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Éric de Dampierre at the Heart of French Ethnology, by Margaret Buckner

HAR is pleased to announce one of the latest releases from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article, in English, on the trajectory and legacy of French ethnologist Éric de Dampierre.

Buckner, Margaret, 2023. “Éric de Dampierre: Social Scientist and Discreet Builder of French Ethnology”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Ethnologist and sociologist Éric de Dampierre (1928–1998) was one of the main driving forces behind French ethnology from the 1960s to the 1990s. After studying literature, law and political science, he spent two decisive years (1950–1952) at the University of Chicago as a member of the Committee on Social Thought. A former student of Dampierre, Margaret Buckner traces his scholarly activities and contributions by drawing on both published and unpublished material, as well as personal conversations. She vividly outlines the exceptional trajectory of Dampierre from early scholarship to a position of leadership in the Parisian academia at the University of Nanterre, while highlighting his meticulous, long-term fieldwork experience in Africa. After discovering the Nzakara-Zande country in 1954, Dampierre set up a “sociological mission” in the Haut-Oubangui territory of French Equatorial Africa (now the Central African Republic) and he returned there almost every year until 1987. Having mastered the language and its poetry, he had an unequaled understanding of the Zande-Nzakara peoples and their neighbors. In this article, Buckner intertwines the main themes of Dampierre’s researches and his strategic contributions to the affirmation of ethnology and the social sciences in France. Despite his mentorship of generations of students and junior colleagues, his many publishing projects, and his shrewd maneuvering in institutional circles, Dampierre’s role in the history of the discipline is often overlooked. Less known internationally than a Claude Lévi-Strauss or a Georges Balandier, this “discreet” key figure is now brought to the fore. Buckner’s in-depth study is also a personal portrait and a tribute to her former teacher.

Traveller-Scientist Wilhelm Joest and the Shaping of Völkerkunde, by Carl Deußen

HAR is pleased to announce one of the latest releases from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article, in English, on German ethnographer and collector Wilhelm Joest.

Deußen, Carl, 2022. “An Obscure Forschungsreisender ? Wilhelm Joest and the Shaping of Ethnology in Late 19th Century Germany”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Born in Cologne as the eldest son of a family of wealthy Protestant sugar merchants, German ethnographer and collector Wilhelm Joest (1852–1896) started his career with an extensive collecting journey through Asia (1879–1881). A disciple of Adolf Bastian (1826–1905), who supervised his doctoral thesis on the Gorontalo or Hulontalo language spoken in Indonesia by the Gorontalo people, Joest published his first scientific articles in the Zeitschrift für Ethnologie in 1892. These publications and his travelogues, together with his strategic donating of artefacts to various German ethnographic museums, quickly earned Joest a reputation. He went on two more expeditions, to Southern Africa (1883–1884) and to the Guianas (1890), published his main work Tätowiren, Narbenzeichnen und Körperbemalen (Tattooing, Ornamental Scars and Bodypainting) in 1887 and, finally, received his titular professorship in 1890. After his death, his collection fell to his sister Adele Rautenstrauch (1850–1903), an influential patron and benefactor who lobbied for the creation of an ethnographic museum in their hometown of Cologne. The Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum opened in 1906. This path-breaking article on a forgotten figure in disciplinary history traces Joest’s introduction into Völkerkunde as an avid collector of ethnographic artefacts on a global scale, as well as his career as a scholar and travel writer. It highlights Joest’s ideal of the Forschungsreisender, or traveller-scientist, and how this methodology influenced his understanding of racialised Others within an imperial context. Joest excelled in travelogues geared towards larger audiences, which became his most influential writing. Carl Deußen argues that although Joest did not have a marked theoretical influence on the development of German ethnology, his contribution was still crucial to the emergence of the discipline in the late 19th century.

René Depestre and the Metamorphoses of Cuban Anthropology, by Kali Argyriadi

HAR is pleased to announce one of the latest releases from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article, in French, on the contributions of Haitian writer René Depestre to Cuban anthropology.

Argyriadis, Kali, 2022. “Réné Depestre à Cuba: un ‘faire savoir’ anthropologique”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Haitian poet and novelist René Depestre (1926– ) is also known for his Marxist reflections on color, his critique of the concept of Négritude (Blackness) being considered a major contribution to Caribbean anthropological debates. In 1945, he was one of the founders of the newspaper La Ruche, which opposed the ruling elite associated with President Élie Lescot and eventually contributed to triggering the 1946 revolution in Haiti. Depestre lived in France, where he met numerous influential literary and political figures from diverse European, Latin American, Caribbean and African backgrounds but was eventually expelled from the country. He then began a journey that took him from Czechoslovakia to Chile, then to Brazil and back to France, before returning to Haiti in 1957. An opponent of the new regime of François Duvalier and a critic of his “noiriste” theories, Depestre moved to Cuba in March 1959 and lived there for almost twenty years. In addition to his literary production, he published numerous anthropological essays in Havana. Based on an interview with Depestre in 2015, this article analyses his writings and those of his contemporaries in the first two decades of the Revolución Cubana, while looking in detail at his contributions to the renewal of Cuban anthropology. By following Depestre’s views on topics such as decolonization and pan-Africanism, Argyriadis unveils both the political debates of the time and the turbulent transformations of anthropology in Cuba, a discipline that first highlighted the African element of Cuban national identity but later gave way to a Soviet-style rural ethnography. Depestre returned to France and worked at UNESCO. A key figure within a vast international network of visionary intellectuals and artists, he promoted dialogue between worlds separated by language, history or geopolitical affiliations. According to Argyriadis, this unique figure in the history of anthropology was “expelled from both sides of the Iron Curtain.”

