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.
BEROSE aims to multiply the alternative reference points, whether they come from the “South”, from so-called peripheral countries, or whether they act as a counterweight to the West. Eurocentric visions of history as well as radical post-colonial critiques can be challenged by the (re)discovery of older exchanges and flows of knowledge and by the reconstitution of complex scholarly practices and entangled genealogies. These histories can reveal the successive globalizations of anthropology – of anthropologies – in a sense that is never unique, univocal or teleological. The variety of historiographical approaches within the framework of BEROSE, aiming at deconstruction or reconstruction, mixing presentism and historicism, is a tribute to the creativity and dynamism of the research carried out by historians of anthropology worldwide.
In BEROSE, the center stage is shared; no a priori selection criteria exclude new entries devoted to “minor” anthropologists who might have difficulty finding their place in a stricter, more conventional encyclopaedia or in a dictionary published on paper. The encyclopaedic form itself is likely to be reinvented in the digital age, allowing the cohabitation and accumulation of different histories and textual genres, from classic entries to original essays. BEROSE is both a box of surprises and a reference tool, thanks to the inclusive and progressive capacities of the online encyclopaedia.
BEROSE publishes weekly new articles in several languages (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and soon in German). These publications are announced to subscribers via a quarterly newsletter, and any questions may be directed to its editors here: firstname.lastname@example.org. The History of Anthropology Review will also publish announcements as new works appear.
The latest release is “‘Social Scientist par excellence’: The Life and Work of Richard Thurnwald”, by Viktor Stoll (University of Cambridge). This is a biography of the Austrian anthropologist and sociologist Richard Thurnwald (1869-1954), one of the most respected international scholars of the early twentieth century. Starting his career in Berlin at the Museum für Völkerkunde under Adolf Bastian, he was closely associated with numerous seminal figures – including Boas, Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown. His ethnographic fieldwork took place in Melanesian, Micronesian, and East African contexts. Thurnwald’s influence on the professionalization of the discipline between 1898 and 1950 was transnationally broad and intellectually deep. A critic of the Kulturkreislehre, he may be considered a “father” of modern social anthropology and a pioneer of the functionalist approach, but he remains a neglected figure in the historiography of anthropology.
E-book series ‘Les Carnets de Bérose’
In addition to the articles in the encyclopaedia, BEROSE publishes an e-book series (for now, in French), Les Carnets de Bérose, which reflects the vitality of research in the history of anthropology. The latest releases include:
Focusing on the French ethnology of the 1930s-1960s, this Carnet de Bérose revisits the still burning question of the relationship between anthropology and colonialism through several case studies of ethnologists struggling with a plurality of colonial situations, requiring us to nuance the sometimes simplified vision of the knowledge/power relationship.
The relationship between anthropologists and missionaries has long been characterized by profound ambivalence. The case studies gathered in this Carnet de Bérose evoke strong individualities, both Catholic and Protestant, working mostly in mission fields and territories that were under French imperial domination. They are the authors of a recognized body of ethnographic and ethnological work in the crucial years of 1910-1930.
The History of Anthropology Review is delighted to support BEROSE and will keep HAR readers informed with timely announcements of their new publications.