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Editorial Board / Research themes

Histoire de l’anthropologie française et de l’ethnologie de la France (1900-1980)

  • Sous la direction de  ;">Christine Laurière

Nicolas Adell (Université Jean-Jaurès, Toulouse)
Arnauld Chandivert (Université de Montpellier, CERCE)
Thomas Hirsch (EHESS, Paris)
André Mary (IIAC-LAHIC, CNRS, Paris)
Martine Segalen (Université Paris-Nanterre)
Sylvie Sagnes (IIAC-LAHIC, CNRS, Paris)
Luis Felipe Sobral (Universidade de São Paulo, Departamento de antropologia)

Histoire de l’anthropologie et des ethnologies allemandes et autrichiennes

  • Sous la direction de  ;">Laurent Dedryvère (EILA, Université de Paris, site Paris-Diderot),  ;">Jean-Louis Georget (Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris),  ;">Hélène Ivanoff (Institut Frobenius, recherches en anthropologie culturelle, Francfort-sur-le-Main),  ;">Isabelle Kalinowski (CNRS,Laboratoire Pays germaniques UMR 8547, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris),  ;">Richard Kuba (Institut Frobenius, recherches en anthropologie culturelle, Francfort-sur-le-Main),  ;">Carlotta Santini (CNRS, ENS) et  ;">Céline Trautmann-Waller (Université Sorbonne nouvelle-Paris 3/IUF).

Philippe Siegert (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle)

Histoires de l’anthropologie au Brésil

  • Sous la direction de  ;">Stefania Capone (CNRS, CéSor) et  ;">Fernanda Arêas Peixoto (Universidade de São Paulo).

On compte au Brésil une grande diversité de pratiques anthropologiques. Plurielles, elles le sont par les thèmes, les terrains, les problématiques et les orientations. Si l’anthropologie brésilienne est surtout connue pour ses études sur les populations amérindiennes et les religions afro-brésiliennes, elle ne se limite pas à ces grandes traditions d’étude, mais inclut aussi l’anthropologie urbaine et rurale, l’anthropologie politique, entre autres. De sorte qu’il est difficile d’embrasser cet ensemble d’un seul regard, de l’articuler à une seule trajectoire historique. Loin de vouloir établir une histoire unique de l’anthropologie au Brésil, en suivant des repères chronologiques toujours contestables – soit la « découverte », en 1500, du territoire plus tard appelé Brésil, soit la création des premières institutions scientifiques au XIXe siècle, ou encore, dans les années 1930, l’émergence tardive des universités, quand les spécialités et les disciplines se profilent de façon plus nette –, notre choix est de reconstituer les ramifications qui mènent à la consolidation de différentes traditions de recherche, en retraçant les matrices de pensée et les lignes de divergences, à travers l’espace et le temps. Le premier défi, pour rendre compte de cette trame multiple, est de laisser cette hétérogénéité et cette complexité apparaître, faire de ces différences une boussole.

Le but est de dessiner une cartographie qui respecte la diversité régionale d’un pays aux multiples centres de production intellectuelle, en veillant aux écarts générationnels et institutionnels (musées, instituts, associations et universités), sans négliger les caractéristiques des acteurs : brésiliens ou étrangers, hommes ou femmes, noirs, blancs, métis ou amérindiens. On doit tenir compte des zones de frontière, des circulations entre savoirs « savants » et « artistiques », « érudits » et « populaires », « professionnels » et « amateurs », au cœur de la relation anthropologique entre « chercheurs » et « informateurs », sans naturaliser pour autant ces catégories : elles sont partie prenante de la réflexion sur l’histoire de l’anthropologie au Brésil. Il faut encore être attentif aux façons dont les idées et les pratiques circulent d’un territoire disciplinaire à l’autre (histoire, sociologie, archéologie, études littéraires, etc.), voire entre des terrains définis comme « scientifiques » et « politiques ».

Pour restituer l’épaisseur des scènes, des personnages et des productions de ce panorama des anthropologies pratiquées au Brésil, il importe de retracer les projets individuels et collectifs, d’ébaucher les domaines au sein desquels ils gravitent. Avant même que n’existent des espaces institutionnels consacrés à la formation des anthropologues stricto sensu, on recense une production de connaissances anthropologiques chez les naturalistes, les chroniqueurs, les missionnaires, les peintres, qui ont sillonné le Brésil à partir du XVIe siècle, et qui ont été les premiers à fixer et analyser certaines des dimensions fondamentales du paysage naturel, de la vie sociale et des manifestations culturelles brésiliennes. Puis il convient aussi tenir compte des folkloristes et autres figures savantes de la fin du XIXe et début du XXe siècle. La génération de penseurs qui, dans les années 1920 et 1930, ont produit des essais importants sur le processus de formation de la nation brésilienne – tels que Euclides da Cunha, Paulo da Silva Prado, Francisco José de Oliveira Vianna, Gilberto Freyre et Sérgio Buarque de Holanda – a quant à elle profondément influencé les études anthropologiques au Brésil, mais aussi à l’étranger. De même des figures formées par les universités brésiliennes, qui venaient d’être fondées dans les années 1930, sont à l’origine d’études anthropologiques séminales en dépit de leur ancrage dans d’autres disciplines. Ajoutons encore des noms consacrés du canon littéraire national, comme les poètes du modernisme de 1922, Oswald de Andrade et Mário de Andrade, à qui l’on doit des théories originales sur la culture nationale, encore fécondes pour l’anthropologie contemporaine. Par ailleurs, le Brésil a aussi été l’un des terrains privilégiés de plusieurs générations d’ethnographes et d’ethnologues étrangers qui ont parfois influencé les pratiques savantes locales, tels que les Allemands Karl von den Steinen et Curt Nimuendajù, ou les Français Roger Bastide et Claude Lévi-Strauss.