Ethnography and Anthropology Before and After Malinowski – a Special Issue Edited by Vermeulen and Rosa

HAR is pleased to announce a new release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: a special issue including thirteen short papers originally delivered at a virtual round table held on July 7, 2022, at the Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI), London, to celebrate the centennial of Bronisław Malinowski’s Argonauts of the Western Pacific (1922–2022) and the appearance of the edited volume Ethnographers Before Malinowski: Pioneers of Anthropological Fieldwork 1870-1922 (Rosa and Vermeulen, Berghahn Books, EASA Series, 2022).

Vermeulen, Han F. & Frederico Delgado Rosa (eds.). 2022. “Before and After Malinowski: Alternative Views on the History of Anthropology [A Virtual Round Table at the RAI]”, BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Chaired by David Shankland and Thomas Hylland Eriksen, with Andrew Lyons as discussant, the two-part round table at the RAI in London highlighted the history of ethnography before Malinowski’s Argonauts, the genesis of British social anthropology in 1922, and its aftermath in Britain and beyond. The resulting papers discuss the three theses that opened the round table: (1) In the fifty years before the publication of Argonauts of the Western Pacific, a growing number of ethnographers produced hundreds of ethnographic monographs worldwide, but much of their work was sidetracked or neglected by Malinowski and his followers; (2) Malinowski is still celebrated as the inventor of intensive fieldwork in a single society, despite the fact that he had many predecessors in other societies and continents pursuing the same goal; and (3) the success of British social anthropology has been partly due to its marginalizing the relative importance of other approaches such as non-functionalist ethnographies, comparative studies and ethnohistory. Participants in the round table/contributors to this special issue are (in alphabetical order): Sophie Chevalier, Barbara Chambers Dawson, Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Michael Kraus, Adam Kuper, Herbert S. Lewis, Andrew Lyons, David Mills, Frederico Delgado Rosa, David Shankland, James Urry, Han F. Vermeulen, and Rosemary Lévy Zumwalt.

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The Inescapable Ethnography of Giannechini – by Combès and García

HAR is pleased to announce one of the latest releases from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article (in Spanish) on Italian missionary and ethnographer Massimino Giannecchini.

Combès, Isabelle & Pilar Garcia Jordán, 2022. “Fray Doroteo Giannecchini: lingüista, etnógrafo y explorador del Chaco boliviano”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Born in Tuscany, Massimino Candido Regolo Giannecchini (1837-1900) was a Franciscan missionary, ordained in 1854 under the name Doroteo. In January 1860 he went to Tarija, in the south of Bolivia. For more than three decades, he was a missionary among Indigenous communities of the Chaco, such as the Chiriguanos and the Tobas. He could not manage to publish his abundant linguistic and ethnographic materials during his lifetime, but his manuscripts were exploited and used throughout the twentieth century by numerous authors who did not always acknowledge their debt to him. The publication in 1996 of his Historia natural, etnografía, geografía, lingüística del Chaco boliviano (Natural history, ethnography, geography and linguistics of the Bolivian Chaco) unveiled his important contributions and made him an inescapable reference for Chaco history, ethnography and linguistics. In this in-depth presentation of this Italian scholarly missionary, Combès and García contextualize his ethnographic endeavors and conclude that despite the inevitable biases linked to his evangelizing action “his sharp observations and reflections on social life, the status of women and political organization, among other topics, place Giannecchini in the pantheon of great missionary ethnographers”.

A Critical Paradigm for the Histories of Anthropology – by Regna Darnell

HAR is pleased to announce one of the latest releases from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: a short essay on the historiography of anthropology by Regna Darnell, which was originally the keynote address of the 4th Meeting of the EASA’s History of Anthropology Network (HOAN), virtually held on November 18, 2022.

Darnell, Regna, 2022. “A Critical Paradigm for the Histories of Anthropology.
The Generalization of Transportable Knowledge,”
in BEROSE International
Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology
, Paris.

HOAN addresses anthropology’s multiple histories. The plurality of its mandate constitutes a rallying point for diverse interests across conventional silos of knowledge accumulation and practice, with the potential to reach other audiences and publics in the academy and beyond. Regna Darnell has addressed specific audiences from her vantage point as an interdisciplinary historian of anthropology and linguistics. By and large, the audience for these discourses remains a closed circle of known colleagues with familiar ways of speaking to one another. She argues that the variables emerging in these discourses recur across them, and that we urgently need a new paradigm retaining the value of the particular while seeking generalization through cycles of change and geographic location. What she calls “transportable knowledge” toggles between them in a paradigm shift from the history of anthropology that emerged in the 1960s to address causes and rationales of what happened in the past. The new model foregrounds the complexity of decision-making in a rapidly changing world using available information. Read in context, in hindsight non-optimal choices avoid what she calls “assassination by anachronism.”

Rediscovering Kamba Simango, African Disciple of Franz Boas, by Lorenzo Macagno

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article, in English, on the career of Kamba Simango, Mozambican anthropologist and student of Boas.

