BEROSE

New release from BEROSE – Kuba on Frobenius and World War I

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology. This release is a fascinating paper by Richard Kuba about Leo Frobenius’s activities during World War I, and is extensively illustrated.

Kuba, Richard, 2020. “An Ethnologist on the Warpath: Leo Frobenius and the First World War,” in BEROSE – International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Leo Frobenius (1873–1938), one of the most famous and controversial German ethnologists of the twentieth century, emphasized the historicity of African cultures and his work was inspirational to the representatives of the “Négritude” movement who aimed at re-establishing the cultural self-awareness of African peoples. Richard Kuba demonstrates, however, that any portrait of Frobenius is incomplete – if not distorted – if his activities and writings as an ethnologist engaged in World War I are not taken into account. Frobenius spent the war years not only as a researcher, but as the leader of a secret mission, propagandist, and director of a prisoner-of-war camp. As dazzling as his war experience may seem, it nevertheless reveals a great deal about the basic orientations of this rather unusual founding father of early twentieth-century anthropology and of the embedded-ness of the discipline in greater political regimes.

New release from BEROSE – Gonçalves on Luís Cascudo

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology. This article, in Portuguese, presents Brazilian anthropologist and folklorist Luís da Câmara Cascudo. It is published as part of the research theme “Histories of Anthropology in Brazil,” which was edited by Stefania Capone and Fernanda Peixoto.

Gonçalves, José Reginaldo Santos, 2020. “O folclore no Brasil na visão de um etnógrafo nativo: um retrato intelectual de Luís da Câmara Cascudo”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Brazilian anthropologist and folklorist Luís da Câmara Cascudo (1898-1986), who specialized in the folk cultures of his own country, is an under-acknowledged figure in the history of the discipline. In this compelling article in Portuguese, J. R. Santos Gonçalves portrays Cascudo as a “native ethnographer,” whose work is capable of igniting our contemporary imagination. Cascudo focused his attention on the most humble, material, earthly aspects of daily life, be they a sleeping hammock, a raft, food and cachaça, or popular gestures and expressions. In many of Cascudo’s studies, the human body was present as a fundamental, unavoidable mediator. Santos Gonçalves also highlights the fact that this “excluded ancestor,” while spending all his life in his hometown of Natal, in the legendary Nordeste, was part of the Brazilian Modernist movement in the 1920s and 1930s. Associated as Cascudo was with “folklore” studies, his importance remained unacknowledged by the academic community of anthropologists. He is the author of numerous books that vividly recreate the universe of folk cultures in Brazil and continue to be re-printed, while his works remain important sources for current researchers.

New release from BEROSE – Mary on Leenhardt

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology. This latest release is a paper, in French, about the French Protestant missionary and ethnologist Maurice Leenhardt.

Mary, André, 2020. “Maurice Leenhardt, un ethnologue en mission,” in BEROSE – International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

This ambitious biographical essay restores the complexity and depth of Maurice Leenhardt’s (1878-1954) missionary and ethnological endeavors in New Caledonia over more than twenty years. André Mary also evokes Leenhardt’s “second” career after he returned to France, where he was soon recognized as a first-class ethnologist, in dialogue with luminaries such as Paul Rivet, Lucien Lévy-Bruhl and Marcel Mauss. His academic career did not prevent Leenhardt from remaining deeply committed to the Protestant world at the heart of a working-class neighborhood in Paris. He also reflected on the paradoxes of the missionary condition, and dedicated himself to a comparative history of missions abroad. Far from the postmodern and postcolonial critique, Mary analyses Leenhardt’s masterpiece Do Kamo (1947) by remaining as truthful as possible to the missionary’s ethnolinguistic inquiry, while evoking his conversations with Indigenous interlocutors on Kanak notions of person and body, mythical consciousness, and worldview.

New release from BEROSE – Thubauville on Jensen

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology. This paper, in English, concerns the German ethnographer Adolf Jensen, disciple of Leo Frobenius, who did fieldwork in southern Ethiopia in the 1930s and 1950s.

