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New Release from BEROSE – Adler on Anthropologists and the Bible

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article in French about three anthropologists (Claude Lévi-Strauss, Edmund Leach, Mary Douglas) and the anthropology of the Bible.

Adler, Alfred, 2021. “L’anthropologie structurale et l’interprétation de textes bibliques” [Transl. “Structural Anthropology and the Interpretation of Biblical Texts”], in BEROSE – International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

The structural analysis of myths as theorized and practiced by Lévi-Strauss has proved its worth, as is shown by the imposing sum constituted by his Mythologiques. It was the philosopher Paul Ricoeur who pointed out the limits of this method by asking why it should only be applied to the myths of non-literate societies and why it is inappropriate for texts such as the Bible. Two eminent British anthropologists, Edmund Leach and Mary Douglas, and indeed Lévi-Strauss himself, overrode this ‘taboo’ as if to challenge not the limits of structural analysis itself, but the status of the Bible as ‘holy scripture,’ which is nonetheless amenable to a strictly scientific approach.

Leach in his essay “The Legitimacy of Solomon” sought to shed light on what he called the ideology of kingship in ancient Israel by analyzing the contradictions between settlement in a promised land populated by idolatrous tribes and the religious ideal of purity involving endogamy. As a result, his object is not myth per se but a hybrid material, “myth-history,” which cannot be the subject of a structural analysis. Mary Douglas, in Purity and Danger, dealt with the theme of the “abominations of Leviticus,” which were part of the priestly code. In this erudite article, Adler considers that this is undoubtedly a well-conducted structural analysis, but that it stumbles over the notion of holiness, a divine attribute that does not fit into the framework of oppositions between pure and impure or sacred and profane, familiar in religious anthropology. Finally, Lévi-Strauss, in the brief article “Exodus on Exodus,” a challenge and also a playful exercise, made a piquant but hazardous comparison between circumcision, the initiation ritual among the ancient Hebrews, and the removal of the penile sheath in initiation among the Bororo of Brazil. Lévi-Strauss shed little light on the three very mysterious biblical verses that recount the circumcision of Moses, who was first threatened with death by a demon god who descended upon him in the desert, only to let him accomplish his mission with the Pharaoh: to bring the people of Israel out of slavery. Why are these three essays disappointing, why do they add little to the discipline of Biblical criticism? This is what French Africanist anthropologist Alfred Adler attempts to answer in a thorough and sophisticated analysis.

New Release from BEROSE – Harries-Jones on Bateson

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an in-depth analysis of Gregory Bateson’s theoretical body of work by Peter Harries-Jones.

Harries-Jones, Peter, 2021. “‘From Anthropology to Epistemology’: Extensions to an Autobiography of Gregory Bateson,” in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Born in Great Britain and trained at Cambridge (in particular by A. C. Haddon), Gregory Bateson (1904–1980) was an anthropologist who crossed disciplinary boundaries and profoundly altered the epistemology of the human sciences. Peter Harries-Jones gives an in-depth analysis of his theoretical body of work. His first fieldwork took place between 1927 and 1930 in New Guinea among the Baining, the Sulka, and then the Iatmul. His analysis of one of their rituals inspired him to coin the concept of schismogenesis, which he used in his famous book Naven: A Survey of the Problems Suggested by a Composite Picture of the Culture of a New Guinea Tribe Drawn from Three Points of View (1936). He spent two years in Bali (1936-1938) with Margaret Mead, whom he married in 1936, focusing on the education of children. They made a documentary film, Dance and Trance in Bali (1942), which marked a milestone in the history of ethnographic films. During WWII, he worked for the OSS in Southeast Asia. As one of the first participants in the Macy Lectures in the 1940s, along with Margaret Mead, he understood the importance of cybernetic theory and the centrality of information in cultural and biological processes. When working as an ethnologist at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Palo Alto, he founded the Palo Alto School, which developed an innovative approach to schizophrenia by forging the double-bind theory in 1956, making him one of the pioneers of family therapy. He developed an ambitious anthropology of communication linked to a theory of learning and social interactions and to a systems theory that embraced his holistic vision of the relationship between culture, evolution, and the environment. In his book Steps to an Ecology of Mind (1972), he expressed his deep and aesthetic commitment to an ecological anthropology that rejects the dualism of nature/culture and body/spirit. He is one of the founders of biosemiotics.

After reading this piece, the reader grasps how much Bateson’s anthropology is still deeply relevant to our changing world, a world challenged by environmental upheavals and new scientific discoveries in cultural, biological and cognitive processes.

New Release from BEROSE – Fardon & Kuba on Arriens & Frobenius’s The Voice of Africa

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article in English about the intertwined works of the artist Carl Arriens and Africanist anthropologist Leo Frobenius in the latter’s famous book, Und Afrika Sprach (The Voice of Africa).