Macagno, Lorenzo, 2022. “From Mozambique to New York: The Cosmopolitan Pathways of Kamba Simango, African Disciple of Franz Boas,” in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Born in 1890, in the Machanga District on the coast of present-day Mozambique, Kamba Simango was an ethnographer, missionary, musician, performer and activist. In 1914, under the auspices of the missionaries of the American Board of Missions, he was sent to the United States to study at the Hampton Institute, a college where African-Americans and young people from Africa learned sciences, literature, and manual skills. In 1919, after completing his studies at the Hampton Institute, Kamba Simango was sent to the Teachers College at Columbia University, where he would remain until 1923. Immediately after his arrival in Columbia, Kamba Simango was presented to Franz Boas. The two immediately struck up a rapport. The father of North American anthropology wanted Simango to become not only a mere “informant” but a native ethnographer, furnished with anthropological tools. They became collaborators and friends. Boas hoped that upon returning to Mozambique, Simango would write about his people (the Vandau), independently of his commitments to the missionaries of the American Board.

Based on the exchange of letters that the pair kept up for many years, this extraordinary article unveils the itineraries of the ethnographic dialogue between the famous anthropologist and his forgotten disciple. Simango’s years in New York coincided with the start of the so-called Harlem Renaissance, a time when the incipient voices of Pan-Africanism co-existed with a whole host of Black writers, poets, painters, sculptors and musicians. During this period, he would also become friends with Pan-Africanist W. E. B. Du Bois. As a Vandau intellectual, he collaborated also with many anthropologists and Africanists, such as Melville Herskovits, Henri-Philippe Junod and Dora Earthy. Kamba Simango died in Ghana, in 1966.

Daisy Bates as a Female Excluded Ancestor, by MacDonald and Coldrick

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article, in English, on the early work of ethnographer Daisy Bates in Australia.

McDonald, Edward M. & Bryn Coldrick, 2022. “‘Out Amongst the Natives’: Fieldwork and the Legacy of Daisy Bates, a Controversial Ethnographer in Australia,” in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Born in Ireland, Daisy May Bates (1863–1951) was a self-made anthropologist and welfare worker among Aboriginal people in Australia, where she first migrated in 1883–1884. Bates used participant observation techniques prior to and during her appointment by the Western Australian government to undertake research on Aboriginal language and culture, a position she held from 1904 to 1911. Her trajectory intersected with that of the newly arrived A. R. Radcliffe-Brown, whose status as a professional anthropologist eventually overshadowed the vast contributions of his female counterpart. Having worked as a journalist in England, Bates’s ethnographic skills were intertwined with a compassionate interest in the present conditions and the future of Aboriginal people, but some of her controversial views and eccentric ways have transformed her legacy into an enduring challenge. She has long been denied the status of a ‘real’ anthropologist, at best considered an “enthusiastic amateur,” and her work is typically discredited because of moralistic views about her personal life. Examining her correspondence and published and unpublished papers, Eddie McDonald and Bryn Coldrick argue that much of her work is both anthropological and insightful and her ethnographic fieldwork compares favorably with Malinowski’s developments a decade later. They suggest that Bates was ahead of her time, avoiding many of the shortcomings of ‘modern’ anthropology. However, in other ways she remained a pre-modern anthropologist with a focus on ethnology, endeavouring to create an encyclopedic compendium of ‘facts’ about all aspects of Aboriginal culture. But then, so did many of her contemporaries.

In this illuminating article, McDonald and Coldrick argue that much of the criticism of Bates and her work is moralistic and ‘presentist’ and fails to acknowledge the complex history of the development of anthropology and ethnographic fieldwork. They contend that Bates is an “excluded ancestor” who needs to be ‘reclaimed.’ Her corpus of ethnographic material also needs to be examined in such a way as to provide a more critical understanding of the development of the discipline of ethnographic fieldwork in Australia.

A Reassessment of U.S. Anthropology and Colonialism, by Herbert S. Lewis

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article, in English, exploring the connections between American anthropology and colonialism by Herbert S. Lewis.

Lewis, Herbert S., 2022. “American Anthropology and Colonialism: A Factual Account,” in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Anthropology developed as an academic discipline at the height of European colonialism at the turn of the 20th century. It was the same as for many scientific disciplines, but anthropologists – ethnographers – engaged intellectually and practically with many peoples of the world who were under colonial domination. Since the intellectual upheavals of the 1960s, this relationship has been viewed as shameful, and the phrase “anthropology and colonialism” has, Lewis argues, become an ill-informed cliché that undermines historical understanding. In this article Lewis addresses this quandary with respect to anthropology as it has developed in the United States. Until World War II, very few American anthropologists did research outside the United States, and even fewer investigated areas under European colonial rule. The vast majority of ethnographic research conducted in the United States has been with Native American peoples, whose complex historical situation, Lewis contends, is barely captured by the use of the term “settler colonialism.” Applied to anthropology and ethnography, this article charges that recent narratives are an oversimplification that distorts the reality of both process and results. The second part of the article explores the legacy of anthropological research among North American Indian peoples, particularly for the descendants of these communities, as well as the discipline’s contribution to understanding the human condition, and the diversity of human behavior, thought, and creativity.

Józef Obrębski, the Polish Disciple of Malinowski – by Anna Engelking

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article, in English, on the anthropological career of Józef Obrębski.

