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Witort, Jan (1853-1903)

Ethnologist and ethnographer Jan Michał Witort (1853-1903) was a representative of evolutionism and an influential personality in late 19th century Lithuanian ethnology, with contributions that refer to both Lithuanian and Polish contexts. He educated himself to become an ethnologist during his deportations to the North of Russia and Siberia. Later he was connected to the Polish Ethnological Society (Towarzystwo Ludoznawcze) in Lviv and its journal Lud. His main works – books and articles - concern mainly the studies of customary and “primitive” law, family and kinship, property relations, social organization, folk economy, religion and Lithuanian ethnography.

Keywords: Ethnology | Evolutionism | Ethnography | Poland | Lithuania | Folk traditions | European folklore | Family and kinship | Pre-Christian religions | Common Law | Edward Tylor | Herbert Spencer | Julius Lippert | Albert Hermann Post