BEROSE (page 1 of 3)

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.

The Cornell Project in Peru (1951-1966), by Thomas Grillot

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article in French about the Cornell Project in Peru (1951-1966).

Grillot, Thomas, 2022. “L’hacienda de Vicos, laboratoire d’anthropologie appliquée. Le Projet Cornell au Pérou (1951‑1966),” in BEROSE – International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Grillot notes that the ‘Cornell Project in Peru’ remains in the history of anthropology as one of the most controversial examples of the practical value of the discipline. Initially conceived as a place of experimentation that would allow for brilliant theorizations of cultural change, the hacienda of Vicos has above all secured its place as a location of memory for the profession. At the end of the 1940s, when the experiment began, anthropology was still widely perceived by the general public as a technique for the physical and cultural identification of ethnic and racial groups. At Vicos, it was thought of and presented differently, as a ‘technique of technique,’ a knowledge of supervision and transmission that rightfully belonged to the ‘social sciences.’ Even if it never allowed Allan Holmberg, the initiator of the experiment, to reach the holy grail of ‘transferability,’ the site reveals the transferability of the Vicos anthropologists themselves, whether they are ‘local’ or ‘foreign.’ Taking them from site to site, from South American field to U.S. field, from discipline to discipline, and moving them from the position of researchers to that of community organizers or trainers, their itineraries invite us to question the image of a transmission of knowledge that would start from a (U.S.) transmitting center and be ‘received’ elsewhere. On the contrary, the golden age of applied anthropology appears to be a time when anthropologists learn to define their specificity through the project, at the intersection of tangled ‘scenes’: the academic world, the development circle, local societies and survey sites.

Joan Halifax (1942-), Anthropologist and Buddhist Teacher, by Sara Le Menestrel

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article in English about the U.S. anthropologist and Buddhist teacher Joan Halifax.

Le Menestrel, Sara, 2022. “Intersecting Cultural Anthropology, Religious Authority and Medicine: A Portrait of Joan Halifax,” in BEROSE – International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

While Joan Halifax (1942-) is known as a major figure in Buddhism and a Zen roshi expert on end-of-life care and spirituality, her career as an anthropologist working alongside prominent academic figures of the discipline is less well-known. Her academic career began in the 1960s at Columbia University with Alan Lomax. Her stay at the Musée de l’Homme and her meeting with Roger Bastide and Jean Rouch sparked her interest in mental health and dying. She is one of the key figures in the popularization and institutionalization of shamanism in the West. The process of building her respectability as a religious expert is the result of multiple circulations – geographical (between the United States, Mexico, Europe, and Asia), disciplinary (between ethnomusicology, medical anthropology, shamanism, transpersonal psychology, palliative care, and Buddhism) and statutory, navigating between the academic institution and its margins. According to Le Menestrel in her challenging article, Joan Halifax’s itinerary epitomizes the intertwining of spiritual and academic authority, leading to the respectability of religious experts in the public sphere.

Karl von den Steinen (1855-1929), by Erik Petschelies

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article (published both in English and in Portuguese) about the German ethnographer and ethnologist Karl von den Steinen.

Petschelies, Erik, 2021. “The Doyen of South American Ethnography: Life and Work of Karl von den Steinen,” in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Petschelies, Erik, 2021. “O Decano da etnografia sul‑americana: vida e obra de Karl von den Steinen,” in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

In 1924, the first post-war conference of Americanists was held in Gothenburg (Sweden) through the concerted efforts of Franz Boas and a small circle of Americanist scholars from different European countries. The presence of German ethnologist Karl von den Steinen (1855-1929), who had undertaken the first two ethnological expeditions to the Xingu River basin in Central Brazil in 1884 and in 1877-88, thus inaugurating Amerindian ethnography of the South American lowlands, was considered mandatory. But he refused to participate, arguing that it would not be possible to ignore the imposed peace by the winners of the war. Eventually, von den Steinen was convinced to participate by his colleagues, who appealed to the international nature of ethnology and to the fundamental contribution that he could offer to its reconstruction. The encounter between von den Steinen and French Americanist Paul Rivet represented the unity of scientists overcoming differences of nationality and the conflicts in which their countries were involved.

