HAR is pleased to announce one of the latest releases from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article, in English, on the Afro-Brazilian anthropologist Manuel Querino.

Gledhill, Sabrina, 2023. “A Pioneering Afro-Brazilian Ethnologist: The Life and Work of Manuel Querino”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Afro-Brazilian polymath Manuel Raymundo Querino (1851–1923) was the first Black scholar to study the history, culture and origins of the enslaved Africans and their descendants in Brazil. At a time when pseudoscientific racism was widespread in Brazilian scientific circles, Querino put forward alternative, positive views based on his personal experience and respectful interviews with elderly Africans who had survived the transatlantic crossing and enslavement. Orphaned at the age of four by a cholera epidemic, he was entrusted to a white guardian who taught him to read and write and had him apprenticed to become a painter-decorator. After being drafted into the armed forces to fight in the Paraguayan War (1864–1870), Querino was appointed as a clerk to the battalion and was later demobilized. Following his return to Salvador in 1871, he became an abolitionist, journalist, labour leader, politician, folklorist, ethnologist, food scholar and art historian – among other activities. During his lifetime and until the 1930s, he was considered one of the pioneers of ethnology in Brazil. However, in the following decades, numerous attempts were made to disparage his scholarship and disqualify his scholarship as amateur. The fact that he was of African descent and often described as “self-taught” led to the assumption that he was illiterate, despite being the author of several books. But Querino’s visionary anthropology has also been the subject of numerous reappraisals in Brazil and internationally. Now, he is once again being recognized for his ground-breaking work as a Black vindicationist, anthropologist, art historian and food scholar. This article is part of a decades-long effort to restore Querino to his rightful place in the pantheon of Brazilian anthropologists.

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