Engelking, Anna, 2022. “From Archaic to Colonial Peasantries: An Intellectual Biography of Józef Obrębski, the (Forgotten) Polish Disciple of Malinowski,” in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Polish social anthropologist Józef Obrębski (1905–1967) was a disciple of Malinowski at the London School of Economics, and the first anthropologist who applied Malinowski’s method and theory to a European village. In the 1930s, he conducted his fieldwork in Macedonia and the Belarusian-Ukrainian borderland. In those studies, Obrębski applied Malinowski’s fundamental methodological directive: long-term participant observation. The belief in the comparability of cultures underlaid Obrębski’s anthropology, which was sensitive to “the native’s point of view,” while identifying Slavic peasant communities in various stages of modernization before World War II. From 1948 onwards he lived in the US and was an expert at the United Nations. In the late 1940s, his ethnographic research covered post-slavery communities in Jamaica. He responded to the call for human equality with an emancipatory, anti-nationalist and anti-colonial attitude. While one can speak of Obrębski’s focus on the mechanisms of domination and discrimination, his anthropology was also an attempt to deconstruct them. He formulated innovative theoretical propositions concerning ethnicity and nation-building, but his works remained mostly unpublished and have only recently been rediscovered. In this pathbreaking article, Engelking presents the trajectory of a man who is ignored in the anthropological mainstream but can be seen as a precursor of ethnic, gender and
postcolonial studies.

Edith Durham, an Early Ethnographer in Southeastern Europe – by Anne Delouis

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article, in English, on understudied writer and ethnographer Mary Edith Durham.

Delouis, Anne Friederike, 2022. “From Travel Writing to Anthropology and Political Activism: A Biography of Mary Edith Durham, an Early Ethnographer of Southeastern Europe”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Mary Edith Durham (1863-1944) deserves recognition as one of the first and most versatile ethnographers of Southeastern Europe. Trained in the visual arts, Durham initially visited Montenegro and adjacent countries with a view to sketching landscapes and picturesque scenes. She soon developed a keen interest in the traditions and practices of various population groups, and published several book-length travelogues. Anne Friederike Delouis proposes that her ethnographic method is best described as ‘itinerant’: rather than staying with a community for a longer time, she travelled from one village to another, thus establishing a basis for comparison and generalization. Her research interests ranged from kinship and religion to oral tradition, medical practices, and intergroup conflict. She took hundreds of photographs, recorded traditional songs,
and collected a vast array of artifacts. Through her collecting activities, Durham came to the attention of established British anthropologists, was invited to join the Royal Anthropological Institute, and eventually served as its first woman vice president.

Durham is still widely regarded as an authority on the society and politics of early twentieth-century Albania. In the field during the Balkan Wars, Durham organised hands-on humanitarian relief, often endangering her safety and health in the process. Largely self-taught as an anthropologist, she refrained from engaging in debates on theory in her adoptive discipline. Conversely, she held strong political views on Southeast European geopolitics and lobbied fiercely for the causes she supported.

Pierre Verger, the Photographer as Ethnologist – by Angela Luhning

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article in Portuguese on photographer and anthropologist Pierre Fatumbi Verger.

Luhning, Angela, 2022. “Um fotógrafo antropólogo: trajetórias transatlânticas de Pierre Fatumbi Verger”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

A messenger between worlds, that’s how Pierre Fatumbi Verger (1902, Paris–1996, Salvador/Brazil) was called by many, due to his constant travels between oceans for more than five decades. His work as a photographer, ethnographer, anthropologist, and historian was focused on people in their respective cultural and historical contexts. Because of his travels, he arrived in Brazil in 1946, a country that became the starting point for much of his research in Nigeria and Benin, having studied the diasporic relations of Yoruba culture between the Gulf of Benin, Cuba and Brazil, with emphasis on Salvador, Bahia. He approached this theme from various perspectives: as a precursor of visual anthropology through his vast photographic work and as a researcher seeking to understand the modus operandi of the transatlantic slave trade, based on extensive documentary research. Published in a dossier containing various resources on Verger, this lavishly illustrated article unveils Verger’s trajectories. His visual and textual legacy was diverse and distributed, from the outset, among several different languages, countries and even continents, which makes an analysis and understanding of his contributions all the more complex, Luhning sustains. Delving into his personal archive, one perceives extensive networking, involving Nigerian, French and Brazilian intellectuals, as well as non-academic individuals on both sides of the Atlantic, already evidencing in his time a concern with traditional knowledge as a counterpoint to Eurocentric views of knowledge.

Reframing the politics of Alfred C. Haddon’s anthropology – by Ciarán Walsh

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: a surprising new article in English on Alfred Cort Haddon.

Walsh, Ciarán, 2022. “Artist, Philosopher, Ethnologist and Activist: The Life and Work of Alfred Cort Haddon”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Alfred Cort Haddon (1855–1940) is usually associated with the famous Cambridge Anthropological Expedition to Torres Straits (1898–99), and the movement from armchair anthropology to the professionalization of ethnographic fieldwork in Britain. Other important dimensions in his trajectory and his work – particularly the political dimensions  –  have often been overlooked. In this challenging article, Walsh claims that Haddon was written out of the (hi)story of anthropology in his own lifetime for the same reasons that make him interesting today: he stood in solidarity with the victims of colonialism and his advocacy of an engaged, social and cultural anthropology was widely interpreted as an attack on the academy, church, state, and empire. Moreover, Haddon was the ultimate trickster, a situationist who adopted the persona of a headhunter to disrupt the common sense of the relationship between anthropologists, the people they study, and the representations they produce, thereby anticipating the crisis of representation that terminated colonial anthropology almost a century after Haddon first entered the field in Oceania and Ireland.

