Interview with John W. Bennett, July 18, 2002

Project: Society for Applied Anthropology Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

John W. Bennett made important contributions to the development of agricultural and ecological anthropology. He served as president of the Society, 1960-1961.

In this interview, Bennett talks about attending graduate school for anthropology at the University of Chicago around the start of World War II. He talks about the school's attitude regarding Applied Anthropology. Bennett discusses his opinion on Applied Anthropology, which he opposes in favor of 'useful' interdisciplinary social science. Bennett discusses the origins of the idea of Applied Anthropology and how they were affected by the Harvard Business School, New Deal, the wartime atmosphere of World War II, and British colonialism. Bennett talks about some of the jobs he and Herb Passin had during World War II, including conducting public opinion surveys for the Department of Agriculture, food habit studies, and creating advertisements for the war effort. Bennett talks about how he and Herb Passin came to work in Japan during and after World War II to conduct research for the war effort for Public Opinion and Sociological Research (PONSR). He talks about some of the major projects they completed during his time as the chief of PONSR. Bennett discusses some of the major figures in the emergence of the Applied Anthropology field including Eliot Chapple, Freddy Richardson, and Margaret Mead, and Sol Tax. He talks about Tax's radical philosophy and his development of Action Anthropology, which focused on doing work that would actually help people.

Interview Accession

2002oh097_sfaa017

Interviewee Name

John W. Bennett

Interviewer Name

Robert L. Canfield

Interview Date

2002-07-18

Interview Partial Date

July 22, 2002

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Interview Usage

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Bennett, John W. Interview by Robert L. Canfield. 18 Jul. 2002. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Bennett, J.W. (2002, July 18). Interview by R. L. Canfield. Society for Applied Anthropology Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Bennett, John W., interview by Robert L. Canfield. July 18, 2002, Society for Applied Anthropology Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt7dv40jwq0j