Fardon, Richard & Richard Kuba, 2021. “Adding Colour to Und Afrika Sprach: Carl Arriens’ Image and Leo Frobenius’ Text” (Colourization by Agnès Boulmer), in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

The prolific artist Carl Arriens, one of three European members of Leo Frobenius’s fourth Africa expedition to Nigeria and Kamerun in 1910–12, provided many of the striking images that accompany the text of Frobenius’s monumental account of their research, quickly published in the three volumes of Und Afrika Sprach (The Voice of Africa) in 1912–13. In this illustrated essay Fardon and Kuba draw upon a range of evidence, including archives and ethnography as well as the published narrative, to question the relationship between what the members of the expedition did and saw, and how their experience went on to be represented to a readership in words and images. Their analysis was provoked by Arriens’s vivid depiction of a scene that, at once, could never have occurred and yet is congruent both with the text and with other images. Using this as an exemplary instance, their analysis radiates out to examine a range of images in different mediums that reflect concerns and presumptions shared by the narrative. Arriens’s exemplary image, they conclude, was produced by a technique of totalizing combinatorial collage, which is also, the two authors argue, the method behind Frobenius’s evocations of The Voice of Africa.

New Release from BEROSE – Bondi on Steinthal

HAR is please to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article in French about the German anthropologist, philologist and philosopher Heymann Steinthal.

Bondi, Davide, 2021. “La Psychologie des peuples, entre histoire, langue et culture : la pensée et l’œuvre de Heymann Steinthal” [Transl.: “Völkerpsychologie, between History, Language and Culture: The Thought and Work of Heymann Steinthal”], in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Heymann Steinthal, together with his brother-in-law and friend Moritz Lazarus, was the founder of the journal Zeitschrift für Völkerpsychologie und Sprachwissenschaft, one of the most influential forums of European philosophical discussion in the second half of the nineteenth century. The theoretical project of the journal was linked to the legacy of Hegel and Herbart, taking from the former the idea that the mind is a “subject” and from the latter the proposal of “psychology” as a fundamental science of the mind. The “psychology of peoples” could then become a field of elaboration and coordination of the concepts inherent in the multiple sciences that study cultural phenomena. This is because these phenomena are the result and symbolic expression of the psychic processes of historical or living societies. In his writings, Steinthal turned in particular to the problems of language from the description of the grammatical structures of different African, Asian and European languages. From the descriptive to the reflexive level, he developed a theory of the evolution of speech communities which emphasised the plurality of spiritual centres that could be systematically reconstructed by means of a ‘morphological classification’ which is attentive to differences. In this ambitious article unfolding Steinthal’s thinking, Bondi points out that the episteme thus developed served as a stimulus for the development of sociology and ethnology in the twentieth century.

New Release from BEROSE – Espagne on Theodor Waitz

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article (in French) on the German anthropologist and philosopher Theodor Waitz.

Espagne, Michel, 2021. “Une anthropologie sans races” : vie et œuvre de Theodor Waitz” [Transl.: “An Anthropology Without Races: Life and Work of Theodor Waitz”], in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

This article gives a theoretical overview of Theodor Waitz (1821-1864), a German philosopher who became a key figure in the anthropological and ethnological sciences in the nineteenth century. Initially interested in individual psychology as an integral part of the natural sciences, he eventually placed the social context in its ethnic diversity at the centre of his attention. His major work, Anthropologie der Naturvölker, consisting of six volumes published between 1859 and 1864, systematised a vast ethnographic and philological literature and proposed a psychology of peoples that was more empirical than speculative. In this challenging article, Espagne reveals that Waitz was attentive to the symbolic perception of reality in different human societies; that he did not ignore physiological data, but radically questioned the notion of race. At the crossroads of several disciplines, his anthropology had international repercussions and remains an essential reference point in the history of the discipline. His body of work is one of the sources of the notion of Geisteswissenschaften as coined by Dilthey.

New Release from BEROSE – Ortiz on Spanish Anthropology

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article (in Spanish) on the transformations of a journal of paramount importance in the history of Spanish anthropology. 

Ortiz García, Carmen, 2021. “Metamorfosis antropológica (y política) de un proyecto editorial español: Una historia de la Revista de Dialectologia y Tradiciones Populares” [Transl.: “Anthropological (and Political) Metamorphosis of a Spanish Journal: A History of the Revista de Dialectologia y Tradiciones Populares“], in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

The Revista de Dialectología y Tradiciones Populares (1944-) was created during the early years of the Franco regime, within the central body that controlled scientific research in Spain. The journal was intended as an organ for the dissemination of studies on traditional culture and folklore. Its publication has continued without interruption, going through different historical periods – from the dictatorship to the democratic transition. In 2018 the journal underwent its most radical change, with a re-foundation and the change of its former title to Disparidades. Revista de Antropología. In this ambitious article, Ortiz highlights the fact that the journal can be considered as a representative product of the successive periods through which anthropological research has passed in Spain. There have been discontinuities, but also tenuous lines of continuity within the institutional maintenance of a discipline which cannot be seen as separate from the ideological and political circumstances which have marked the history of Spain from the Republican era, the Civil War, the Franco dictatorship, and democracy.

New Release from BEROSE – Laurière on Americanism

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: two articles (in French) on two major Americanist institutions in anthropology.