Unfortunately for Haddon, he was not a writer. He was an artist whose preferred form of ethnography was the proto-cinematic slideshow. This modernism was overwritten as anthropology became, according to Margaret Mead in 1974, a discipline of words constrained by a scientist mindset and disciplinary traditions established in the 1920s. The story of the modernization of anthropology placed Haddon outside of that tradition and historians conventionally assigned him the role of a whipping boy for Thomas H. Huxley’s (1825–1895) version of anthropology, i.e., an unholy mix of biology and evolution bracketed by race and empire. This essay seeks to correct this by using an “Irish’” reading of Haddon’s papers and related institutional records, drawing on digitized newspaper archives to fill gaps and add political context to events as they unfolded within the small community that constituted organized anthropology in the 1890s. Walsh proposes that Haddon’s upbringing in a nonconformist family steeped in the arts, humanitarian activism, and radical politics made confrontation with the imperial establishment and its agents in anthropology inevitable. He situates Haddon’s emerging sense of the function of anthropology in a lively anarcho-utopian movement and argues that this placed him in the vanguard of an anti-imperial insurrection within anthropology in the 1890s and cost him a job as the first academic anthropologist in Cambridge. This is, Walsh concludes, the “real story” of post-evolutionist anthropology in Ireland and England in the 1890s, reflecting a tension which never fully dissipated and has re-emerged in the current stand-off between a tradition of disruptive social anthropology and a practical discipline of political utility.

Historicizing the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos (1964–2022) – by Bruno Hervé-Huamaní and Carmen Salazar-Soler

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article (in Spanish) on the history of the Institute of Peruvian Studies.

Hervé-Huamaní, Bruno & Carmen Salazar-Soler, 2022. “Una ‘zona de contacto’ entre la academia y las políticas públicas: historia del Instituto de Estudios Peruanos”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Since its establishment in 1964, the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos (Institute of Peruvian Studies) has promoted research in anthropology and other social sciences on social, political, and economic circumstances in Peru and Latin America, as well as public policies. It spans academic and public spheres both through its activities and the trajectories of its members, several of whom have held key positions in government and state agencies. In this pioneering article on a contemporary institution from a historical point of view, Hervé‑Huamaní and Salazar‑Soler trace the development of the Institute of Peruvian Studies since its creation and highlight the human interactions that have given it the dimension of a “contact zone” (Platt 1993), whether on a Peruvian scale or more widely in other American contexts. This reflects not only the activities of the institute, but also its connections to various international organizations (e.g. UNESCO), and the way it contributes to disseminating knowledge beyond academia. This article also highlights the tensions that have affected the institute at certain times, such as the intense founding debate between literary scholars and social scientists – including anthropologists and sociologists – around José María Arguedas’ novel Todas las Sangres (1964). This debate revealed not only the complex relationship between literature and the social sciences, but also fundamental disagreements on Peruvian society. The conflict between “official” visions of society and history and local or regional narratives reemerges in other moments of the brief but intense history of the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos. 

Revisiting Haitian Mobility through Jacques Roumain’s Gouverneurs de la rosée (1944) – by Maud Laëthier


HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article in French about the issue of migration in the history of Haitian anthropology, largely ignored.

Laëthier, Maud, 2022. Vwayaj à partir de Gouverneurs de la rosée : La migration comme point aveugle de l’ethnologie en Haïti,” in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

This article deals with the issue of migration, which was mostly ignored within Haitian social sciences, particularly anthropology. It proposes some reflections on the lack of scientific investment in research dedicated to migration, despite its political, economic and social relevance. Laëthier revisits the context in which a peculiar intellectual discourse contributed to constructing an anthropological image of Haiti. Based on an original reading of the famous ethnological novel Gouverneurs de la rosée (1944), by Jacques Roumain, she puts forward the idea that this committed intellectual laid the foundations – very early on – for a new understanding of the Haitian nation as shaped by mobility. In a context where political and anthropological national values have been strongly intertwined, there is room to shed light on the contradictions of this process. It may eventually be possible to identify multiple research perspectives on migration, one of the most striking social phenomena of the twentieth century in Haiti.

Cuban poet Nicolas Guillén’s time in Haiti with Jacques Roumain, by Maud Laëthier

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article in French about Cuban poet Nicolás Guillén’s time in Haiti, after being invited by the Haitian novelist and ethnologist Jacques Roumain in 1942.

Laëthier, Maud, 2022. “L’affinité des marges. Jacques Roumain, Nicolás Guillén et le “moment cubain” dans l’Haïti des années 1940,” in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Between September and October 1942, the famous Cuban poet Nicolás Guillén stayed in Haiti, invited by his no less famous friend, Jacques Roumain. This article by French anthropologist Maud Laëthier proposes to analyze the political and scientific stakes and the effects of this visit. By exploring the Haitian press, we follow Guillén in his lectures, interviews and meetings with elite Haitian figures, whose reflections on national identity were nourished by the anthropological paradigm and by dissonant political ideas. The intellectual fraternity generated by Guillén, the Cuban champion of mixed-race identity, gave way to contrasting literary, scientific, and political commitments. Studying this fraternity sheds light on the collision/collusion of race, culture and society, which singled out the Haitian intellectual scene of the time. Laëthier carefully analyzes this crucial period of the building of Haitian anthropology in the 1940s.

