HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology. This latest release is a paper, in French, about the French Protestant missionary and ethnologist Maurice Leenhardt.
Mary, André, 2020. “Maurice Leenhardt, un ethnologue en mission,” in BEROSE – International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.
This ambitious biographical essay restores the complexity and depth of Maurice Leenhardt’s (1878-1954) missionary and ethnological endeavors in New Caledonia over more than twenty years. André Mary also evokes Leenhardt’s “second” career after he returned to France, where he was soon recognized as a first-class ethnologist, in dialogue with luminaries such as Paul Rivet, Lucien Lévy-Bruhl and Marcel Mauss. His academic career did not prevent Leenhardt from remaining deeply committed to the Protestant world at the heart of a working-class neighborhood in Paris. He also reflected on the paradoxes of the missionary condition, and dedicated himself to a comparative history of missions abroad. Far from the postmodern and postcolonial critique, Mary analyses Leenhardt’s masterpiece Do Kamo (1947) by remaining as truthful as possible to the missionary’s ethnolinguistic inquiry, while evoking his conversations with Indigenous interlocutors on Kanak notions of person and body, mythical consciousness, and worldview.