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Lewis Henry Morgan at 200: A Critical Appreciation

January 18, 2018
12:00 PM - 02:00 PM
Humanities Center Conference Room D

Robert Foster presents as part of the Jesse L. Rosenberger Work-in-Progress Seminar Series. Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP to

2018 is the bicentennial of the birth of Lewis Henry Morgan (d. 1881), a Rochester attorney and founding figure of American anthropology. In his day, Morgan was an internationally famous scientist whose work was cited by Darwin. He remains well known in anthropology for his studies of Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) social and political organization, but his evolutionary approach to the history of human societies, an important influence on Marx and Engels, has fallen into disfavor.

Morgan was a prominent citizen of Rochester, a successful businessman who served in the New York State Assembly and Senate. He bequeathed not only his library and papers to the University of Rochester, but also a sizeable estate, which he earmarked for the creation of a women’s college. Nevertheless, Morgan is hardly as well remembered locally as his contemporaries Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass.

This presentation is an introduction to a Humanities Project in-progress that aims to offer a critical appreciation of Morgan’s various legacies. Components of the project include: partnerships with community organizations; a speaker and film series; a research colloquium for UR students; public exhibits; and an innovative website offering digital resources for students, scholars and the public at large. Feedback and suggestions are invited.

Category: Work in Progress Seminar