Laurette Séjourné (1914-2003), archaelogist and anthropologist in Mexico, by Ian Merkel

HAR is pleased to announce a recent release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article (in French and English) about the life and work of Laurette Séjourné.

Merkel, Ian William, 2022. “Art, Archaeology and Socialism: The Life and Work of Laurette Séjourné, Interpreter of Mesoamerica”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

This article examines the life and work of Laurette Séjourné (1914–2003), archaeologist and anthropologist of Mexico. As the first of its kind in any language, the article written by Ian William Merkel provides a biographical portrait, covering Séjourné’s early career as a film editor and her archaeological work in Mexico with the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (National Institute of Anthropology and History). It introduces Séjourné’s field-based monographs on Teotihuacan and Quetzalcoatl, her broader synthetic works such as Pensamiento y religión en el México antiguo, and her more politically engaged writings during the early years of Cuban socialism. Despite occupying a somewhat controversial role as a cultural interpreter at a time in which the discipline of archaeology became much more professionalized and scientific, Séjourné influenced scholars such as Miguel León-Portilla through her studies on religion and Teotihuacan. The article concludes by examining some of these controversies in light of the challenges that Séjourné faced as a woman and a foreigner in earning recognition for her work.

A History of the Harvard-Irish Mission (1930-1936), by Anne Byrne

HAR is pleased to announce a recent release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article (in English) about the Harvard-Irish Mission.

Byrne, Anne, 2022. “‘Observers of the Minutiae of Social Life’: A History of the Harvard‑Irish Mission (1930‑1936)”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Led by American academics and endorsed by the Irish government, the Harvard-Irish Mission (1930–1936) to Ireland was composed of three strands, physical anthropology, archaeology and social anthropology. The Mission’s publications and archives remain a significant point of reference to those engaged in understanding social change and the deep transformation of the Irish economy, culture and society across the twentieth century. Continuing to excite public, professional and artistic attention, the Harvard-Irish Mission is the basis of interrogative scholarly work in Irish social anthropology, archaeology, physical anthropology and related academic disciplines such as sociology, history and geography. In Ireland, the professionalization of anthropology, sociology and archaeology are grounded in this history. The scholarly legacy of Family and Community in Ireland (1940) by American anthropologists Conrad Arensberg and Solon Kimball is evident in later writings and publications on community studies and anthropological methods, and it provides a rich theoretical and methodological resource for contemporary scholars of social and political change. This landmark monograph is based on the first modern social anthropological study to take place in Ireland, if not in Europe. Utilizing structural-functionalist theory and innovative field research methods, including qualitative interviews, Arensberg and Kimball’s influential ethnography stimulated debate and influenced anthropological inquiry for generations of Irish, US and European anthropologists. Moreover, artists, film, TV and radio documentary makers frequently revisit the Mission publications and archives to give expression to their engagement with and vision of historical and contemporary issues in rural Ireland. Film and radio productions evoke nostalgic ideas of Irish identity posited on the security of the past, the continuity of land ownership, the tie between, place, family home and farm while showing the fragmentation and disruption of the rural economy by forces of capitalist modernity. Arensberg and Kimball’s understanding of the traditional structure and the interpersonal relationships of the small farm family alerted readers to the forces of modernisation and change. While the family offered “strong resistance to slow assault,” they  predicted that change would come from within the family structure itself (1940: 223). In this article resulting from a lifelong dedication to the subject, Byrne provides an essential introduction to the Harvard-Irish Mission with a primary focus on the background, fieldwork, publications, reception and legacy of the social anthropology investigation in Ireland. 

Eva Lips (1906-1988), German Anti-Fascist Anthropologist, by Ingrid Kreide-Damani

HAR is pleased to announce a recent release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article (in English ) about German anthropologist Eva Lips.

Kreide–Damani, Ingrid, 2022. “The Grande Dame of Ethnology in Leipzig: A Biography of Eva Lips”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

German anthropologist Eva Lips (1906–1988) was an opponent of the Nazi regime who established herself in the United States in 1934 with her husband, anthropologist Julius Lips (1895–1950). She was a successful anti-fascist exile writer, and she supported her husband in his field research on the economy and law of North American First Nations and African American minorities. In 1948, the couple returned to Leipzig in the Soviet-occupied zone of Germany. In this fascinating article, Kreide-Damani unveils the biography of Eva Lips, who was born in Leipzig into an upper-middle-class family and grew up in the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the educated middle class. She married Julius Lips at the age of 18, and they both moved to Cologne in 1925, where he was appointed director of the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum of Ethnology in 1928 and associate professor of ethnology and sociology at the University of Cologne in 1930. The couple emigrated to the United States following Julius Lips’ dismissal from his Cologne posts in 1933 as an opponent of National Socialism.  When her husband died suddenly in 1950, Eva Lips succeeded him as director of the Julius Lips Institute for Comparative Sociology of Law and Ethnology and advanced to become one of the first female professors at the University of Leipzig. Closely associated with Julius Lips’ scientific approaches, she trained more than half of the graduate ethnologists in the GDR until the beginning of the third university reform in 1968. As a committed but unconventional and individually undogmatic citizen, Eva Lips played a decisive role in shaping the profile of ethnology in the GDR.

The Summer Institute of Linguistics, by Élise Capredon & Thomas Grillot

HAR is pleased to announce a recent release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article (in French) on the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL).