Outre les auteurs et leurs œuvres, il s’agit aussi de mettre en avant les différents centres de production du savoir anthropologique, ainsi que les institutions, les centres et les associations scientifiques qui ont constitué des collections ethnographiques et organisé des cursus de formation. De même, les missions de recherche, les congrès et les revues permettent de redécouvrir des personnalités et des matrices de l’anthropologie aujourd’hui oubliées. Ce travail d’analyse de la formation du champ anthropologique ne peut, bien évidemment, faire l’économie de l’étude des articulations entre savants et institutions, chercheurs brésiliens et étrangers, qui précèdent l’institutionnalisation de l’anthropologie au Brésil. L’accent mis sur la cartographie intellectuelle dans cette présentation des « Histoires de l’anthropologie au Brésil » permet aussi de faire ressortir les jalons historiques et les événements politiques qui ont infléchi la production des connaissances en général et de l’anthropologie en particulier, tant pour ce qui est de ses acteurs que de ses centres d’activité. Autant dire que l’espace et le temps sont les paramètres de cette cartographie des anthropologies pratiquées au Brésil, d’hier à aujourd’hui, qui ne peuvent être appréhendées qu’au travers de leurs connexions internationales. Sans chercher à en dresser un tableau exhaustif ou une synthèse, les dossiers qui enrichissent ce programme de recherche visent à dégager des pistes et des trajectoires, que les lecteurs suivront selon l’ordre et la direction qu’ils estimeront les plus opportuns, chacun étant libre à son tour de créer de nouveaux liens et de nouvelles relations entre eux.

Stefania Capone
Fernanda Arêas Peixoto

Version abrégée de Capone, Stefania & Fernanda Arêas Peixoto, 2019. « Anthropologie au Brésil : une introduction historique », in Bérose - Encyclopédie internationale des histoires de l’anthropologie, Paris.


Histoire de l’anthropologie néerlandophone

  • Sous la direction de  ;">Thomas Beaufils (Université de Lille, IRHiS UMR CNRS 8529)

L’anthropologie néerlandophone est un domaine de recherche peu exploré par les chercheurs en sciences humaines et sociales . Pourtant, il s’agit d’un champ d’étude considérable et bon nombre d’archives – dont l’accès est peu aisé en raison de l’apprentissage peu courant de la langue néerlandaise –, et de terrains mériteraient d’être investis et prospectés de manière plus intensive. Si quelques figures ont acquis une notoriété somme toute plutôt assez modeste, il faut bien se rendre à l’évidence que les délimitations géographiques complexes de ces « mondes » néerlandophones et les terminologies foisonnantes parfois nébuleuses utilisées pour désigner ces territoires ne favorisent pas la lisibilité et la compréhension d’une anthropologie dont il est bien difficile de deviner la logique et l’unité. Difficile en effet pour le profane de saisir ce que recouvrent réellement des termes tels que Pays-Bas, Pays-Bas anciens, Pays-Bas espagnols, Pays-Bas autrichiens, Hollande, Flandre, Flandres, Flandres françaises, Frise, plat pays, république des Provinces-Unies, sans oublier la Belgique dont il n’est pas forcément aisé pour tout un chacun de distinguer la part francophone de la part néerlandophone.

Des missionnaires, des administrateurs et des voyageurs néerlandais ou flamands se firent l’écho des habitudes de vie des populations rencontrées en situation coloniale, et ce dès l’implantation de comptoirs aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles. De ces multiples contacts, est née une foisonnante anthropologie de langue néerlandaise. Le royaume des Pays-Bas constitua au XIXe siècle un vaste empire colonial formé essentiellement des Indes néerlandaises, du Suriname et des Antilles néerlandaises ; la production anthropologique dans le cadre de l’expansion coloniale de la Belgique doit être également être prise en compte, tout comme celle de l’Afrique du Sud, en raison de ses populations d’origine néerlandaise. Aussi bien des agents coloniaux que des savants et des écrivains néerlandais et flamands firent part de leurs expériences et de leurs découvertes dans des ouvrages souvent de qualité, mais qui pouvaient également s’avérer dénigrants ou subjectifs vis-à-vis des populations étudiées. La naissance de l’anthropologie en Belgique et aux Pays-Bas se place essentiellement dans ce contexte colonial.

Sur un plan intérieur, Néerlandais et Flamands entreprirent également des études ethnographiques pour, d’une part, recueillir, essentiellement à partir des années 1910, des données de terrain sur le folklore et les traditions populaires en voie de disparition, supplantées par les modes de vie modernes. La langue néerlandaise fait la distinction entre Volkenkunde (ethnologie des civilisations extra-européennes) et Volkskunde (ethnologie des Pays-Bas et de la Flandre, traduit souvent par folklore). C’est aussi à partir des années 1910 qu’un autre type d’ethnologue fit son apparition, tel J. P. B. de Josselin de Jong, chef de file de la fameuse école anthropologique de Leyde, qui se distancia de la politique coloniale de l’État néerlandais et qui prit même partie pour les populations colonisées jusqu’à s’engager, intellectuellement s’entend, dans la lutte pour leur indépendance.

Depuis les années 1950, l’anthropologie néerlandophone ne se limite plus uniquement aux anciens terrains coloniaux et nationaux mais elle s’est très largement ouverte à des terrains extrêmement diversifiés de par le monde. De nombreuses figures ont marqué ou marquent toujours l’anthropologie néerlandaise et belge de l’après-guerre. La fin des colonies et la transformation profonde de leurs sociétés a entraîné un changement radical de paradigme pour les anthropologues belges et néerlandais, suivant une nouvelle sensibilité post-coloniale. En revanche, c’est assez tardivement que la discipline cesse d’être un domaine d’étude exclusivement réservé à une intelligentsia masculine. Dans le cadre du thème de recherche « Histoire de l’anthropologie néerlandophone », Bérose se propose de rendre plus visible la diversité et les transformations de cette anthropologie et de participer à une meilleure délimitation de ce champ d’étude à travers des dossiers documentaires qui présenteront les ethnologues et anthropologues, les revues et les institutions qui constituent l’histoire de cette anthropologie.

