in North Africa. Like many veterans of his generation, he went to graduate school on the G.I. Bill. And, in 1951, received a Ph.D. degree in anthropology from Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

, where he was greatly influenced by the anti-racism writing of Franz Boaz. Supporting Diamond's Ph.D.-degree was his unpublished dissertation "Dahomey: A Proto-State in West Africa" (1951).

After graduation, his first teaching position was at the University of California at Los Angeles, but, as a result of denouncing the McCarthyist politics
McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence. The term has its origins in the period in the United States known as the Second Red Scare, lasting roughly from the late 1940s to the late 1950s and characterized by...

 of that era and on a politically divided campus, he was dismissed and found that no other university was willing to hire him for the next three years. It was during this period that he conducted his first ethnographic fieldwork, which took him in the 1950s to an Israeli kibbutz
A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. Today, farming has been partly supplanted by other economic branches, including industrial plants and high-tech enterprises. Kibbutzim began as utopian communities, a combination of socialism and Zionism...

 and a nearby Arab mountain village. On his return to the United States, he taught at Brandeis University
Brandeis University
Brandeis University is an American private research university with a liberal arts focus. It is located in the southwestern corner of Waltham, Massachusetts, nine miles west of Boston. The University has an enrollment of approximately 3,200 undergraduate and 2,100 graduate students. In 2011, it...

, where anthropologist Paul Radin
Paul Radin
Paul Radin was a widely read American cultural anthropologist and folklorist of the early twentieth century. Born the son of a rabbi in the cosmopolitan Polish city of Łódź, he became a student of Franz Boas at Columbia, where he counted Edward Sapir and Robert Lowie among his classmates...

, a former student of Boaz, was forced to retire, and in response to which Diamond resigned.

In the 1960s, Diamond was a member of the research team, the first to study schizophrenia from a cultural perspect, at the National Institute of Mental Health
National Institute of Mental Health
The National Institute of Mental Health is one of 27 institutes and centers that make up the National Institutes of Health...

. After a professorship at the Maxwell Graduate Faculty at Syracuse University
Syracuse University
Syracuse University is a private research university located in Syracuse, New York, United States. Its roots can be traced back to Genesee Wesleyan Seminary, founded by the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1832, which also later founded Genesee College...

, he moved to The New School for Social Research in 1966, where he founded The New School's anthropology program. Within a few years, the program developed into the first critical department of anthropology in the U.S., where Diamond served as the department chair until 1983. He became the Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Humanities at The New School and also Poet in the University. Diamond later taught as visiting professor in Berlin and Mexico and at Bard College
Bard College
Bard College, founded in 1860 as "St. Stephen's College", is a small four-year liberal arts college located in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.-Location:...


As an ethnographer and social critic and in addition to conducting research in Israel, he was active among the Anaguta of the Jos Plateau
Jos Plateau
The Jos Plateau is a plateau located near the center of Nigeria. It covers 8600 km² and is bounded by 300-600 meter escarpments around much of its circumference. With an average altitude of 1280 metres and its highest point is Shere Hills 1829 meters...

 in Nigeria during the last years of British colonial rule; among the Seneca Nation
Seneca nation
The Seneca are a group of indigenous people native to North America. They were the nation located farthest to the west within the Six Nations or Iroquois League in New York before the American Revolution. While exact population figures are unknown, approximately 15,000 to 25,000 Seneca live in...

 of upstate New York; and in Biafra
Biafra, officially the Republic of Biafra, was a secessionist state in south-eastern Nigeria that existed from 30 May 1967 to 15 January 1970, taking its name from the Bight of Biafra . The inhabitants were mostly the Igbo people who led the secession due to economic, ethnic, cultural and religious...

 during the 1967-1970 Biafran War, when he advocated for Biafran independence. Diamond is also known for having founded social-science journal Dialectical Anthropology in 1976.

His published books are several volumes of poetry, including Totems and Going West and a collection of essays called In Search of the Primitive: A Critique of Civiliation (1974).

In 1968, he signed the "Writers and Editors War Tax Protest" pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the Vietnam War.

In memoriam in the journal which he founded, his legacy was recognized thus: "Diamond was one of the first anthropologists to insist that researchers both acknowledge and confront power relations, often colonial and neocolonial, that form the context of their work. His sympathetic portrayal of the Arab mountain villages, and analysis of psychodynamics on the Israeli kibbutz — as stemming from an incomplete critique of stetl life — was as much againt the grain of contemporary research then as it is today. His concern for countering racism found its way into a number of trenchant popular and scholarly writings and, always, in his teaching" (Dialectical Anthropology, vol. 16, p. 105, 1991).

Major publications

  • Culture in History, Columbia University Press, 1960.
  • Primitive Views of the World, Columbia University Press, 1964.
  • Music of the Jos Plateau and Other Regions of Nigeria (audio recording), Folkways Records, 1966.
  • The Transformation of East Africa: Studies in political anthropology
    Political anthropology
    Political anthropology concerns the structure of political systems, looked at from the basis of the structure of societies. Political anthropologists include Pierre Clastres, E. E. Evans-Pritchard, Meyer Fortes, Georges Balandier, Fredrik Bailey, Jeremy Boissevain, Marc Abélès, Jocelyne...

    (Stanley Diamond and Fred G. Burke, editors), Basic Books, 1967.
  • Anthropological Perspectives on Education (Murray L. Wax, Stanley Diamond, and Fred O. Gearing, editors), Basic Books, 1971.
  • In Search of the Primitive: A Critique of Civilization, Transaction Books, 1974.
  • Toward a Marxist Anthropology: Problems and Perspectives, Mouton, 1979.
  • Anthropology: Ancestors and Heirs (Stanley Diamond, editor), Mouton, 1980.
  • Culture in History: Essays in Honor of Paul Radin (Stanley Diamond, editor), Octagon Books, 1981.
  • Dahomey: Transition and Conflict in State Formation, Bergin & Garvey, 1983, ISBN 9780897890243
  • Paul Radin
    Paul Radin
    Paul Radin was a widely read American cultural anthropologist and folklorist of the early twentieth century. Born the son of a rabbi in the cosmopolitan Polish city of Łódź, he became a student of Franz Boas at Columbia, where he counted Edward Sapir and Robert Lowie among his classmates...

    . In: Sydel Silverman (Editor) Totems and Teachers: Key Figures in the History of Anthropology. Alta Mira, 2003, S. 51–73, ISBN 978-0759104600
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