What is less known is that von den Steinen’s private life was falling apart. He was depressed, his wife was gravely ill, and his family’s financial resources were practically non-existent. In this biographical essay based on archival sources held in institutions in Germany, Sweden, and the United States, with a focus on both personal and scientific correspondence, Petschelies aims to describe how anthropology entangled with the personal life of this legendary figure in the history of anthropology by addressing the network of social relations he created and by which he was carved. Von den Steinen, professor at the universities of Marburg and Berlin, chief and director of the Americanist section of the Ethnological Museum of Berlin and president of the Anthropological Society of Berlin, was also a loving husband and father of eight children, a good friend, and a complex human being. 

Paolo Toschi (1896-1974) and Italian Folklore between Croce and Mussolini, by Maurizio Coppola

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology:  two articles (both in Italian and French) on the Italian folklorist Paolo Toschi.

Coppola, Maurizio, 2021. “Paolo Toschi et le folklore italien : vies parallèles” [Transl.: “Paolo Toschi and Italian Folklore: Parallel Lives”], in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Coppola, Maurizio, 2021. “Paolo Toschi, entre Benedetto Croce et Benito Mussolini. Une histoire du folklore italien pendant le fascisme” [Transl.: “Paolo Toschi between Benedetto Croce and Benito Mussolini. A History of Italian folklore during Fascism”], in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Despite being a little-known figure internationally, Paolo Toschi (1896-1974) occupies a prominent place in the history of Italian anthropology, particularly in the field of folklore. Coppola devotes two complementary articles to him. The first outlines Toschi’s life and work, particularly his studies on folk poetry and theatre in Italy and Europe. Toschi’s contribution to the institutional, namely academic recognition of folklore as an academic discipline – which he termed “history of folk traditions” – was fundamental. He also contributed to the foundation of the Museo Nazionale di Tradizioni Popolari in Rome. At the end of the 1940s, he took over the direction of the journal Lares, a position he occupied until his death. Based on a thorough archival survey, the second article focuses on a dark period in the history of the discipline in Italy, when Fascism took folklore studies by storm. In search of institutional support for the development of this field of research, Toschi attempted a rapprochement with political visions as opposed as those of liberal philosopher Benedetto Croce or of Benito Mussolini himself. Toschi and the Duce shared common Romagna origins. In short, the Italian folklorist frequented intellectual and literary circles that rallied to Fascism. Toschi’s biography allows us to understand the institutionalization of folklore in Italy and its complex connections to nation-building before, during, and after Fascism.

Raymond Firth in the Antipodes, by Geoffrey Gray and Christine Winter

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article on Raymond Firth in Australia and New Zealand.

Gray, Geoffrey and Christine Winter, 2021. “Raymond Firth in the Antipodes: A ‘Capacity for Organising and Administration as well as First-Rate Anthropology’,” in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

New Zealand-born Raymond Firth, anthropologist and successor to Malinowski at the London School of Economics, has been described as an “organisation man, both in his theory and in his administrative activities…In administration he was a consistent and fair-minded advocate for anthropology at home and abroad.’ It is this aspect – a consistent and fair-minded advocate for anthropology – that this article examines. It is a persona that is clearly seen after World War II. There were hints before then, such as his role in putting the needs of the institution ahead of personal friendship in enabling Adolphus Peter Elkin to succeed him as professor at the University of Sydney in 1932. After World War II Firth was consulted on all senior academic appointments between 1946 and 1965 during this crucial foundation and consolidation time for academic anthropology in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand. An unexpected consequence was that through these appointments, he introduced new ways of thinking about the discipline that contrasted with what existed in Australia before the war, which is particularly evident in the appointments of Siegfried Frederick Nadel and John Arundel Barnes. Grown and nurtured in the Antipodes, Gray and Winter argue, Firth’s Southern sensibilities remained throughout his career, and allowed him in turn to bring fresh approaches to anthropology in the Antipodes. 

Structuralist Anthropology and Biblical Interpretation, by Alfred Adler

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.

Gregory Bateson from Anthropology to Epistemology, by Peter Harries-Jones

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.

Image and Text in Frobenius’s The Voice of Africa (1912-1913), by Richard Fardon and Richard Kuba

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.

Heymann Steinthal’s Psychology of Peoples (Völkerpsychologie), by Davide Bondi

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.

Theodor Waitz (1821-1864), an Anthropology without Races, by Michel Espagne

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.

Spanish Anthropology Seen through the Revista de Dialectología y Tradiciones Populares (1944-), by Carmen Ortiz García

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.

Constructing the Discipline of Americanists (1875-1947), Two Articles by Christine Laurière

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.

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