Laurière, Christine, 2021. “La construction d’une discipline. Histoire des congrès internationaux des américanistes (1875-1947)” [Transl.: “The construction of a discipline. History of the international congresses of Americanists (1875-1947)”], in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Laurière, Christine, 2021. “La Société des Américanistes de Paris (1895-) : ombres et lumières de l’américanisme français” [Transl.: “The Paris Society of Americanists (1895-): Shadows and Lights of French Americanism”], in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Organized for the first time in 1876 in Nancy, France, the International Congresses of Americanists have been a highlight for researchers studying the American continent. The congress crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 1895 for a session in Mexico. Since then, it has been held alternately in Europe and America – first organized on a biennial basis and then, from 1976, every three years. For many decades, the congresses were dominated by the anthropological sciences, and dedicated exclusively to the continent’s first inhabitants, the Amerindians. The historical and scholarly specificities of the host nation were salient on each occasion, combined with international scientific considerations that made the congresses an unparalleled record of research trends. The faith in scientific internationalism and neutralism was jeopardized after WWI, when a group of scholars wanted to prevent German-speaking Americanists from participating. But Franz Boas, Paul Rivet, and Erland Nordenskiöld worked hand-in-hand to thwart such an attempt. Against all odds, the 1924 congress in Gothenburg reunited the Americanist community and restored the cardinal value of internationalism, reinforcing the importance and legitimacy of the congress.

On Erland Nordenskiöld’s initiative, a strong symbolic gesture was created with a photograph of the French Paul Rivet shaking hands with the German Karl von den Steinen – a close friend of Franz Boas – on the front page of a Gothenburg daily newspaper. In her unexpected article, Laurière concludes that neither WWI nor WWII broke the Americanist momentum. Since the 1980s, the definition of Americanism has broadened considerably to include sociology, history, educational sciences, political science, and applied anthropology. There has been a profound transformation of Americanist practice, with an unprecedented expansion of universities and research in South America, enhancing the dialogue between scholars from the center and the periphery who cooperate in international projects. The second article by Laurière further explores the European (particularly French) side of the coin, by unravelling the history of the Société des Américanistes de Paris, founded in 1895 by Ernest-Théodore Hamy. This learned society has published the Journal de la Société des Américanistes since 1896, bringing together researchers in various anthropological sciences: ethnologists and anthropologists, linguists and philologists, archaeologists and prehistorians. After Hamy’s death in 1908, Paul Rivet played an essential role in the development and international influence of the Société and its journal for half a century. It was the first learned society in the world to claim to be Americanist, but Laurière reveals its worldwide connections.

New Release from BEROSE – Grillot on the Native American Church and Anthropology

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article (in French) on the intersections between the history of the Native American Church and the history of anthropology from the late nineteenth century to the present.

Grillot, Thomas, 2021.  “La Native American Church, l’anthropologie états-unienne et le peyote” [Transl. “The Native American Church, Anthropology in the United States and Peyote”], in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

The Native American Church (NAC) is an example of a co-creation involving anthropologists and the peoples they study. Incorporating in its rituals the consumption of a hallucinogen of Mexican origin, peyote, the NAC offers a privileged point of view on a little-known aspect of anthropological work: the contribution of some of the representatives of the discipline to the crossing or reinforcement of borders. This issue is addressed through an analysis of expert testimony, defending peyote consumption as a religious right of Native American tribal communities. James Mooney (1861-1921) played a founding role in the development of this professional tradition of testimony that contributes as much to legitimizing a practice as to setting its standards. A second generation took over in the 1930s. After the Second World War, it played the role of gatekeeper, when consumption extended beyond the members of the NAC and a small circle of American and European elites.

The great popularity of Carlos Castaneda (1925-1998)’s writings marks a turning point in this respect. While they shed light on the existence of other practices of peyote consumption across the U.S.-Mexico border, the controversy that soon surrounded them also tainted this openness with a suspicion of fraud. The consumption of peyote was largely enshrined in the various laws protecting the freedom of worship of Native American populations in the United States between the 1970s and 1990s, but strictly reserved for the NAC. It is then as a distinct and essentially American tradition that the rituals of this church come to irrigate a trans-American Amerindian spirituality in selected sites in Mexico. This surprising article by Grillot traces the history of the NAC and its crossings with the history of anthropology.

New Release from BEROSE – Villar on Lips

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article in French on Julius Lips, the German anthropologist exiled to the U.S. after fleeing Nazi Germany with his wife Eva.

Villar, Diego, 2021. “Julius Lips, précurseur de l’anthropologie inversée” [Transl. “Julius Lips, Forerunner of Reverse Anthropology”], in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Julius Lips (1895-1950) was a German ethnologist trained under the diffusionist school who studied material culture and non-Western art from a comparative perspective. Professor at the University of Cologne (1929-1933) and director of the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum (1928-1933), he organized controversial exhibitions together with his wife Eva Wiegandt (1906-1988), such as Masken der Menschen (The Masks of Men) in which African ritual masks rubbed shoulders with expressionist paintings, Melanesian skulls, and the death masks of Beethoven and Napoleon. Accused of subversive relativism, he left Germany one year after Hitler’s rise to power and went into exile in the United States. He was supported by Franz Boas at Columbia University (1934-1936) and was a visiting professor at Howard University (1937-1939).