La numérisation massive de documents et de collections ethnographiques, actuellement en cours en Flandre et aux Pays-Bas, favorise une collaboration renforcée entre chercheurs, organismes de recherche, bibliothèques et institutions muséales du monde entier. On ne peut qu’espérer que cet effort considérable de mise à disposition de documents permettra de produire de nouvelles recherches dans le domaine de l’histoire de l’anthropologie néerlandophone et de donner naissance à une génération de jeunes chercheurs qui s’emparera à son tour de cette matière passionnante à étudier. Les contributions présentées dans Bérose participeront de cet effort et mettront plus particulièrement en lumière les liens féconds et les interactions entre l’anthropologie néerlandophone et les autres traditions nationales.

Thomas Beaufils

Version abrégée de Beaufils, Thomas, 2019. « Anthropologie néerlandophone : une introduction historique », in Bérose - Encyclopédie internationale des histoires de l’anthropologie, Paris.


Anthropologie des basses terres sudaméricaines

  • Sous la direction d’ ;">Isabelle Combès (IFEA, CIHA - Santa Cruz de la Sierra ; TEIAA Barcelona),  ;">Lorena Córdoba (CONICET, Buenos Aires - CIHA - Santa Cruz de la Sierra) et  ;">Diego Villar (CONICET, Buenos Aires - CIHA - Santa Cruz de la Sierra)

Depuis les premiers contacts, les « basses terres » de l’Amérique du Sud ont été définies d’une façon résiduelle, puisque l’expression désigne toutes les régions qui n’appartiennent pas aux Andes : l’immense Amazonie, le Chaco, la Patagonie, le littoral atlantique. En effet, les basses terres ont été pensées comme une sorte d’image en négatif du tableau que les sociétés andines présentaient aux conquistadores : à l’instar de l’Amérique Centrale, avec leurs rois et leurs nobles, leurs armées nombreuses, leurs excédents productifs et leurs constructions monumentales, les Andes et ses habitants offraient une image exotique, certes, mais aussi plus compréhensible ou, pour le moins, plus facile à identifier : l’image d’un État consolidé, de peuples agriculteurs et sédentaires, avec une certaine densité démographique, était plus familière aux Européens. Il n’est donc pas étonnant que, pour tenter de comprendre les peuples qui vivaient à l’Est des Andes, au-delà du piémont, les observateurs européens aient le plus souvent recyclé les préjugés, les catégories génériques et les stéréotypes de sauvagerie ou de barbarie qui étaient ceux des Andins eux-mêmes, et aient pensé les peuples des basses terres à partir du prisme réducteur des « Anti », des « Chuncho » ou des « Chiriguano » – tous des termes génériques et méprisants, équivalents de nos « sauvages » ou nos « barbares ».

Une large part de cette imagerie de l’altérité – dont le paradigme le plus achevé est peut-être la proto-ethnographie jésuite de José de Acosta (1540-1600), ou celle de Martin Dobrizhoffer (1717-1791) – a subsisté dans les observations accumulées par les missionnaires, les naturalistes, les fonctionnaires, les aventuriers et les explorateurs qui, à l’époque coloniale et ensuite au XIXe siècle après les Indépendances sud-américaines, et pour diverses raisons, pénétrèrent dans les terres amérindiennes et consignèrent leur expérience par écrit. Ce faisant, consciemment ou pas, ces personnages se sont convertis en ancêtres de l’anthropologie et de l’ethnohistoire des basses terres de l’Amérique du Sud. Cependant, l’opposition canonique entre la « civilisation » andine (associée en bloc à la complexité et la différenciation sociale, la centralisation et la hiérarchie) et la « barbarie » des basses terres (associée à la simplicité, l’atomisation, l’autarchie ou l’égalitarisme) n’est pas le seul préjugé qui ait marqué l’exégèse coloniale de l’altérité sud-américaine. Au-delà de la reconnaissance de l’exubérance de l’environnement naturel et de la diversité du paysage indigène des basses terres – familles linguistiques d’une surprenante étendue, des centaines de langues et un patrimoine culturel extrêmement polychrome –, l’œuvre des ancêtres « classiques » de l’ethnologie sud-américaine, tels que Erland Nordenskiöld (1877-1932), Karl von den Steinen (1855-1929), Curt Nimuendajú (1883-1945), Alfred Métraux (1902-1963), montre que d’autres préjugés notoires ont subsisté plus ou moins fortement. On pense aux théories évolutionnistes implicites, aux explications par la diffusion de traits culturels ou bien à un certain penchant typologique, pour ne rien dire de certaines idéalisations utopiques : le communisme primitif, le bon sauvage, la petite communauté, les Natürvolker, l’indigène écologique.

Une fois consolidée la professionnalisation institutionnelle de la discipline anthropologique au cours de la première moitié du XXe siècle, particulièrement en Europe et aux États-Unis, la sédimentation thématique a poursuivi sa dérive singulière. L’icône de la canonisation est sans doute la grandiose synthèse imposée par le Handbook of South American Indians (1946-1950) édité par Julian Steward (1902-1972), avec son écologie culturelle (qui recycle des clefs thématiques dont nous pourrions trouver l’origine dans la proto-ethnographie jésuite) : la classification de l’Amérique du Sud en « aires culturelles », l’environnement considéré comme un facteur limitant de l’adaptation humaine, et les niveaux évolutifs conséquents d’intégration sociale. Suite au bond heuristique provoqué, vingt ans après, par les cryptiques Mythologiques (1964-1971) de Claude Lévi-Strauss (1908-2009), la construction du canon anthropologique a donné lieu à une sorte d’explosion exponentielle des études consacrées aux basses terres de l’Amérique du Sud dans le dernier quart du XXe siècle : surgit ainsi un nouvel imaginaire anthropologique des basses terres, caractérisé par la diversité écologique mais aussi par la variabilité de son histoire et sa complexité sociale, linguistique et ethnique, par la recherche d’une synergie entre les explications structurelles et historiques et par la préférence – plus programmatique que réelle – pour la synthèse interdisciplinaire. Dans ce nouveau paysage, les lectures évolutives, fonctionnalistes ou structuralistes ont dû apprendre à cohabiter avec les études sur l’ethnogenèse et l’ethnicité, avec l’anthropologie historique, avec la critique déconstructionniste de l’anthropologie postmoderne, les études de genre, les études postcoloniales et jusqu’à la mode actuelle de l’ontologie, tout en intégrant progressivement les chercheurs indigènes eux-mêmes qui transcendent avec de plus en plus de succès les réseaux de l’intermédiation interculturelle.