Thubauville, Sophia, 2020. “Of Phallic Stele, Heroes and Ancient Cultures. Adolf Ellegard Jensen’s Research in Southern Ethiopia,” in BEROSE – International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Adolf Ellegard Jensen (1899-1965), a major disciple of the legendary Leo Frobenius, was himself one of the most influential German anthropologists of his time. His intellectual activity mainly concerned the fields of religion, myth, and ritual. A new article by Sophia Thubauville is dedicated to Jensen’s pioneering expeditions to southern Ethiopia in the 1930s and 1950s. Jensen’s research took place before Protestant missions converted the local population in large numbers and before the socialist revolution led to radical cultural and social change among the peoples of Ethiopia. As there exist no other descriptions of this region from that time, his accounts are a cultural archive for anthropologists, historians, and the people of southern Ethiopia. In addition to his extensive publications, Jensen also succeeded in interesting numerous young researchers in the region; their students and successors collaborate with a new generation of German anthropologists pursuing anthropological research in present-day southern Ethiopia.

New release from BEROSE – Pallares-Burke on Rüdiger Bilden

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology. This paper, in English, is about a forgotten figure in Afro-Brazilian studies, Rüdiger Bilden.

Pallares–Burke, Maria Lúcia G., 2020. “An Intellectual Portrait of Rüdiger Bilden, Forgotten Forerunner of Gilberto Freyre,” in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

In her touching portrait of a forgotten figure in Afro-Brazilian studies, Maria Lúcia Pallares-Burke brings to life German anthropologist Rüdiger Bilden (1893-1980), disciple of Franz Boas and colleague of Melville Herskovits at Columbia University. As early as 1929, Bilden coined the expression which identified Brazil as a “laboratory of civilizations,” a concept that has been highly controversial ever since. Bilden’s analyses of the effects of slavery on Brazilian society and culture are little known, however, in comparison to the thesis of his lifelong friend, the famous Brazilian anthropologist Gilberto Freyre. Bilden did not finish his Ph.D. at Columbia in the 1920s, published little and was unable to build a career. At a broader level, Bilden’s most important contribution concerned the question of race relations in the United States, a cause to which he gave increasing attention as the prospect of finishing his ambitious volumes on Brazilian slavery was diminishing. 

New release from BEROSE – Palisse on Roumain and Damas

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology. This paper, in French, concerns Haitian author Jacques Roumain, French Guyanese poet and politician Léon-Gontran Damas, and Haitian anthropology intellectual networks in the 1930s-1940s.

Palisse, Marianne, 2020. “Jacques Roumain, Léon-Gontran Damas, et les filiations de l’anthropologie haïtienne des années 1930-1940 : vers la constitution d’espaces intellectuels transcoloniaux ?,” in BEROSE – International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

The article builds on the crossing of paths of the Haitian Jacques Roumain and the French Guyanese Léon-Gontran Damas, and tries to shed light on the intellectual networks that inspired the practice of anthropology in the French-speaking Black Americas in the 1930s-1940s. The Institut d’Ethnologie de Paris, where Roumain and Damas studied, had a big influence on their own ideas of anthropology. But Damas and Roumain were also active members of Black intellectual networks on both sides of the Atlantic. These networks were connected with antifascist and antiracist groups of intellectuals but also with surrealism groups. Within these linkages, Haiti played a special role. Damas and Roumain saw anthropology as a tool for their project of improving the status of Black cultures and popular cultures. From their viewpoints as intellectuals from colonized countries and their refusal of assimilation, they took part in an in-depth reinterpretation of the discipline.

New release from BEROSE – Pouillon on Van Gennep in Algeria

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology. This paper, in French, examines Arnold Van Gennep’s fieldwork in Algeria in 1911 and 1912, his only ethnographic work outside of Europe.

Pouillon, François, 2020. “Arnold Van Gennep en Algérie. Le détour exotique d’un ethnologue de l’Europe,” in BEROSE – International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Arnold van Gennep is best known today for his rites of passage theory, his contributions to the international debate on totemism, and his folklore studies. In this paper, François Pouillon reveals a less known facet: Van Gennep’s field experience in a colonial context, namely in Algeria, from 1911-1912. He invites the reader to browse through Van Gennep’s articles, archives, and his fascinating monograph En Algérie (In Algeria, 1914). Van Gennep developed a demanding research practice and a kind of reflexivity that was quite innovative at the time. Pouillon convincingly demonstrates that this Algerian experience was indeed a turning point in Van Gennep’s career, as it encouraged him to pursue his ethnography in rural France for reasons related to the predicaments of research in Muslim countries under European rule. Pouillon’s reading of the fascinating key text Les demi-savants (The Semi-Scholars, 1911), written in the same period, sheds further light on Van Gennep’s personality and on his singular place in the history of anthropology.

New release from BEROSE – Tambascia on Nimuendajú

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology. This paper, in Portuguese, discusses notable Brazilian anthropologist Curt Nimuendajú. Its English title says it all: “‘I don’t know how to make a living’: the backstage of Curt Nimuendajú’s ethnography”.