In North America, Lips consolidated his professional career, carried out ethnographic fieldwork among Algonquian-speaking communities, and published – in 1937 – his most important anthropological contribution: The Savage Hits Back, or the White Man through Native Eyes, with a preface by none other than Bronislaw Malinowski. Villar’s article reviews the trajectory of Lips before and after WWII and pays special attention to the collection of ethnographic objects and pictures gathered by Lips in The Savage Hits Back to document the ways in which “savage art” represented the “White man.” While unveiling the ambiguities of his work, Villar considers that Lips anticipates “reverse anthropology,” namely the Indigenous capacity to objectify foreign observers. In 1948, Lips returned to Germany (GDR) where he wanted to promote an ethnology compatible with socialism. He directed the Institute of Ethnology, founded the Institute of Comparative Legal Sociology, and became rector of Leipzig University in 1949. He died in 1950, but Eva Lips continued his work and defended his/their anthropological legacy to the end.

New Release from BEROSE – Kan on Goldenweiser

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 Alexander Goldenweiser. 

Kan, Sergei, 2021. “An Unorthodox Boasian: Life and Work of Alexander Goldenweiser,” in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

In the annals of the history of anthropology, Alexander Goldenweiser (1880-1940) usually occupies a less prominent place than his fellow Boasians. His academic career suffered from his own difficult personality and erratic behavior, and for this reason, plus the fact that quite a few of his writings appeared in non-anthropological journals, he receives little attention. In this important article, Kan sustains that a careful reading of the entire corpus of Goldenweiser’s work reveals the brilliant mind of a highly erudite scholar. Usually identified as the author of a seminal work on totemism, which offered a thorough criticism of this concept as developed by late nineteenth-century evolutionist anthropologists, Goldenweiser also introduced such important notions as “the limited possibility in the development of culture” and “cultural involution.” Moreover, along with Edward Sapir and Paul Radin, he insisted on the key role of the individual in culture and promoted a rapprochement between anthropology and psychology. Finally, he was also a strong advocate of an interdisciplinary approach to the social sciences, combining anthropological with historical, psychological, and sociological interpretations of culture history. 

Alexander Alexandrovich Goldenweiser was born in Kiev (Ukraine, Russian Empire) into a Russian Jewish family. He studied under Franz Boas at Columbia University, where he taught until 1919. He did fieldwork among the Iroquois, but Kan reveals that he dedicated himself mostly to anthropological theory and had an important role as a progressive public intellectual. His work includes one of earliest textbooks in anthropology in the U.S., Early Civilization: An Introduction to Primitive Culture (1937), a popular book called Robots and Gods: An Essay on Craft and Mind (1931), as well as a collection of essays, History, Psychology and Culture (1933).

New Release from BEROSE – Seymour on Du Bois

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article in English on Cora Du Bois by her biographer, Susan Seymour.

Seymour, Susan C., 2021. “A 20th Century American Anthropologist and ‘First Woman’: The Life and Work of Cora Du Bois,” in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Cora Du Bois (1903-1991) was an American anthropologist whose life spanned much of the twentieth century and whose professional career reflects major developments in the history of that discipline. In addition, Du Bois was a twentieth-century “first woman,” one of the few women of her generation to succeed in having a career that included both university teaching and research but also government service. During World War II, Du Bois served as a high-ranking intelligence officer and then as a Southeast Asia specialist in the State Department in Washington, D.C. Her prominence as an anthropologist was established during the 1930s when she did groundbreaking research in culture and personality. In 1954, Du Bois was appointed the Zemurray-Stone Radcliffe professor of anthropology and social relations at Harvard University, the university’s first tenured woman in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. In this seminal article by Du Bois’s biographer, Seymour concludes that Du Bois’s “intense intellect, curiosity, and formidable character had propelled her through a series of unprecedented accomplishments in both government service and academe,” as she moved from “salvage” anthropology to pioneering research in culture and personality, and then to a new form of research on a complex society through time, using an interdisciplinary, collaborative approach.

New Release from BEROSE – Sansone on Melville and Frances Herskovits in Brazil

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article in English on the Brazilian experience of Melville and Frances Herskovits.

Sansone, Livio, 2021. “‘No Sun Helmets!’ Melville & Frances Herskovits in Brazil,” in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Among the representatives of culturalism, Melville Herskovits (1895-1963) stands out for his pronounced inclination to African studies, bringing Africa and the Americas closer together around cultural issues, without neglecting the challenges of the historical framework of slavery. From the 1920s, he was active in several African-American and African research contexts. 

Between 1935 and 1943, the city of Salvador, Bahia in Brazil received different degrees of attention from a large number of foreign scholars and intellectuals, all of them impressed—if not seduced—by the “magic” of this city, largely the result of its Black popular culture. Among them were Frances Shapiro Herskovits (1897-1975) and her husband Melville Jean Herskovits. In this article, Sansone explores the manifold reasons for the lasting success of Melville and Frances’s fieldwork in Brazil, in spite of the fact that they never published the book they had planned. Their painstaking, detailed, and focused fieldwork in Brazil benefited from the experience, reputation, images, and recordings they had built up elsewhere in the Americas and Africa. The notion of African survivals or Africanism was in those days politically convenient and fitted with the priorities of the local modernist elites. Moreover, their presence and interest was convenient to the candomblé community, and the cult houses used the Herskovitses as leverage for local political support. Sansone concludes that Frances and Melville Herskovits were “the right people, with the right ideas, at the right time and place.” 