Loin de la raison monochromatique et insulaire attribuée aux essentialismes, cherchant à éviter les explications métonymiques qui réduisent la complexité sociale à des formules mono-causales (l’environnement, l’altérité constituante, l’État, la cosmologie), l’analyse contemporaine en appelle chaque jour davantage à un imaginaire qu’imposent les réalités fluides de l’hybridation, du métissage ou du multilinguisme. Il semble aussi que l’opposition entre les basses et les hautes terres comme des univers indépendants, voire antagoniques, appartienne au passé. Dans ce contexte inédit, l’anthropologie des basses terres continue à gagner du terrain dans l’arène généraliste, en osant même reconstruire certains des anciens ponts comparatifs avec l’Amérique Centrale, l’Amérique du Nord, la Mélanésie ou le Nord de l’Asie. Il lui faut, en même temps, élucider sa propre hétérogénéité interne, puisqu’évidemment les Guyanes ne sont pas le Chaco ni le Mato Grosso, le bassin du Río de la Plata ou la Patagonie. Et il reste, enfin, à faire la lumière sur toute une gamme de nuances épistémologiques générées par la géopolitique académique : le résidu colonial dans la doctrine de la discipline, ou le poids respectif des académies et des écoles nationales, des réseaux scientifiques, voire des langues sud-américaines elles-mêmes pour modeler les problèmes anthropologiques.

Dans un univers de professionnalisation et de globalisation croissantes, qui produit une bibliographie pratiquement démesurée, le thème de recherche « Anthropologie des basses terres de l’Amérique du Sud » cherche à retracer collectivement le processus de formation historique des lignages disciplinaires, des axes thématiques et de leurs respectives hétérodoxies, en s’intéressant autant à la vie, à l’œuvre et aux contextes de travail et de production des auteurs reconnus qu’à ceux d’autres figures oubliées ou méconnues de l’anthropologie. Notre désir est de reconstruire une généalogie la plus plurielle possible des individus, des réseaux, des tendances et des institutions qui ont contribué à modeler nos connaissances et nos regards actuels sur les basses terres sud-américaines.

Isabelle Combès
Lorena Córdoba
Diego Villar


Histoire de l’anthropologie colombienne

  • Sous la direction d’ ;">Aura Lisette Reyes (Colciencias-Université Nationale de Colombie, ICANH)

Anthropologies et constructions nationales à partir de Cuba et d’Haïti (1930-1990)

  • Sous la direction de  ;">Kali Argyriadis (IRD, Université Paris-Diderot, URMIS) et  ;">Maud Laëthier (IRD, Université Paris-Diderot, URMIS)

Jhon Picard Byron (Université d’État d’Haïti, LADIREP)
Lázara Y. Carrazana (Instituto Cubano de Antropología)
Emma Gobin (Université Paris 8, LAVUE)
Niurka Núñez González (Instituto Cubano de Investigación Cultural Juan Marinello)


Ce thème de recherche propose d’aborder l’histoire comparée de l’anthropologie sociale et culturelle de Cuba et d’Haïti entre les années 1930 et les années 1970, période charnière au cours de laquelle la discipline se consolide et s’institutionnalise dans ces deux pays. Il s’intéresse plus particulièrement aux liens établis à cette époque entre pensée anthropologique et processus de construction d’identités nationales et culturelles dans les contextes haïtien et cubain. Si le XIXe siècle et les premières décennies du XXe ont fait l’objet de précieux travaux, cette période plus tardive reste encore, sous plusieurs aspects, à analyser.

Initialement entamée en Haïti (dans le cadre du projet L’ethnologie en Haïti : Écrire l’histoire de la discipline pour accompagner son renouveau, JEHAI IRD/FE-UEH) et à Cuba (dans le cadre du projet L’anthropologie sociale à Cuba. Reconstruire le passé pour cimenter le futur, JEAI IRD/ICIC/ICAN), puis en France, au sein du laboratoire LMI MESO (https://meso.hypotheses.org), cette recherche a donné lieu à des premières réflexions, notamment contenues dans l’ouvrage Cuba-Haïti : Engager l’anthropologie. Anthologie critique et histoire comparée (1884-1959) (Argyriadis, Gobin, Laëthier, Núñez González & Byron, 2020).

En nous focalisant sur la période des années 1930 à 1970, nous entendons poursuivre l’analyse des différentes modalités sous lesquelles les ethnologies « de soi », « pour soi » et « pour l’Autre » entendent réaffirmer une « identité culturelle nationale » qui légitime et finalement institue certains objets (la race, la nation, les pratiques religieuses, le folklore, le monde rural) en « signes culturels ». Ces années cruciales sont marquées par des figures singulières, des textes précurseurs et des débats originaux qui sont aujourd’hui bien documentées pour ce qui concerne le développement de la discipline à une échelle nationale, mais qui restent peu appréhendées à partir de leur importance dans les débats anthropologiques régionaux et internationaux.

La mise en perspective des études produites à et sur Haïti et Cuba vise à éclairer les processus variables de circulation de personnes, d’idées, de paradigmes, de concepts qui ont engagé des jeux d’influence entre ces « anthropologies nationales » et les autres (américaines et européennes principalement). Ces décennies sont effectivement marquées par les déplacements (en France, aux États-Unis, au Mexique) de nombreux intellectuels cubains et haïtiens engagés dans la lutte contre leurs gouvernements respectifs puis, à partir des années 1940, par ceux de nombreux intellectuels européens vers les Amériques, pour lesquels Haïti et Cuba vont constituer des champs d’études privilégiés.