Tambascia, Christiano Key, 2020. “‘Não sei como hei de viver’: osbastidores da etnografia de Curt Nimuendajú”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Nimuendajú occupies an exceptional, legendary place in the history of Brazilian anthropology. He exerted a lasting fascination for Americanist anthropologists who recognized him as a great ethnographer. His unconditional defense of Indigenous peoples and his criticism of Brazilian Indigenous politics contributed to building the figure of a romantic ethnologist entirely devoted to his profession. Through a meticulous ethnography of the archives, Cristiano Tambascia takes us through the looking glass and helps us understand the making of this reputation and the many difficulties that littered the life and ethnographic practice of Nimuendajú, who lived in material and institutional precariousness, heightened by an uncompromising professional ethic.

New release from BEROSE – Goetzmann on Henry Sumner Maine

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology. This article, in French, discusses one of the founding fathers of anthropology in the nineteenth century, the jurist-anthropologist of the British Raj, Sir Henry Sumner Maine.

Goetzmann, Marc, 2020. “Le juriste anthropologue du British Raj. Sir Henry Sumner Maine et son oeuvre”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

British Victorian jurist Henry Maine was one of the founding fathers of anthropology, and legal anthropology in particular. He is best known for Ancient Law (1861) and its famous thesis on the transition from status to contract in Indo-European societies. For seven years, beginning in 1862, Maine was legal adviser to the Council of the Governor General of India. He was interested in the dynamics between law and social change and the functioning of customary law in Indian village communities. His writings fostered the development of field investigations in India from the 1870-1880s and onwards. He is regarded as one of the main inspirations for the policy of indirect rule in the British Empire. His ideas were to be successful among Indian nationalists wishing to preserve Indian institutions, primarily village communities. As a professor of law at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, he was also the author of Village Communities in East and West (1871), Lectures on the Early History of Institutions (1875), and Dissertations on Early Law and Custom (1883).

New release from BEROSE – Mahias on the Nilgiris as Indian Tribal Sanctuary

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology. This article, in English, discusses the ideological construction of the Nilgiris region in southern India as a tribal sanctuary, c. 1812-1950.

Mahias, Marie–Claude, 2020. “The Construction of the Nilgiris (South India) as a ‘Tribal Sanctuary’ (1812-1950)”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Anthropologist Marie-Claude Mahias explains how the case of the Nilgiris region in India was used in modern anthropology to construct very different sociological models. It was equally easy to prove that the inhabitants of this region were isolated tribes or that they were part of a jajmânî-like system of interdependence, with either the Todas or the Badagas as the dominant caste. Mahias demonstrates that the basis of the British distinction between ‘caste’ and ‘tribe’ were never clearly defined, as scientific and political considerations have always been intertwined in the history of both concepts. Mahias questions the perception of the Nilgiri peoples during the nineteenth century and at the beginning of the twentieth and reveals that the choice of sociological concepts was never really discussed. This does not mean, however, that it was wholly arbitrary. ‘Caste’ and ‘tribe’ are the outcomes of a controversial epistemological construction that has evolved in complex ways over the course of time.

New release from BEROSE – Toffin on Nepalese Anthropology

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology. These two articles, both in French, discuss the history of Nepalese anthropology and folklore.

Toffin, Gérard, 2020. “Les folkloristes népalais, entre sentiment national et diversité des cultures (XXe – début XXIe siècle)”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Toffin, Gérard, 2020. “Naissance de l’école népalaise d’anthropologie (1960-2020)”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

French anthropologist Gérard Toffin traces the history of Nepalese folklore since the beginning of the 20th century. He analyzes how this movement has evolved over the last few decades, partly under the influence of the UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage policy, introduced in the early 2000s, as opposed to the previous focus on the archaeological legacies of classical written cultures. The article concludes with a reflection on the relationship between scholarly and popular culture in South Asia and on the deep roots of the Nepalese folklore movement in the context of a multicultural country of 30 million people, with some 100 different ethnic groups and castes, speaking nearly 90 different languages.

The second article by Toffin deals with the insightful case of Nepalese anthropology as a new discipline, a World Anthropology that was not created by the colonial power, as in India by the British Raj. Nepalese universities, funded largely with the help of developed countries, are unable to provide for the needs of young local anthropologists, who are forced to contract with foreign agencies in order to make a living. Overarching and ambiguous, dependence on foreign countries dates back to the first generation of Nepalese anthropologists, often trained as assistants to Western anthropologists – as was the case with Dor Bahadur Bista, the founding father of Nepalese anthropology, who was the informant/collaborator of the London SOAS professor of anthropology, Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf. Their utilitarian approach within applied anthropology often distinguishes Nepalese anthropologists from their foreign colleagues.

