Nélia Dias

website / nelia.dias@iscte.pt / Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

Special Focus: Fields, Furrows, and Landmarks in the History of Anthropology

Read the full Focus Section here.

Obituary: Britta Rupp-Eisenreich (1928–2017)

It was perhaps because of her Austrian origins and her cosmopolitan life-course that Britta Rupp-Eisenreich was able, from the beginning of the 1980s, to play a pioneering role in the field of the history of anthropology in France. In 1981, she organized the first workshop devoted to the history of anthropology during the symposium of the French Association of Anthropologists (AFA)[1], providing an overview of the current state of the field.[2] In addition to two publications from this workshop[3], Britta Rupp-Eisenreich was the author of numerous works on subjects including social Darwinism in Germany, links between philology and ethnology, and figures such as Georg Forster, Christoph Meiners and Franz Reuleaux. (The choice to study the latter was largely due to her training at the Musée de l’Homme under the direction of André Leroi-Gourhan.) In a certain sense, Britta Rupp-Eisenreich was a relay for ideas between German-speaking countries and France. (She also translated Herman Hesse’s Magie du livre: Écrits sur la littérature.) Continue reading

A History Set Free From Its Object?

A dark orange sheet of paper was inserted in the December 2003 issue of History of Anthropology Newsletter (HAN), containing the following headline: ‘Regime Change at HAN’. The short text briefly mentioned the new editor and her publications without any editorial statement. Does this mean that the history of anthropology was by 2003 an established domain of research and consequently that HAN no longer needed to justify itself? To what extent did the absence of an editorial statement signal a sort of implicit recognition that the field had been ‘occupied’ by historians of science, and that the transition (not entirely smooth) from intellectual history to history of science had taken place between 1973 and 2003? Or was it the acknowledgement that the ‘Problems’ raised by the 1973 statement were no longer thorny issues? Continue reading