HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology. This paper, in English, concerns the German ethnographer Adolf Jensen, disciple of Leo Frobenius, who did fieldwork in southern Ethiopia in the 1930s and 1950s.

Thubauville, Sophia, 2020. “Of Phallic Stele, Heroes and Ancient Cultures. Adolf Ellegard Jensen’s Research in Southern Ethiopia,” in BEROSE – International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.

Adolf Ellegard Jensen (1899-1965), a major disciple of the legendary Leo Frobenius, was himself one of the most influential German anthropologists of his time. His intellectual activity mainly concerned the fields of religion, myth, and ritual. A new article by Sophia Thubauville is dedicated to Jensen’s pioneering expeditions to southern Ethiopia in the 1930s and 1950s. Jensen’s research took place before Protestant missions converted the local population in large numbers and before the socialist revolution led to radical cultural and social change among the peoples of Ethiopia. As there exist no other descriptions of this region from that time, his accounts are a cultural archive for anthropologists, historians, and the people of southern Ethiopia. In addition to his extensive publications, Jensen also succeeded in interesting numerous young researchers in the region; their students and successors collaborate with a new generation of German anthropologists pursuing anthropological research in present-day southern Ethiopia.

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