Le propos est d’analyser l’émergence de réseaux intellectuels, institutionnels, politiques, parfois militants, nationaux et internationaux ainsi que l’étude des parcours de certaines figures, qui se construisent à la fois à l’intermédiation entre plusieurs espaces géographiques, champs disciplinaires et domaines d’action (académique, politique, artistique, littéraire voire religieux). Leur rôle dans la diffusion du savoir anthropologique à Cuba et en Haïti, constitutif du travail de redéfinition des identités nationales et, au-delà, des catégories de l’altérité dans la région (y compris aux États-Unis), retiendra ici une attention particulière. Entre « savoir-faire ethnologique » et « faire savoir » promu par une voie politique, nous réfléchirons ainsi à l’entremêlement singulier de la pensée ethnologique et de la parole politique qui signale les contextes haïtien et cubain.


Histoire de l’anthropologie et archives ethnographiques portugaises (19e-21e siècles)

  • Sous la direction de  ;">Sónia Vespeira de Almeida (CRIA/NOVA FCSH, Lisbonne) et  ;">Rita Ávila Cachado (CIES-IUL, Lisbonne)

Le thème de recherche Histoire de l’anthropologie et archives ethnographiques portugaises (XIXe-XXIe siècles), dans le cadre de Bérose – Encyclopédie internationale des histoires de l’anthropologie –, suit la trajectoire de l’anthropologie portugaise entre les XIXe et XXIe siècles, en cherchant à identifier les protagonistes, les thèmes de recherche et les apports théoriques et méthodologiques d’une tradition savante dont les enjeux, au cours de cette période, concernaient soit la construction de la « nation », soit la construction de « l’empire », ou les deux à la fois (Stocking 1982 ; Leal 2000, 2006, 2008 ; Viegas & Pina-Cabral 2014).

Il faut préciser que la production ethnographique et proto-anthropologique du XVe au XVIIIe siècle n’est pas prise en compte dans le cadre du thème et de l’équipe de recherche. La chronologie considérée ici remonte au XIXe siècle, puis le thème de recherche porte son attention sur le XXe, sans oublier l’anthropologie portugaise contemporaine. Cet intervalle de temps peut à lui seul donner lieu à des débats importants. En fait, le colonialisme portugais – notamment l’impérialisme tardif – coïncide avec une partie fondamentale de la production anthropologique, notamment des XIXe et XXe siècles ; toutes les figures et institutions ayant contribué aux savoirs ethnographiques dans les anciennes colonies portugaises étaient confrontées aux ambiguïtés des situations coloniales. Des ambiguïtés qui, par ailleurs, perdurent d’une façon ou d’une autre et concernent aussi bien le contexte portugais que celui de ses anciennes colonies : l’Angola, le Cap-Vert, la Guinée-Bissau, le Mozambique et São Tomé-et- Príncipe ne sont devenus indépendants qu’en 1975, après la célèbre révolution des Œillets de 1974 (qui a mis fin à 48 ans de dictature au Portugal) ; Le Timor oriental obtient lui aussi son indépendance en 1975 mais, envahi par l’Indonésie, il n’accède à l’indépendance totale qu’en 2002. Les enclaves portugaises de Goa, Daman et Diu avaient, quant à elles, rejoint l’Union Indienne en 1961.

Ce défi est important parce qu’il permet à ce thème de recherche, comme d’autres dans le cadre de Bérose qui se réfèrent à des contextes anciennement colonisateurs, non seulement de rassembler des articles encyclopédiques mais aussi de problématiser et enrichir l’analyse critique en présentant différents courants et débats anthropologiques. Ainsi, ce thème de recherche cherche également à donner de la visibilité à des figures, des institutions et des publications, dont les parcours sont encore peu étudiés et qui ont contribué au développement des savoirs sur les contextes portugais ou colonisés par le Portugal à l’époque de l’occupation effective, permise par la Conférence de Berlin de 1884-1885. Il s’agit d’agréger en les problématisant aussi bien les connaissances ethnographiques que les idées anthropologiques, dans leurs différents domaines ‒ de la classification à la muséologie, du sauvetage à la comparaison, sans négliger les influences internationales, parfois les anachronismes d’une nation à la fois impériale et périphérique.

L’historiographie de l’anthropologie portugaise est unanime dans l’identification des figures centrales de cette tradition – en particulier en ce qui concerne les études sur le « peuple portugais », à la fin du XIXe siècle et au début du XXe siècle : les noms de Teófilo Braga, Adolfo Coelho, Consiglieri Pedroso, Leite de Vasconcelos et Rocha Peixoto s’imposent comme des références incontournables (Pina-Cabral 1991 ; Bastos & Sobral 2018 : 2 ; Leal 2000 : 29).

Cependant, l’anthropologue qui a fait couler le plus d’encre est sans aucun doute Jorge Dias, à l’épicentre du renouveau et de la modernisation de la discipline à partir de la seconde moitié du XXe siècle. C’est autour de lui que s’est développée une équipe remarquable d’anthropologues qui ont contribué de façon exceptionnelle à la connaissance des traditions rurales portugaises. Figure centrale du Centre d’étude de l’ethnologie péninsulaire, Jorge Dias verra son nom lié à la création, en 1965, du Musée d’ethnologie de l’outre-mer (Leal 2000 ; Pereira 1989) et à ses réorientations ultérieures ouvertes à la « représentation de toutes les cultures » (Pereira 198 : 580). Quoique de différentes manières, João de Pina-Cabral (1991), João Leal (2006), José Manuel Sobral (2007), Jorge de Freitas Branco (2014), Cristiana Bastos et José Manuel Sobral (2018) partagent l’idée que Jorge Dias est une figure fondamentale du développement de l’anthropologie portugaise, même si elle est sujette à controverse (West 2006 ; Sobral 2007).

Il faut aussi tenir compte du rôle joué par ceux que João Leal (2006) appelle les « étrangers » au Portugal, c’est-à-dire à la fois des anthropologues effectivement étrangers qui ont travaillé au Portugal à la fin des années 1970 et des anthropologues portugais rentrés au pays après la révolution du « 25 avril » 1974 après avoir fait des études universitaires ailleurs et qui ont contribué à la reformulation de la maîtrise d’anthropologie de l’Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas Ultramarinas (Institut supérieur des sciences sociales et politiques d’outre-mer) (Branco 2014 : 368). L’activité des uns et des autres a été décisive pour intégrer l’anthropologie portugaise dans les débats internationaux de la discipline.

