Alexander Goldenweiser (anthropologist)

Alexander Alexandrovich gold Weiser (Russian Александр Александрович Гольденвейзер; born January 29, 1880 in Kiev, † July 6, 1940 in Portland, Oregon) was a native of Ukraine, American anthropologist and sociologist.


Alexander Gold Weiser was the son of the lawyer Alexander Solomonovich Gold Weiser ( 1855-1915 ). His brothers were the economist Emmanuil Alexandrovich gold Weiser, in the U.S. as Emanuel A. Gold Weiser (1883-1953) is known, and the lawyer Alexei Alexandrovich gold Weiser ( 1890-1979 ).

After the emigration of the family to the United States in 1900 Alexander Gold Weiser studied the anthropology of Franz Boas at Columbia University. Gold Weiser earned his AB in 1902, his MA in 1904, and in 1910 he received his doctorate in Boaz to the PhD with a dissertation on totemism (published in the Journal of American Folk -Lore ).

After receiving his doctorate taught gold Weiser to 1919 at Columbia University. After that, he worked at, which was founded in 1919, New School for Social Research as a lecturer. Among his colleagues were John Dewey, James Harvey Robinson, and Thorstein Veblen. 1926 ended the lectureship, and gold Weiser was co-editor of the Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences.

From 1915 to 1929 taught gold Weiser also at the edge School for Social Science. This school had the Socialist Party of America in 1906. In 1923 he accepted a professorship at the University of Washington, and from 1930 to 1938 he taught at the University of Oregon in Eugene. Gold has held visiting professorships Weiser 1937 to 1938 at the University of Wisconsin and in the time from 1933 to 1939 at Reed College.


In his questions Alexander Gold Wieser included on the anthropology, the insights of psychology and psychoanalysis in addition, so special in the works for cultural diffusion. Theoretical aspects he could from his field studies gain among the Iroquois. In total, he spent ten months in the years 1911-1913 in the Grand River Reserve in Ontario. Here he was concerned with symbolic and mystical relationship with the totemism. Gold Weiser realized that the structures of primitive peoples ( nonliterate people) not fundamentally different from the life-world of modern humans.


  • Totemism. An analytical Study. In: Journal of American Folk -Lore, Volume 23, Boston 1910, pp. 179-293.
  • Early Civilization. An Introduction to Anthropology. Knopf, New York 1922. ( Digitized )
  • The Social Sciences and Their Interrelations. With William Fielding Ogburn. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1927.
  • History. Psychology and Culture. Knopf, New York 1933.
  • Anthropology. An Introduction to Primitive Culture. Appleton - Century- Crofts, New York 1937.