Capredon, Élise & Thomas Grillot, 2022. “Une anthropologie au service de l’évangélisation : histoire(s) du Summer Institute of Linguistics”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Founded in the United States in 1934 by William Cameron Townsend (1896-1982), the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) is an evangelical missionary organization. It was founded in the context of the expansion of Protestant missionary evangelism to Latin America. The SIL specializes in translating the Bible into indigenous languages. The interest of the SIL’s missionary-translators in indigenous peoples and the work of translation led them to call upon anthropology and linguistics. For a long time, the SIL was led by the linguist Kenneth Pike (1912–2000), president from 1942 to 1978. After the Second World War, it expanded in Latin America (contemporary with the Indigenist moment), but also in Asia and Africa. The strategy of erasing the missionaryism behind the scientific objectives was essential to this success. From the 1970s onwards, the SIL was the object of virulent criticism which led to the expulsion of the organization from Brazil, Mexico, etc. Far from disappearing, it restructured itself, enhancing the higher education of its members in its International Linguistic Center, affiliated to the University of Texas in Dallas. Due to the number of its missionaries and the extension of its network, it occupies a central place in the Christian missionary movement. In spite of its descriptive aspect, Capredon and Grillot point out that the work of cataloguing and teaching languages proposed by SIL linguists is still essential today.

Francisco Martins Lage (1888-1957), Portuguese Ethnographer, by Maria Barthez

HAR is pleased to announce a recent release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article (in English, French, and Portuguese) on Francisco Martins Lage, a recognized Portuguese ethnographer-intellectual outside of the university in the first half of the 20th century.

Barthez, Maria, 2022. “Ethnographer without a Chair, Playwright of ‘Portuguese Folklore’: The Life and Work of Francisco Lage”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Francisco Martins Lage (1888-1957) was part of a group of recognized Portuguese intellectuals who were ethnographers without a chair during the first half of the 20th century. Detached from the University – cultural anthropology and ethnology would take longer to be part of academic curricula in Portugal) –, this generation studied the Portuguese people and built a “demotic culture”. This was as an extension of the “ethnographic sensibility” of Portuguese anthropology and ethnography, composed in the 1st Republic (1910-1926) and the early years of dictatorship, from 1926 to 1933. It was centred on folk art (in its ’decorative essence’ and aesthetic exaltation), as a vehicle for the construction of the identity of the Portuguese nation. This set of ideas, based on an approach to the field of folk art, is evident in an ideological vision of the rural world, as a paradigm of folk traditions and the culture of the Portuguese people. This marked the discourse/programme of the Secretariado da Propaganda Nacional (SPN, National Bureau of Propaganda), a state organism of the Estado Novo regime (1933-1974), the dictatorial regime led by António de Oliveira Salazar (1889-1970).

More than sixty years after his death, Francisco Lage remains an unknown figure, both within the history of Portuguese anthropology in the 1930s and and within the history of the Estado Novo, and its actions of nationalist propaganda. However, Lage’s collaboration in international and national exhibitions, including the Aldeia mais portuguesa de Portugal, was decisive, and his activities multifaceted, as editor of several books dedicated to Portuguese ethnography, also as playwright of the Teatro do Povo, and the Verde Gaio ballets, as a gastronome – associated with the menus offered in Pousadas Portuguesas (regional historical hotels) , and finally in setting the Museu de Arte Popular.

H.H. Risley, Ethnologist of the British raj, by Chris Fuller

HAR is pleased to announce a recent release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article (in English) on ethnography and racial theory in the British India in the late 19th century.

Fuller, Chris, 2022. “Ethnography and Racial Theory in the British Raj: The Anthropological Work of H. H. Risley”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

The systematic anthropology of British India developed alongside the decennial censuses, which started in 1871–2, and its declared purpose was always both ‘scientific’ and ‘administrative’ : to contribute to modern, European scientific knowledge and also to strengthen and improve British rule. Various labels have been adopted in the literature for colonial anthropologists in India, including ‘official anthropologists’, a term that usefully indicates both their status as officials and the fact that their work – ‘official anthropology’ – was mostly undertaken on behalf of the government. From the middle of the nineteenth century until the First World War, official anthropologists had a virtual monopoly in the field, because very few Indians and very few academics carried out anthropological research in India. The majority of them belonged to the Indian Civil Service (ICS), the elite administrative corps of the British raj, whose members were known as ‘civilians’, and the remainder were members of other government services or army officers. Sir Herbert Risley, a civilian who always signed himself ‘H. H. Risley’, was British India’s pre-eminent official anthropologist, though before 1900 or thereabouts he often called his field ‘ethnology’, rather than ‘anthropology’. This biographical article focuses almost entirely on Risley’s anthropological work and only briefly mentions his duties as a civil servant, which are described in the forthcoming book Anthropologist and Imperialist : H. H. Risley and British India, 1873-1911 on which this article is based.

A.L. Kroeber’s Work and Legacy, by Herbert Lewis et al.

