HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article in French about a Protestant Swedish missionary and ethnographer, Karl Edvard Laman.
Coyault, Bernard, 2021. “Karl Edvard Laman, missionnaire ethnologue suédois au Congo (1891-1919). Entre culture savante et humanisme chrétien: l’utopie missionnaire face au léviathan colonial,” in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.
[Transl: “Karl Edvard Laman, A Swedish Missionary and Ethnologist in Congo (1891-1919). Between Learned Culture and Christian Humanism: The Missionary Utopia in the Face of the Colonial Leviathan”]
Karl Edvard Laman (1867-1944) belonged to the first generation of Swedish missionaries who established themselves in the Congo Free State in 1881. He stayed there for more than a quarter of a century, from 1891 to 1919. Laman gradually asserted himself as a great scholar, linguist, and expert on Kongo culture, which he documented, including its material expressions, at a time when its foundations were breaking up under the shocks of the colonial enterprise. His scientific work was coupled with a humanist project: the emancipation of the population through popular education, the two vectors of which were access to the Bible in the Kikongo language (its first translation appeared in 1905) and the promotion of Kongo cultural values. This enhancement of the Kongo language and culture was the basis of his scholarly activity. Coyault’s in-depth article shows the complexity of Laman’s work, which straddles the line between apostolic mission and anthropological study.