Regarder les développements de l’anthropologie portugaise à travers l’histoire de son institutionnalisation est aussi un bon moyen d’approfondir, comme l’exige ce thème de recherche, la connaissance des contextes de production des savoirs ethnographiques et anthropologiques. Ainsi, notre intention est-elle d’aborder les pratiques des anthropologues (Sanjek 1990), en contribuant aux débats sur l’importance de la sauvegarde des matériaux ethnographiques et des archives des anthropologues (Almeida & Cachado 2016, 2019).

Des articles récents sur la tradition anthropologique portugaise, publiés dans les années 2010, cherchent aussi à rendre compte des diverses branches de la discipline qui se sont développées plus récemment. Non seulement Cristiana Bastos et José Manuel Sobral énumèrent les anthropologues de leur génération et leurs contributions respectives, mais ils abordent également la génération suivante (Bastos & Sobral 2018). Notre ambition est aussi de porter un regard historique sur l’anthropologie contemporaine, sur la production et les principaux domaines de recherche actuels. Si jusqu’au « 25 avril » 1974 l’anthropologie portugaise s’est principalement consacrée à la connaissance du pays rural, le fait est que cette tendance a perduré après la Révolution et ce jusqu’au début des années 1990. Ce n’est qu’ensuite que l’anthropologie portugaise s’est étendue aux contextes urbains (Cordeiro 2003).

En nous concentrant également sur l’anthropologie portugaise contemporaine, notre ambition est de contribuer à la connaissance des différentes façons de faire de l’anthropologie aujourd’hui, qui sont de plus en plus dispersées dans différentes universités, départements et centres de recherche.

En résumé, le thème de recherche Histoire de l’anthropologie et archives ethnographiques portugaises (XIXe-XXIe siècles) cherche à :
 ?1606141309" width=’8’ height=’11’ class=’puce’ alt="-" /> promouvoir une meilleure connaissance, tant dans les contextes lusophones qu’internationaux, de l’histoire de l’anthropologie portugaise ;
 ?1606141309" width=’8’ height=’11’ class=’puce’ alt="-" /> renforcer la sauvegarde des archives ethnographiques portugaises ;
 ?1606141309" width=’8’ height=’11’ class=’puce’ alt="-" /> contribuer à une cartographie plus large des contextes ethnographiques choisis et travaillés par les anthropologues portugais, ainsi que des méthodologies appliquées, des cadres théoriques et des contextes universitaires de production de connaissances ;
 ?1606141309" width=’8’ height=’11’ class=’puce’ alt="-" /> stimuler la publication d’articles biographiques sur des anthropologues et des ethnographes portugais ou travaillant dans les contextes portugais, ainsi que d’articles relatifs à des institutions telles que des musées, des revues scientifiques, des centres de recherche, etc.

Sónia Vespeira de Almeida
Rita Ávila Cachado

Références citées

Almeida, Sónia Vespeira & Rita Cachado, 2019. “Archiving Anthropology in Portugal”, Anthropology Today, 35 (1), p. 22-25.
Almeida, Sónia Vespeira & Rita Cachado (dir.), 2016. Os Arquivos dos Antropólogos, Lisbonne, Palavrão.
Bastos, Cristiana & José Manuel Sobral, 2018. "Portugal, Anthropology”, in H. Callan (dir.), The International, Encyclopedia of Anthropology, Online :
10.1002/9781118924396.wbiea1974
Branco, Jorge Freitas, 2014. “Sentidos da antropologia em Portugal na década de 1970", Etnográfica [Online], vol. 18 (2), consulté le 9 juillet 2014, URL : http:// etnografica.revues.org/3732 ; DOI : 10,4000/etnografica.3732
Cordeiro, Graça Índias, 2003. “A antropologia urbana entre a tradição e a prática” in Graça Índias Cordeiro, Luís V. Baptista & António F. da Costa (dir.), Etnografias Urbanas, Oeiras, Celta, p. 3-32.
Leal, João, 2000. Etnografias Portuguesas (1870-1970) : Cultura Popular e Identidade Nacional, Lisbonne, Publicações Dom Quixote.
Leal, João, 2003. “Estrangeiros em Portugal : a Antropologia das comunidades rurais portuguesas nos anos 1960”, Ler História, 44, p. 155-176.
Leal, João, 2006. Antropologia em Portugal : Mestres, Percursos, Transições, Lisbonne, Livros Horizonte.
Leal, João, 2008. "The Hidden Empire : Peasants, Nation Building, and the Empire in Portuguese Anthropology”, in S. R. Roseman & S. Parkhurst (dir.), Recasting Culture and Space in Iberian Contexts. Albany, NY, State University of New York Press, p. 35-53
Pereira, Rui, 1989. “Trinta anos de museologia etnográfica em Portugal. Breve contributo para a história das suas origens”, in F.O. Baptista, J.P. Brito & B. Pereira (dir.) Estudos de Homenagem a Ernesto Veiga de Oliveira, Lisbonne, Instituto Nacional de Investigação Científica, p. 569-580
Pina-Cabral, João, 1991. Os Contextos da Antropologia, Lisbonne, Difel.
Sanjek, Roger (dir.), 1990, Fieldnotes. The Makings of Anthropology, Ithaca, London, Cornell University Press.
Sobral, José Manuel, 2007. “O Outro aqui tão próximo : Jorge Dias e a redescoberta de Portugal pela antropologia portuguesa (anos 70-80 do século XX)”, Revista de História das Ideias, 28, p. 479-526.
Stocking, Jr., George W., 1982. “Afterword : A View from the Center”, Ethnos, 47, p. 172-186.
Viegas, Susana de Matos & João de Pina-Cabral, 2014. “Na encruzilhada portuguesa : a antropologia contemporânea e a sua história”, Etnográfica [Online], vol. 18 (2), consulté le 30 septembre 2016. URL : http://etnografica.revues.org/3694
West, Harry G., 2006. “Invertendo a bossa do camelo. Jorge Dias, a sua mulher, o seu intérprete e eu.”, A. Sanches & Manuela Ribeiro (dir.), Portugal não é uma País Pequeno. Lisbonne, Livros Cotovia, p. 141-190.


