Frederico Delgado Rosa
Centre for Research in Anthropology (CRIA), Universidade NOVA de Lisboa
Carneiro, Robert L. Evolutionism in Cultural Anthropology: A Critical History. 339 pp., 10 b/w illus., bibl., index. Boulder: Westview Press, 2003. (Reprinted by Routledge in 2018)
Sera-Shriar, Efram (Editor). Historicizing Humans: Deep Time, Evolution, and Race in Nineteenth-Century British Sciences (with an Afterword by Theodore Koditschek). 320 pp., 13 b/w illus., notes, bibl., index. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018.
At first sight, these two books do not have much in common. Evolutionism in Cultural Anthropology is a single-author monograph by one of the “last” great neo-evolutionist anthropologists of the twentieth century, Robert L. Carneiro, who died in June 2020, aged 93; Historicizing Humans is a collective volume by a new generation of historians of science. One is profoundly presentist; the other is profoundly historicist. One is mainly dedicated to anthropology and archaeology in the twentieth century, with shorter chapters on the “classical” evolutionists; the other (as indicated in the title) is focused on the nineteenth century only, and across various disciplines. Carneiro dialogs with dead scholars as inspirational intellectual interlocutors while Sera-Shriar and the contributors to his edited volume do not. One book aims at covering transversal themes, concepts, and methods in North America and Britain (with but a few references to German scholars) while the other deploys eight selected case studies in Britain and the Empire. Other disparities between the two volumes could certainly be enumerated.
HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology. This new article by Emmanuel Hourcade traces the life of Georg Forster, the famous German traveler and ethnographer who, in 1772, accompanied Captain James Cook on his second voyage.
Hourcade, Emmanuel, 2020. “Anthropologie et rencontre des cultures au XVIIIe siècle: vie et œuvre de Georg Forster,” in BEROSE – International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.
In addition to unveiling the richness, vividness and sophistication of the ethnographic reports and reflections contained in Forster’s travelogue, A Voyage Round the World (1777), this piece also discusses the travelogue’s popular reception, and explains how Forster came to be recognized as a founding father of German scientific literature
HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology. This article by João Leal (Centre for Research in Anthropology, NOVA University, Lisbon) presents the complex anthropological legacy of Raimundo Nina Rodrigues, who played a key role in the emergence of the anthropology of Afro-Brazilian religions (and especially the Candomblé studies) at the turn of the twentieth century.
Leal, João, 2020. “Nina Rodrigues e as religiões afro‑brasileiras”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.
Raimundo Nina Rodrigues (1862-1906) is a key figure – albeit a controversial one – in the history of Brazilian anthropology at the turn of the twentieth century. He was a major representative of the racialist theories that prevailed in Brazil at that time, but was also a pioneer in the study of Afro-Brazilian religions, to which he devoted his best-known work, The Fetishist Animism of Bahian Blacks (1896-97). Resulting from his own ethnographic fieldwork, this paradoxical work combines evolutionary and racialist ideas with a thorough first-hand description of candomblé. It launched several themes – such as syncretism – that were to inspire later representatives of this subdisciplinary field, namely from the 1930s and 1940s, when Arthur Ramos (1903-1949) revitalized Afro-Brazilian studies.
HAR is happy to continue to draw readers’ attention to a remarkable and growing online source for History of Anthropology. BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology reflects the diversity of anthropological traditions and currents, whether hegemonic or pushed to the margins. BEROSE welcomes and fosters the pluralization of the history of anthropology and aims at recovering the dialogues or tensions between classical protagonists and forgotten, sometimes excluded and sometimes cursed figures.
Today, we are pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE – an essay by Stafania Capone (Centre national de la recherche scientifique, Paris) and Fernanda Peixoto (University of São Paulo) on the history of anthropology in Brazil. The article is available in both Portuguese and English.
HAR is happy to draw readers’ attention to a remarkable and growing online source for History of Anthropology. BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology reflects the diversity of anthropological traditions and currents, whether hegemonic or pushed to the margins. BEROSE welcomes and fosters the pluralization of the history of anthropology and aims at recovering the dialogues or tensions between classical protagonists and forgotten, sometimes excluded and sometimes cursed figures. This pluralization makes it possible to highlight the richness of World Anthropologies. The same challenge is addressed to Western or Northern anthropologies as well: these are sometimes reduced to a monolithic vision of the most famous theoretical currents and major actors, thus masking the wealth of national anthropological traditions and the vitality of specializations in cultural, geographical or thematic areas.
Wendy Wickwire. At the Bridge: James Teit and an Anthropology of Belonging. 400pp., 5 maps, 26 b/w illus., notes, index. Vancouver and Toronto: University of British Columbia Press, 2019. $34.95 (paperback, pdf, epub), $95 (hardcover)
The purpose of this book is to redress an injustice committed against someone who could have had a central place in the history of anthropology. According to Wendy Wickwire, this might have been the case of James Teit (1864-1922) if he had not been pushed to the margins of the discipline as an amateurish ethnographer in the service of Franz Boas. In comparison with the legendary George Hunt, who has been the subject of several studies (and, recently, a series of events at the AAA/CASCA in Vancouver, 2019), James Teit is practically “unknown” (12). In her monograph on him—the outcome of several decades of archival research and ethnographic encounters with the concerned communities—Wendy Wickwire makes a challenging comparison with Boas himself, hoping that her reassessment of Teit as a visionary anthropologist in his own right will not be like other episodic rediscoveries of forgotten figures who, after a certain time, fall back into obscurity. According to her, Boas played his part in obscuring Teit’s stature (particularly after his death in 1922), and subsequent narratives kept reproducing, if at all, the portrait of an untrained collector subordinated to the academic expert. In fact, she argues that the professionalization of anthropology was one of the causes in this process: “For a new scientific discipline housed in the university, a high school diploma did not measure up” (273). The time has come, she writes, to question “the authority of mainstream history” (22), according to which Teit provided Boas with the field data that allowed the latter to produce a series of eleven monographs on the Nlaka’pamux and other Plateau groups, starting with The Thompson Indians of British Columbia (1900), the fourth in the twenty-seven-part series of Jesup North Pacific Expedition monographs. Wickwire’s perusal of their correspondence allows her to affirm that this is “wrong” (15) and that Teit’s authorial status was paramount.