New Release from BEROSE – Pinho on Hasenbalg

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article in Portuguese on Argentinian/Brazilian anthropologist Carlos Hasenbalg. 

Pinho, Osmundo, 2021. “Sociologia crítica do racismo à brasileira: um retrato intelectual e político de Carlos Hasenbalg” [Transl.: “Critical Sociology of Racism in Brazil: an Intellectual and Political Portrait of Carlos Hasenbalg”], in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Born in Buenos Aires, sociologist Carlos Hasenbalg (1942-2014) pursued his academic career abroad, following the Argentine military coup of 1966. From Chile, where he studied for two years, he moved to Rio de Janeiro, where he worked until his retirement. In the early 1970s, he did his doctoral studies in Berkeley in the United States, under the guidance of American sociologist Robert Blauner. His book Discriminação e Desigualdades Raciais no Brasil (Discrimination and Racial Inequalities in Brazil), from 1979, posits that the development of capitalism, the industrialization of the economy and the modernization of social relations do not guarantee an end to racism, its structural foundations, and its consequences. In this revealing article, Pinho argues that Carlos Hasenbalg’s place in the history of Brazilian anthropology, sociology, and social sciences in general is at the epicenter of a vast Brazilian and international debate marked by sociological discussions on race, class, and racial stratification. Hasenbalg’s work was a decisive influence on later studies of race relations.

New Release from BEROSE – Peatrik on Kenyatta

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: a fascinating article, in English, on Jomo Kenyatta, the famous Kenyan disciple of Malinowski. 

Peatrik, Anne–Marie, 2021. “Jomo Kenyatta’s Facing Mount Kenya and its Rival Ethnographies: The Kikuyu in the Mirror of Colonial Anthropology,” in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Born around 1895 in southern Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta (c. 1895-1978) or Kamau wa Ngengi (his name from his youth) was a Kenyan pan-African activist and politician. As a representative of an association defending the land interests of the Kikuyu dispossessed by the white settlers, he went to London in 1929, and remained in Europe until 1946, meeting more and more with the English-speaking and anti-colonial intelligentsia. A hero of Kenyan decolonization, he became the first president of the newly independent country from 1964 until his death in 1978. Jomo Kenyatta was also an anthropologist. In 1938, he published Facing Mount Kenya, The Traditional Life of the Gikuyu, a book based on a master’s degree in anthropology under the supervision of Bronislaw Malinowski. It was the first academic anthropological monograph to be written by an African about his people. In this challenging article, Peatrik unveils the tumultuous trajectory of Jomo Kenyatta’s monograph, which was ignored, disparaged, and celebrated in turn. Particularly from the 1930s until the period following the Second World War, other writers engaged in relations of anthropological rivalry with Kenyatta, clashing over the legitimate representation or anthropological truth of the Kikuyu. By unravelling the ways in which these competing versions affected the status of Facing Mount Kenya, Peatrik eventually reveals the hidden or forgotten story of a major work in the history of anthropology. 

New Release from BEROSE – Aranzadi, López and Sánchez on Spanish colonial ethnography in Africa

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: two articles (in Spanish) on Spanish colonial ethnography in Africa.

Aranzadi, Juan, 2021. “Estereotipos étnicos de los indígenas en los primeros estudios coloniales sobre la Guinea española (1900-1936)” [Transl: “Ethnic stereotypes of indigenous people in early colonial studies of Spanish Guinea (1900-1936)”], in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

López Sanz, Hasan G. & Nicolás Sánchez Durá, 2021. “Imaginación colonial y formas de aproximación gráfica de las poblaciones negro africanas. El caso de la Guinea española (1880-1968)” [Transl: “Colonial imagination and graphic representations of Black African populations. The case of Spanish Guinea (1880-1968)”], in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Often overlooked in the historiography of anthropology, Spanish colonialism in Africa is the subject of these two interconnected articles. The Instituto de Estudios Africanos, founded in 1945 after Francisco Franco’s victory in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), promoted ethnological studies on the populations of Spanish Guinea. Despite their “scientific” pretensions and uneven quality, they are imbued with the national-Catholic ideology of the Franco regime and inherit the ethnic stereotypes of Guinean indigenous peoples elaborated in early colonial publications (1900-1936). These earlier sources are analyzed in the first article, by Aranzadi, including missionary writings on the island of Fernando Po, where the Claretian Fathers of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary arrived in 1883. The second article, by López and Sánchez, is dedicated to some forms of popular iconographic representation of Black African populations, especially the little-known case of Spanish Guinea, now Equatorial Guinea. This lavishly illustrated article results from the exhibition “Let’s Bring Blacks Home! Colonial Imagination and Graphic Representations of Africans (1880-1968),” which was held in 2020 at the Cultural Center La Nau of the University of Valencia (Spain), illustrating different aspects of anthropological investigation through objects, photographs, popular periodicals, books, documentaries, and fragments of fictional films.