Histoire de l’anthropologie italienne

  • Sous la direction de  ;">Giordana Charuty (EPHE, IIAC)

L’anthropologie est identifiée, aujourd’hui, dans le champ universitaire italien sous une dénomination unique en Europe : les « sciences démo-ethno-anthropologiques ». Ce terme idiosyncrasique renvoie à un processus de construction historique, tantôt inscrit dans les dynamiques de formation et de circulation des savoirs à l’échelle européenne, tantôt replié dans une relative insularité. Plus qu’une date de naissance, les années 1870 sont un repère pour distinguer les deux grandes orientations dont la tension demeure prégnante jusqu’au lendemain de la Seconde Guerre mondiale. La première emprunte aux sciences naturelles un modèle de scientificité renforcé par l’adhésion au darwinisme, pour insérer l’étude des peuples italiques dans une psychologie comparée des races humaines. La seconde privilégie les sciences historiques à travers le lien avec la philologie, pour faire reconnaître dans le champ académique la nouvelle discipline qu’était le folklore. Entre ces deux foyers d’institutionnalisation et de sociabilité intellectuelle, les frontières sont d’autant moins étanches qu’ils entendent l’un et l’autre, selon des styles opposés de vie savante, exercer une fonction de définition disciplinaire, d’uniformisation et de centralisation des recherches.

S’agissant d’instituer en Italie une science naturelle de l’homme, le premier rôle revient à l’entreprise animée par Paolo Mantegazza : instaurer un dispositif qui affirme la complémentarité des sciences naturelles et des sciences historiques pour fonder une anthropologie générale sur le socle d’une anthropologie physique. L’ambition est d’articuler une multiplicité de savoirs, les uns orientés vers les critères de l’hominisation, les autres vers l’étude des cultures dans leur diversité. Les liens politiques avec les intellectuels engagés dans le Risorgimento et les liens scientifiques avec l’École anthropologique de Paris permettent d’attirer à Florence, alors capitale intellectuelle internationale du nouveau royaume, des médecins, des zoologues, des juristes, des historiens, des géographes, des orientalistes. Ils organisent des expéditions et, quelques années plus tard, ouvriront d’autres chaires à Rome et à Naples, construiront d’autres spécialisations (comme l’anthropologie criminelle de Cesare Lombroso à Turin), et d’autres musées, notamment à Rome, la nouvelle capitale de l’Italie unifiée. Ils élaborent des instruments d’enquête pour une psychologie comparée des races humaines, ils écrivent les premiers manuels d’anthropologie et d’ethnographie – au sens que prend alors ce terme pour distinguer les enquêtes conduites en Italie.

Quant à la diversité des cultures populaires italiennes, c’est en termes de « superstitions » et de « préjugés » qu’elle entre dans les champs d’intérêt de la société florentine. Parallèlement, le modèle de la philologie domine l’affirmation d’une autonomie des savoirs qui actualisent, dans le contexte italien d’unification nationale, l’étude des cultures européennes, soit dans la perspective de la mythologie comparée, soit dans celle de la science du folklore. Dans la première moitié du XIXe siècle, la collecte, la transcription, la traduction et la publication de chants et traditions narratives se sont inscrites dans la perspective romantique d’un renouveau culturel comme prémisse d’un renouveau politique. Dans une Italie divisée et occupée, il s’agissait de retrouver le bien commun qui constitue l’unité du peuple. À partir des années 1860, le transfert en contexte italien de la philologie allemande étaye la construction d’une nouvelle science en intégrant l’étude de la poésie chantée et des récits populaires pour compléter l’étude de toutes les littératures. Dans le même temps, les ambitions explicatives de la mythologie comparée assurent la transition entre philologie et ethnographie. Des noms tels que Domenico Comparetti ou Angelo De Gubernatis s’imposent.

Toutefois, c’est en Sicile, avec Giuseppe Pitrè et Salvatore Salomone-Marino, qu’en relation avec les principaux centres européens la « démologie » se construit de manière systématique – fixant pour longtemps les catégories de la vie sociale qui relèvent de son domaine – jusqu’à sa reconnaissance universitaire à Palerme, en 1911, sous le nom de « démopsychologie ». La profondeur historique de la discipline est délimitée, ses axes thématiques sont fixés : elle porte sur la vie sociale du présent un regard informé conjointement par l’évolutionnisme socioculturel d’Edward Tylor et par la mythologie comparée de Friedrich Max Müller, comme deux programmes de savoir complémentaires pour définir l’autonomie de son objet et de ses méthodes.

Bien avant et bien après la cristallisation de ces deux pôles florentin et sicilien, et parallèlement à la structuration des savoirs qu’ils mettent en place, il existe un intérêt que l’on peut qualifier d’ethnographique dans des registres de savoirs plus larges et des entreprises de transformation, progressiste ou conservatrice, des sociétés locales. Ces entreprises sont, largement, dépendantes du processus complexe d’unification politique qui distingue l’Italie au sein de l’Europe des nations. Il convient, par ailleurs, de revisiter la pluralité des conceptions du « populaire » qui s’expriment à partir des années 1880, dans les échanges entre des savants aux identités diverses, soient-ils philologues médiévistes, orientalistes ou ethnographes de l’oralité contemporaine, entre autres.

Rétablir les trajectoires existentielles et intellectuelles des figures de fondateurs ou de refondateurs, en explorant et croisant les divers fonds d’archives disponibles, conduit à repenser des moments-clés de cette histoire des savoirs de l’altérité, interne et externe, en construction permanente. Grâce à l’ouverture des archives et aux nombreuses données biographiques désormais disponibles, les historiens de la tradition « anthropologique » italienne sont également invités à repenser le statut de certaines figures, d’un Lamberto Loria à un Raffaele Pettazzoni, sans oublier des personnages moins connus, voire obscurs, par exemple des missionnaires ethnographes. Pettazzoni, à la tête de la construction scientifique d’une voie italienne d’anthropologie religieuse, nettement différenciée de la sociologie durkheimienne est, d’ailleurs, le très actif artisan d’une implantation universitaire de l’ethnologie.

