HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology. This paper, in Portuguese, discusses notable Brazilian anthropologist Curt Nimuendajú. Its English title says it all: “‘I don’t know how to make a living’: the backstage of Curt Nimuendajú’s ethnography”.
Tambascia, Christiano Key, 2020. “‘Não sei como hei de viver’: osbastidores da etnografia de Curt Nimuendajú”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.
Nimuendajú occupies an exceptional, legendary place in the history of Brazilian anthropology. He exerted a lasting fascination for Americanist anthropologists who recognized him as a great ethnographer. His unconditional defense of Indigenous peoples and his criticism of Brazilian Indigenous politics contributed to building the figure of a romantic ethnologist entirely devoted to his profession. Through a meticulous ethnography of the archives, Cristiano Tambascia takes us through the looking glass and helps us understand the making of this reputation and the many difficulties that littered the life and ethnographic practice of Nimuendajú, who lived in material and institutional precariousness, heightened by an uncompromising professional ethic.
HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology. This article, in French, discusses one of the founding fathers of anthropology in the nineteenth century, the jurist-anthropologist of the British Raj, Sir Henry Sumner Maine.
Goetzmann, Marc, 2020. “Le juriste anthropologue du British Raj. Sir Henry Sumner Maine et son oeuvre”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.
British Victorian jurist Henry Maine was one of the founding fathers of anthropology, and legal anthropology in particular. He is best known for Ancient Law (1861) and its famous thesis on the transition from status to contract in Indo-European societies. For seven years, beginning in 1862, Maine was legal adviser to the Council of the Governor General of India. He was interested in the dynamics between law and social change and the functioning of customary law in Indian village communities. His writings fostered the development of field investigations in India from the 1870-1880s and onwards. He is regarded as one of the main inspirations for the policy of indirect rule in the British Empire. His ideas were to be successful among Indian nationalists wishing to preserve Indian institutions, primarily village communities. As a professor of law at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, he was also the author of Village Communities in East and West (1871), Lectures on the Early History of Institutions (1875), and Dissertations on Early Law and Custom (1883).
HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology. This article, in English, discusses the ideological construction of the Nilgiris region in southern India as a tribal sanctuary, c. 1812-1950.
Mahias, Marie–Claude, 2020. “The Construction of the Nilgiris (South India) as a ‘Tribal Sanctuary’ (1812-1950)”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.
Anthropologist Marie-Claude Mahias explains how the case of the Nilgiris region in India was used in modern anthropology to construct very different sociological models. It was equally easy to prove that the inhabitants of this region were isolated tribes or that they were part of a jajmânî-like system of interdependence, with either the Todas or the Badagas as the dominant caste. Mahias demonstrates that the basis of the British distinction between ‘caste’ and ‘tribe’ were never clearly defined, as scientific and political considerations have always been intertwined in the history of both concepts. Mahias questions the perception of the Nilgiri peoples during the nineteenth century and at the beginning of the twentieth and reveals that the choice of sociological concepts was never really discussed. This does not mean, however, that it was wholly arbitrary. ‘Caste’ and ‘tribe’ are the outcomes of a controversial epistemological construction that has evolved in complex ways over the course of time.
HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology. These two articles, both in French, discuss the history of Nepalese anthropology and folklore.
Toffin, Gérard, 2020. “Les folkloristes népalais, entre sentiment national et diversité des cultures (XXe – début XXIe siècle)”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.
Toffin, Gérard, 2020. “Naissance de l’école népalaise d’anthropologie (1960-2020)”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.
French anthropologist Gérard Toffin traces the history of Nepalese folklore since the beginning of the 20th century. He analyzes how this movement has evolved over the last few decades, partly under the influence of the UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage policy, introduced in the early 2000s, as opposed to the previous focus on the archaeological legacies of classical written cultures. The article concludes with a reflection on the relationship between scholarly and popular culture in South Asia and on the deep roots of the Nepalese folklore movement in the context of a multicultural country of 30 million people, with some 100 different ethnic groups and castes, speaking nearly 90 different languages.
The second article by Toffin deals with the insightful case of Nepalese anthropology as a new discipline, a World Anthropology that was not created by the colonial power, as in India by the British Raj. Nepalese universities, funded largely with the help of developed countries, are unable to provide for the needs of young local anthropologists, who are forced to contract with foreign agencies in order to make a living. Overarching and ambiguous, dependence on foreign countries dates back to the first generation of Nepalese anthropologists, often trained as assistants to Western anthropologists – as was the case with Dor Bahadur Bista, the founding father of Nepalese anthropology, who was the informant/collaborator of the London SOAS professor of anthropology, Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf. Their utilitarian approach within applied anthropology often distinguishes Nepalese anthropologists from their foreign colleagues.
HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology. This article, available in both in English and Portuguese, focuses on Edison Carneiro and is written by Carneiro’s biographer, Gustavo Rossi. Rossi draws a fascinating and moving portrait of the Brazilian anthropologist. From a “black white” family, he studied the terreiros of Bahia candomblé, and fought for freedom of worship of Afro-Brazilian religions. He was Ruth Landes’s guide in Bahia in the late 1930s.
Rossi, Gustavo, 2020. “A “Lost Vocation”? The Life and Work of Edison Carneiro, Exponent of Afro‑Brazilian Studies”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.
Rossi, Gustavo, 2020. “Uma ‘vocação perdida’? Vida e obra de Edison Carneiro, expoente dos estudos afro‑brasileiros”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.
From a “black white” family, Brazilian anthropologist Edison Carneiro (1912-1972) devoted himself to ethnographic and historical studies on Afro-Brazilian religiosity and cultural practices, as well as on Brazilian folklore. He carried out ethnographic fieldwork from the 1930s onwards in the candomblé terreiros of Salvador, the “African Rome,” of which he became one of the main interpreters and specialists. A poet, communist intellectual and combative journalist, he fought for the freedom of worship of Afro-Brazilian religions. As the main guide of the American anthropologist Ruth Landes in Bahia in the late 1930s, Carneiro developed an intense romantic and professional partnership with her, which eventually put them in a situation of conflict and enmity with some of the main figures of Afro-Brazilian studies in their respective countries: Melville J. Herskovits in the United States, and Arthur Ramos in Brazil. Carneiro never obtained a university position. Among his extensive works are Religiões Negras (1936), Candomblés da Bahia (1947), Antologia do Negro Brasileiro (1950) and Dinâmica do Folclore (1965).
HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology. This new article from John Hall discusses the anthropological method of Ernest Gellner.
Hall, John A., 2020. “The Philosopher of Anthropology: Ernest Gellner on Anthropological Method”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.
Ernest Gellner has a peculiar place in the history of anthropology. His own anthropological fieldwork on the saintly lineages of the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco – Saints of the Atlas (1969) – firmly places him within the British tradition of social anthropology that stressed the importance of extended periods of fieldwork. But Gellner was a polymath, whose training had been in philosophy, and the singularity of his contribution to anthropology lies in the fact that he theorized at a deep philosophical level what was involved in the practice of the discipline. The arguments he developed are highly distinctive because they suggest that mainstream anthropological self-understanding is not correct. John Hall portrays Gellner as a powerful, almost scandalous figure, whose reputation was initially built by his attack on linguistic philosophy. From this followed his most long-lasting contribution to anthropology: his reflections on method. Gellner was also a fierce critic of idealist explanations in social science, which too easily privileged cultural factors rather than considering social structural realities.
HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology. This new article by Alain Mahé examines the production of Pierre Bourdieu’s ethnographic studies of Kabylia.
Mahé, Alain, 2020. “En revisitant l’anthropologie de la Kabylie de Pierre Bourdieu”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.
Pierre Bourdieu’s writings on Kabylia are commonly regarded as his most successful and accomplished. Alain Mahé shows how the Kabyle context contributed to Bourdieu’s anthropological project, serving as an anchor for constituting his theory and conceptual apparatus. Of the three studies that Bourdieu conducted on Kabylia, none addresses politics explicitly, yet each of them proposes a theory of modes of domination. Through the concept of mutual convertibility of symbolic and economic capital, Bourdieu shows how practices contribute to the establishment of a political order. As a gateway to his anthropology, especially his political anthropology, Bourdieu’s studies on Kabylia lay bare what is overshadowed by the numerous devices and institutions mediating political power in French society and other modern nation states. Alain Mahé’s paper discusses the passage from authority to power and the power of the community as two essential aspects of Bourdieu’s ethnography and anthropology.
BEROSE International Encyclopedia of the Histories of Anthropology is pleased to announce its June roundup of its online, open access articles on the history of anthropology. More than a dozen articles (in French, English, Italian and Portuguese) are summarized below for HAR readers.