New Release from BEROSE – Oliveira on Ramos

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article (in English) on Brazilian anthropologist Arthur Ramos, a leading figure of Afro-Brazilian studies during the first half of the twentieth century.

Oliveira, Amurabi, “Afro-Brazilian Studies From Psychoanalysis to Cultural Anthropology: An Intellectual Portrait of Arthur Ramos,” in BEROSE  International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Arthur Ramos (1903-1949) was one of the most prominent Brazilian anthropologists of the first half of the twentieth century, specializing in Afro-Brazilian populations. In his intellectual portrait of this paramount figure in the history of Brazilian anthropology, Oliveira retraces his path from racialized psychoanalysis to cultural anthropology. From 1935 on, Ramos had fruitful exchanges with Melville J. Herskovits and maintained his connections with U.S. anthropology in various ways – including his polemical critique of Ruth Landes’s “fantastic conclusions about a matriarchal cult and male ritual homosexuality among Black Brazilians.” Oliveira reveals that Ramos insisted on the importance of comparing Afro-American to African models to avoid “distorting” views. As Professor of anthropology and ethnography at the Universidade do Brasil in Rio de Janeiro beginning in 1939 and founder of the Brazilian Society of Anthropology and Ethnology in 1941, Ramos also had a relevant role in the institutionalization of anthropology in Brazil. He became the first head of the Department of Social Sciences at UNESCO in 1949, but he held this position for only a short time, as he died a few months after his arrival in Paris. Although his legacy for Brazilian anthropology and his influence over generations of Brazilian anthropologists are particularly significant, his place in disciplinary history is gaining wider international recognition within the world anthropologies paradigm.

New Release from BEROSE – Link on the Center for the Study of Man

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article on the Smithsonian’s Center for the Study of Man, by Adrianna Link.

Link, Adrianna, 2021. “(Re)inventing Urgency: The Case of the Smithsonian’s Center for the Study of Man, 1968-1976,” in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

The Center for the Study of Man was established at the Smithsonian Institution in 1968 to develop international research programs focused on the interrelationship between humans and their physical, biological, and cultural environments. Major projects initiated under its auspices included a program in “urgent anthropology”; the 1978 revision of the Handbook of North American Indians; the development of the National Anthropological Film Center (now the Human Studies Film Archives); the establishment of a Research Institute on Immigration and Ethnic Studies (RIIES); and planning for a Museum of Man. Other partially-conceived initiatives included a bibliographic and computerization program; a conference and publication series on topics such as population growth, human fertility, and drug and alcohol use; and a community-based American Indian program. In this thorough study, Link explains that the Center remained an independent research unit at the Smithsonian until 1976, at which point its major programs were discontinued or reassigned elsewhere within the Institution.

New Release from BEROSE – Coyault on Laman

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article in French about a Protestant Swedish missionary and ethnographer, Karl Edvard Laman.

Coyault, Bernard, 2021. “Karl Edvard Laman, missionnaire ethnologue suédois au Congo (1891-1919). Entre culture savante et humanisme chrétien: l’utopie missionnaire face au léviathan colonial,” in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.


[Transl: “Karl Edvard Laman, A Swedish Missionary and Ethnologist in Congo (1891-1919). Between Learned Culture and Christian Humanism: The Missionary Utopia in the Face of the Colonial Leviathan”]

Karl Edvard Laman (1867-1944) belonged to the first generation of Swedish missionaries who established themselves in the Congo Free State in 1881. He stayed there for more than a quarter of a century, from 1891 to 1919. Laman gradually asserted himself as a great scholar, linguist, and expert on Kongo culture, which he documented, including its material expressions, at a time when its foundations were breaking up under the shocks of the colonial enterprise. His scientific work was coupled with a humanist project: the emancipation of the population through popular education, the two vectors of which were access to the Bible in the Kikongo language (its first translation appeared in 1905) and the promotion of Kongo cultural values. This enhancement of the Kongo language and culture was the basis of his scholarly activity. Coyault’s in-depth article shows the complexity of Laman’s work, which straddles the line between apostolic mission and anthropological study.

New Release from BEROSE – Brock on Strehlow

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article in English about German missionary and ethnographer Carl Strehlow.

Brock, Peggy, 2021. “The Ethnographic Calling of a Lutheran Missionary in Central Australia: A Short Biography of Carl Strehlow,” in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

URL: article2226.html

German missionary Carl Strehlow occupies a peculiar place in the history of anthropology. His language-centered ethnographic work in central Australia contrasted in several respects with Spencer and Gillen’s naturalistic and evolutionist approach. Strehlow’s Die Aranda- und Loritja-Stämme in Zentral-Australien (1907-1920) was regarded with suspicion by James George Frazer and other European admirers of Spencer and Gillen, but Strehlow’s contemporaries in Germany, France, and Britain were more familiar with his findings than Australian researchers. At the time of its publication, and until very recently, Strehlow’s detailed study of the Arrernte and Loritja peoples was largely ignored in Australia. This was partly a result of his work never having been published in English, but probably more importantly because of Strehlow’s disagreements with Spencer and Gillen, whose The Native Tribes of Central Australia (1899) garnered a huge amount of attention and praise as one of the earliest studies based on detailed ethnographic fieldwork. In this enlightening article, Brock sustains that Strehlow’s careful recording of language, customs, folklore, and other aspects of Arrernte and Loritja life has survived over a century. Despite the ongoing controversies around Strehlow’s work, his ethnography rather than the missionary work to which he devoted his life may be his lasting legacy.

