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.

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