Sociology Index

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John Montgomery Cooper

John Montgomery Cooper (October 28, 1881 – May 22, 1949) was an American priest, anthropologist, and sociologist. He was a sociology professor at the Catholic University of America and from 1934 to 1949 served as chairman of the first Department of Anthropology in a Catholic university. In his anthropological fieldwork, he specialized in studying the Indians of South America and Native Americans of North America. Cooper founded the academic journal Primitive Man, which was renamed Anthropological Quarterly in 1953.

In a hearing before the United States Senate in 1945, To Permit all people from India residing in the United States to be Naturalized, Cooper recorded that: "The people of India are predominantly Caucasoid. Their features, hair texture, hairiness, the shape of the nose, mouth, and so on, are all distinctly Caucasoid". Caucasoid was a word for a person from Europe, West Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, North Africa, or the Horn of Africa. Cooper established the Department of Religious Education at the Catholic University of America in 1920. He became an associate professor of sociology in 1923 and gained a professorship in sociology in 1928. John Montgomery Cooper served as chairman of the first Department of Anthropology in a Catholic university.

As an anthropologist, his original fieldwork was in the Tête de Boule of Ottawa. John Montgomery Cooper took research trips to study Native American tribes who spoke Algonquian languages, making several visits to the Great Plains and northeastern Canada. From his studies there, Cooper wrote many articles about Algonquian culture, customs, and religion. Cooper developed the theory that both the South American and North American Indians were "marginal peoples" who were cultural relics from prehistoric times and had been displaced by subsequent migrations into less desirable living areas. He first publicized this theory in his 1941 book Temporal Sequence and the Marginal Cultures.