New Release from BEROSE – Cole and Andreson on Landes

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: two articles in English on Ruth Landes, the “scandalous” disciple of Franz Boas and Ruth Benedict. 

Andreson, Jamie Lee, 2021. “In the City of Women: The Life and Work of Ruth Landes,” in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

URL: article2218.html

Cole, Sally, 2021. “The End of Chastity and Modesty: Ruth Landes Writing Race and Gender in 1930s Anthropology,” in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

URL: article2219.html

Jamie Lee Andreson presents the life and work of American anthropologist Ruth Landes (1908-1991), the famous disciple of Franz Boas and Ruth Benedict who contributed to the development of Afro-American Studies and Feminist Anthropology. Landes did ethnographic fieldwork in Brazil from 1938 to 1939. Her work that had the greatest impact was the dynamic narrative ethnography, The City of Women (1947) published in Brazil as A Cidade das Mulheres (1967), which documented the lives of prominent head priestesses of Candomblé temples and argued that the religion was a matriarchy, based on the prominence of Black women’s leadership and community reverence for the priestesses as Mothers. Her close collaboration with Brazilian colleague Edison Carneiro granted her privileged access to research sites and subjects, producing an historical archive of Candomblé still available at the National Anthropological Archives (NAA) of the Smithsonian Museum. However, her research approach and relationships in the field were considered scandalous by prominent male colleagues, who negatively impacted her career opportunities in the United States. Nevertheless, her legacy remains strong in Brazil both in academia and among Candomblé practitioners themselves.

Sally Cole’s article focuses on Ruth Landes writing race and gender in 1930s anthropology. City of Women (1947) was anomalous in its time for its focus on women’s agency and gender fluidity among Afro-Brazilian Candomblé practitioners in 1930s Bahia and for its personal memoir writing style. Melville Herskovits (1895-1963) and Arthur Ramos (1903-1949), who were then working to establish the field of Afro-Brazilian studies, severely critiqued Landes’s study of cultural creativity and internal dynamics and her failure to engage in their search for African survivals.  Twenty-first-century historians of anthropology now describe the text as um espelho, a mirror, on gender and race in 1930s Brazil. This article traces the singularity of Landes’s ethnography to her autobiographical experience of gender conventions in the Russian Jewish labor Zionist immigrant milieu she was raised in; her training by Ruth Benedict (1887-1948) to pay attention to the experience of “culturally unprovided for” individuals; and, Landes’s method of intensive fieldwork with Indigenous collaborators – prior to coming to Brazil with Ojibwa elder Maggie Wilson (1879-1940) in Canada that resulted in the book, The Ojibwa Woman (1938) and, in Bahia, with Salvador-born folklorist, Edison Carneiro (1912-1971).  

New Release from BEROSE – Marquet on Colonial India

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article in French on the caste system in Colonial India and more specifically about the production of law in British- and French-ruled territories in the eighteenth to twentieth centuries. 

Marquet, Julie, 2021. “Le régime des castes dans l’Inde coloniale. Productions du droit dans les territoires sous domination anglaise et française, XVIIIe‑XXe siècles” (“The Caste System in Colonial India. Making Law in the Territories under British and French Rule, 18th through 20th Centuries”), in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.


As they gradually asserted their domination over parts of the Indian subcontinent, the British and the French initially committed themselves to respecting the rights, customs, and manners of Indian peoples. In matters of caste, they established a specific legal regime, constituted by local regulations, justice decisions actively sought by the Indians, and collections of jurisprudence. This surprising article by Julie Marquet focuses on this legal regime as a lost chapter in the history of anthropology. It sheds light on the constitution and implementation of the caste legal regime in colonial India, from the eighteenth century to independence. From a comparative historical perspective, it examines both the legal rules regulating the functioning of castes and the methods of their production. It is published as part of the BEROSE research theme “History of the Relationship between Law and Anthropology,” directed by Frédéric Audren (CNRS) and Laetitia Guerlain (University of Bordeaux).

New Release from BEROSE – Laurière on van Gennep

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article, in French, on French anthropologist and folklorist Arnold van Gennep, who coined the famous concept of “rites of passage.”

Laurière, Christine, 2021. “L’ethnographie pour raison de vivre: un portrait d’Arnold van Gennep” (“Ethnography as a reason for living: A Portrait of Arnold van Gennep”), in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.


Contrary to scholarly clichés, this biographical essay on French anthropologist and folklorist Arnold van Gennep does not treat him as a cursed figure under the shadow of the Durkheimian school. Nor should he be remembered solely for having coined the famous concept of “rites of passage” in 1909. Christine Laurière reconstructs disciplinary, ideological, institutional, and personal clashes underpinning van Gennep’s entire scientific career, which was marked by numerous failures and bifurcations, but was also remarkably productive.