New release from BEROSE – Rossi on Edison Carneiro

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology. This article, available in both in English and Portuguese, focuses on Edison Carneiro and is written by Carneiro’s biographer, Gustavo Rossi. Rossi draws a fascinating and moving portrait of the Brazilian anthropologist. From a “black white” family, he studied the terreiros of Bahia candomblé, and fought for freedom of worship of Afro-Brazilian religions. He was Ruth Landes’s guide in Bahia in the late 1930s.

Rossi, Gustavo, 2020. “A “Lost Vocation”? The Life and Work of Edison Carneiro, Exponent of Afro‑Brazilian Studies”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Rossi, Gustavo, 2020. “Uma ‘vocação perdida’? Vida e obra de Edison Carneiro, expoente dos estudos afro‑brasileiros”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

From a “black white” family, Brazilian anthropologist Edison Carneiro (1912-1972) devoted himself to ethnographic and historical studies on Afro-Brazilian religiosity and cultural practices, as well as on Brazilian folklore. He carried out ethnographic fieldwork from the 1930s onwards in the candomblé terreiros of Salvador, the “African Rome,” of which he became one of the main interpreters and specialists. A poet, communist intellectual and combative journalist, he fought for the freedom of worship of Afro-Brazilian religions. As the main guide of the American anthropologist Ruth Landes in Bahia in the late 1930s, Carneiro developed an intense romantic and professional partnership with her, which eventually put them in a situation of conflict and enmity with some of the main figures of Afro-Brazilian studies in their respective countries: Melville J. Herskovits in the United States, and Arthur Ramos in Brazil. Carneiro never obtained a university position. Among his extensive works are Religiões Negras (1936), Candomblés da Bahia (1947), Antologia do Negro Brasileiro (1950) and Dinâmica do Folclore (1965).

New release from BEROSE – Hall on Gellner’s Anthropological Method

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology. This new article from John Hall discusses the anthropological method of Ernest Gellner.

Hall, John A., 2020. “The Philosopher of Anthropology: Ernest Gellner on Anthropological Method”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Ernest Gellner has a peculiar place in the history of anthropology. His own anthropological fieldwork on the saintly lineages of the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco – Saints of the Atlas (1969) – firmly places him within the British tradition of social anthropology that stressed the importance of extended periods of fieldwork. But Gellner was a polymath, whose training had been in philosophy, and the singularity of his contribution to anthropology lies in the fact that he theorized at a deep philosophical level what was involved in the practice of the discipline. The arguments he developed are highly distinctive because they suggest that mainstream anthropological self-understanding is not correct. John Hall portrays Gellner as a powerful, almost scandalous figure, whose reputation was initially built by his attack on linguistic philosophy. From this followed his most long-lasting contribution to anthropology: his reflections on method. Gellner was also a fierce critic of idealist explanations in social science, which too easily privileged cultural factors rather than considering social structural realities.

New release from BEROSE – Mahé on Bourdieu’s Kabyle Ethnology

HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology. This new article by Alain Mahé examines the production of Pierre Bourdieu’s ethnographic studies of Kabylia.

Mahé, Alain, 2020. “En revisitant l’anthropologie de la Kabylie de Pierre Bourdieu”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Pierre Bourdieu’s writings on Kabylia are commonly regarded as his most successful and accomplished. Alain Mahé shows how the Kabyle context contributed to Bourdieu’s anthropological project, serving as an anchor for constituting his theory and conceptual apparatus. Of the three studies that Bourdieu conducted on Kabylia, none addresses politics explicitly, yet each of them proposes a theory of modes of domination. Through the concept of mutual convertibility of symbolic and economic capital, Bourdieu shows how practices contribute to the establishment of a political order. As a gateway to his anthropology, especially his political anthropology, Bourdieu’s studies on Kabylia lay bare what is overshadowed by the numerous devices and institutions mediating political power in French society and other modern nation states. Alain Mahé’s paper discusses the passage from authority to power and the power of the community as two essential aspects of Bourdieu’s ethnography and anthropology.

Recent Publications at BEROSE

BEROSE International Encyclopedia of the Histories of Anthropology is pleased to announce its June roundup of its online, open access articles on the history of anthropology. More than a dozen articles (in French, English, Italian and Portuguese) are summarized below for HAR readers.

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