Following the removal of Kroeber’s name from “Alfred Kroeber Hall” at the University of California-Berkeley in January 2021, a series of six papers dedicated to Kroeber was released in March 2022 by BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, in a dossier edited by Herbert S. Lewis. Originally delivered at the 2021 AAA conference in the session, “Alfred L. Kroeber: The Man, His Work and His Legacy,” the six papers offer retrospectives on the work of this major figure in the history of American anthropology. They are available at the links below:

Lewis, Herbert S., 2022. “Alfred L. Kroeber’s Career and Contributions to California’s Indigenous Peoples”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Brandes, Stanley, 2022. “The Anthropologist as Cultural Historian: Alfred Kroeber and the Forging of a Discipline”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Stanlaw, James, 2022. “Alfred Kroeber and the Development of Linguistic Anthropology: A Brief Reassessment”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Glazier, Jack, 2022. “The Kroeber‑Ishi Story: Three Cinematic Versions”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Barron, Nicholas, 2022. “Alfred Kroeber’s Handbook and Land Claims: Anthros, Agents, and Federal (Un)Acknowledgment in Native California”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Scheper-Hughes, Nancy, 2022. “Goodbye Kroeber, Kroeber Hall, and the Man We Know as Ishi, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

From the 1940s until his death, Alfred Louis Kroeber (1876–1960) was considered by many as the “Dean of American Anthropology.” A New Yorker from a German immigrant family, Kroeber studied English at Columbia University, earning an M.A. degree. He left literature for anthropology and became Franz Boas’ first PhD at Columbia University in 1901; that year he left New York for a life in California. He was the founder and predominant intellectual force in the University of California-Berkeley Department of Anthropology from 1901 until his retirement in 1946, publishing more than 550 works—books, monographs, papers, reviews—on a wide range of topics in ethnology, linguistics, history, and archaeology, addressing the whole world of humans and their cultures, their pasts and their interconnections. He collected texts in Indian languages, recorded songs, and engaged in participant observation, while publishing works of theory, generalization, and worldwide cultural comparison.

Kroeber’s Handbook of the Indians of California is the foundation for the study of the indigenous peoples of that state. His linguistics, ethnography, and recordings have been invaluable to many California Indian groups and individuals; his research and testimony were central to the success of several California Indian groups in Land Claims cases against the United States government. His book, Anthropology (1948), remains a landmark, while his massive edited enterprise, Anthropology Today (1953), encompassed the wide scope of the field at that time. Kroeber became known outside of anthropology as a result of Theodora Kroeber’s book Ishi in Two Worlds (1961), published soon after her husband’s death. Despite their serious intellectual disagreements, Kroeber was one of the principal successors to Franz Boas and their legacies are closely entwined.


Theory and Iconography in J.F. Blumenbach (1952-1840), by Mario Marino

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article (in English) on the “inventor” of the race concept, German anthropologist J. F. Blumenbach.

Marino, Mario, 2022. “At the Roots of Racial Classification: Theory and Iconography in the Work and Legacy of Johann Friedrich Blumenbach”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752-1840) was undoubtedly the most influential German anthropologist of his time. Blumenbach’s name is linked to physical and racial anthropology, due, among other reasons, to his division of mankind into five principal racial groups, which is regarded as the first modern racial classification. In this lavishly illustrated article, Marino intertwines Blumenbach’s work and racial iconography, with a special focus on the establishment of the term “Caucasian” for the type including Europeans. The article discusses the development of Blumenbach’s anthropology and racial classification by exploring the connections he made between natural and cultural factors in explaining human variation. Through a close analysis of different editions of Blumenbach’s most influential works, Marino shows the theoretical shifts as well as the ambiguities behind Blumenbach’s classification. According to Marino, Blumenbach did not resolve some theoretical shortfalls of his doctrine, such as the inclusion of the category of beauty as a defining trait of the “Caucasian” race, but nineteenth-century racism cleared these contradictions by developing a unilateral, radically racist interpretation of Blumenbach’s anthropology. A doctor of medicine, professor at the University of Göttingen and curator of the university museum, Blumenbach carried out a long-term research program connecting teaching and scientific collections, including his famous private collection of more than 200 skulls, which by the end of his life was probably the largest worldwide, and is now conserved at the University of Göttingen. At the time, the Kingdom of Hanover was under the British Crown, which meant enjoying easier contact with the international scientific community, and above all direct and privileged access to the naturalist and ethnological materials coming from the British colonies and from James Cook’s travels. Blumenbach led an increasingly revered existence as a scholar at the center of a great network of international exchanges, but his place in the history of science remains controversial.

Fonseca Cardoso (1865-1912) and Portuguese Colonial Anthropology, by Ricardo Roque

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article about the origins of Portuguese colonial anthropology.

Roque, Ricardo, 2022. “Equivocal Connections: Fonseca Cardoso and the Origins of Portuguese Colonial Anthropology,” in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

The history of anthropology is strongly intertwined with colonial history. Yet, more still needs to be known about how anthropological texts were actually read and why and how they were used, or not, by colonial agents. How did anthropological texts become, or fail to become, connected to colonial projects, events, and materials across their histories of production and reception? This article addresses these issues by discussing the unstable trajectories of production and consumption of racial anthropometric texts, before, during, and after fieldwork. Roque focuses on the work and biography of Captain Artur da Fonseca Cardoso (1865-1912), an army officer and racial anthropologist who was posthumously celebrated as the ‘founding father’ of the Portuguese physical and racialist discipline of ‘colonial anthropology.’ The article critically reexamines this origin story by following the trajectory of production and consumption of the first published study of Portuguese racial anthropology in the colonies (the text ‘O Indígena de Satari’), between the 1890s and the 1930s. The analysis highlights the unsteady binding of anthropology and colonialism across time. Rather than a straightforward tale of the origins of colonial anthropology, the case of Fonseca Cardoso and ‘O Indígena de Satari’ shows anthropology’s attachment to colonialism can emerge as a chain of equivocal connections.

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