The article follows his intellectual transformation in the course of exchanges with historians of religion and later attempts at rapprochement with Durkheimian sociologists. This failed due to theoretical and methodological divergences, but also for political reasons related to van Gennep’s anarchist Weltanschauung and his views on the place of the individual in society. This startling essay puts forward an alternative understanding of van Gennep’s trajectory, avoiding the trap of focusing on Rites of Passage or his later, impressive works on French folklore. To understand van Gennep’s career and scientific choices, it is necessary to consider his crucial yet underexplored rivalry with Marcel Mauss, rather than his opposition to Durkheim, which has been the subject of several studies.  Rivalry with Mauss, Laurière argues, is one of the main reasons for van Gennep’s definitive abandonment of “classical,” “exotic” anthropology to devote himself solely and entirely to the field of French folklore from the 1920s onwards. After burning all his bibliographical files on general anthropology, he fiercely defended ethnography as an autonomous discipline, rejected the great divide between “Us” and “Them,” and advocated the import of ethnographic fieldwork “at home.” Thanks to his many editorial and institutional initiatives, which never ceased to challenge and stimulate methodological and theoretical reshufflings in French anthropology and museology throughout the first half of the twentieth century, van Gennep was a dynamic maverick with a decisive role in the history of the discipline.

New Release from BEROSE – Amos on Lorenzo Dow Turner

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article in English on Lorenzo Dow Turner, the first African-American linguist.

Amos, Alcione M., 2021. “Connecting Communities through Language: Life and Work of Lorenzo Dow Turner,” in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

URL BEROSE: article2198.html

The anthropological legacy of Lorenzo Dow Turner (1890-1972), the first African-American linguist, has an impact beyond linguistics, namely in African-American, Afro-Brazilian, and transatlantic history. Turner’s research started in the early 1930s in South Carolina and Georgia when he interviewed Gullah speakers. It continued in the 1940s in Brazil, when he worked with the people of the Candomblé houses of worship (terreiros); and in Africa in the 1950s, when he researched mostly in Nigeria and Sierra Leone. In this inspiring article, Alcione Amos, curator at the Anacostia Community Museum, sustains that the essence of Turner’s linguistic ethnography consisted of connecting communities of the African diaspora – even before he was able to go to Africa – through language. Starting with his pioneering work among the Gullah, continuing with his studies in London and his visit to the Exposition Internationale in Paris, through his sojourn in Bahia and finally into his visit to African countries, Amos reveals how Turner could always connect his audiences to other peoples by playing his recordings. Much of the material collected by Lorenzo Dow Turner among the U.S. Gullah, in Brazil, and in Africa, remains unexplored to this day. Appearing in a BEROSE topical dossier giving access to audio and video files, photographs, and other resources at Anacostia Community Museum and other institutions, Amos’s article encourages a new generation of researchers to dedicate themselves to further explorations of this important material. 

New Release from BEROSE – García on archaeological museums in Colombia

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 archaeological museums in Colombia.

García Roldan, Daniel, 2021. “La invención de los museos arqueológicos en Bogotá, Colombia (1935-1955): geografías del conocimiento y concepciones de patrimonio arqueológico”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

English translation: “The Invention of Archaeological Museums in Bogotá, Colombia (1935-1955): Geographies of Knowledge and Conceptions of Archaeological Heritage”

URL BEROSE: article2180.html

This article is dedicated to the history of archaeological museums in Colombia. It reconstructs the process of establishing national museums in Bogotá starting in the 1930s and highlights the different notions of archaeological heritage that were forged in each case. In the National Archaeological Museum, the concept of archaeological heritage was closely connected to education, research, and archaeological fieldwork, while in El Museo del Oro (The Gold Museum) it was associated with the sumptuous aspects of pre-Colombian objects; their aesthetic, technical, and even monetary value. Daniel García Roldan identifies the geographies of knowledge behind the history of both museums, analyzes the local institutional contexts in which they emerged, and explores the global processes of knowledge circulation and appropriation in which they participated.

New Release from BEROSE – Launay on Ferguson

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article on Scottish anthropologist Adam Ferguson, by Robert Launay.

Launay, Robert, 2021. “Savagery in 18th-Century Scotland: An Intellectual Portrait of Adam Ferguson,” in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

An eminent representative of the Scottish Enlightenment, Adam Ferguson (1723-1816) was one of the most important theoreticians of progress of the era and author of the famous Essay on the History of Civil Society (1767). He was one of the very first thinkers to propose a theory of the origins of civilization in four stages (hunting, pastoralism, agriculture, trade). In his Essay, he defined “savagery” as not a state but a stage. Just as much as so-called “civilized” people, savages were portrayed by Ferguson as fully social beings. He insisted on the importance of the economy in characterizing social organization – private property, social inequalities and division of labor being decisive criteria in defining a society. In this challenging article, Robert Launay rediscovers Ferguson’s work, which was admired in the twentieth century by E.E. Evans-Pritchard and Ernest Gellner.

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