Inutile de dire que le régime mussolinien accorde une remarquable reconnaissance académique à l’étude des traditions populaires, notamment par la création de trois enseignements universitaires. La rupture avec ce paradigme sera à la fois d’ordre épistémologique, idéologique et esthétique. En un mot, la chute du fascisme entraîne une conversion politique des études ethnologiques. Revisiter, en croisant plusieurs fonds d’archives, l’œuvre-vie d’Ernesto De Martino, figure perçue rétrospectivement comme fondatrice de l’ethnologie chez soi au lendemain de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, conduit à repenser les continuités et les césures produites par cette traversée de vingt ans de fascisme. Les débats sur la culture populaire à partir de l’opposition gramscienne entre hégémonie et subalternité alimentent, durant les années 1950, la mobilisation des intellectuels de gauche pour le renouvellement des valeurs et des langages expressifs. Les collectes d’ethnomusicologie, la photographie néoréaliste, la réécriture des traditions narratives par les avant-gardes littéraires sont autant de modalités de recréation du poétique.

Dans le même temps, histoire des religions et ethnologie chez soi substituent à l’essentialisation des peuples-nations, l’étude comparative des « formations de compromis » qui traversent l’histoire religieuse des sociétés méditerranéennes et celle des formations syncrétiques qui accompagnent, hors d’Europe, les mouvements de décolonisation. En créant des chaires d’histoire des religions et d’ethnologie, les universités de Bari et de Cagliari donneront tardivement une assise universitaire aux chercheurs qui, formés comme De Martino et Vittorio Lanternari (1918-2010) à l’école de Pettazzoni, imposent une voie italienne dans le champ international de l’étude des syncrétismes religieux qui dialogue, de manière privilégiée, avec les ethnologues et les sociologues français. Parallèlement à cette renaissance autochtone, de jeunes chercheurs italiens sont accueillis dans des universités étatsuniennes tandis que des chercheurs américains entreprennent des études de communautés en Italie. De ces premières confrontations va naître, dans les années 1960, une anthropologie culturelle d’inspiration nord-américaine qui prend la relève des études de communautés, souvent conduites dans les années 1950 par des chercheurs étrangers ayant, dans leur trajectoire biographique, des liens avec l’Italie. Dans le même temps, le Vatican poursuit son investissement dans la formation à l’ethnologie de ses missionnaires.

De nombreux travaux, depuis le milieu des années 1980, nous ont fait connaître les institutions, les traditions intellectuelles, les instruments de travail et les réalisations de ces multiples entreprises « démo-ethno-anthropologiques ». Leurs acquis peuvent être renouvelés, notamment dans le cadre de Bérose et du thème de recherche « Histoire de l’anthropologie italienne », par une lecture ethnographique des archives et des trajectoires biographiques, centrée sur l’interaction entre vécus de l’altérité et de l’intimité culturelles et choix des modèles qui permettent de les penser. Avec l’apport des correspondances et l’étude des revues, la reconstruction des réseaux de sociabilité professionnelle et militante au-delà du cadre national ainsi que l’attention aux mobilités individuelles permettent une approche plus fine des engagements politiques, intellectuels et culturels des savants, qu’il s’agisse d’universitaires, d’érudits ou d’amateurs. Dans une nation qui n’est pas constituée en État avant 1860, leurs alliances et leurs antagonismes dessinent de fortes polarisations régionales qui ont perduré durant près d’un siècle.

Giordana Charuty

Version abrégée de Charuty, Giordana, 2019. « Histoires croisées de l’anthropologie italienne (XIXe-XXIe siècle) », in Bérose - Encyclopédie internationale des histoires de l’anthropologie, Paris.


Histoire de l’anthropologie japonaise

  • Sous la direction d’Alice Berthon (CRJ/EHESS et CEJ/INALCO), Damien Kunik (Musée d’ethnographie de Genève) et Nicolas Mollard (Université Lyon III Jean Moulin, IETT)

Le propos du présent thème de recherche cherche à offrir un aperçu de quatre siècles de développement de la pensée anthropologique japonaise, de ses prémisses scientifiques au XVIIe siècle à ses défis les plus contemporains.

Avec l’unification du territoire national japonais au début du XVIIe siècle, le contexte de paix politique durable favorise le développement des sciences et des arts, ainsi qu’une autonomisation culturelle du pays par rapport à ses voisins. Le Japon commence à cette époque à s’interroger sur son identité face à l’altérité rencontrée çà et là lors de contacts réguliers, à répondre à la prééminence du modèle civilisationnel chinois ou au prosélytisme des missionnaires chrétiens, à mettre en scène sa centralité culturelle dans la région, à dresser l’inventaire de son patrimoine ou de ses spécificités provinciales et enfin plus généralement à constituer en science des pratiques savantes qui fleurissent, se multiplient et se spécialisent.

L’étude de ce contexte intellectuel est tout d’abord impérative pour saisir les fondements d’une anthropologie japonaise consciente d’elle-même, telle qu’elle voit le jour entre la fin du XIXe siècle et le début du XXe siècle. Ce sont en effet ces acquis qui forment le bagage intellectuel du Japon à l’arrivée dans la région de nouveaux empires concurrents, russes ou britanniques notamment. Ces derniers effraient un pays relativement isolé du monde depuis le XVIIe siècle. Néanmoins, si l’acquisition d’outils intellectuels et techniques permettant au Japon de lutter avec des moyens identiques devient une priorité gouvernementale dès que les puissances étrangères cherchent à forcer les portes du pays au milieu du XIXe siècle, il faut apprécier pleinement l’effort de réorganisation de savoirs déjà bien installés. Celui-ci étaye et oriente la volonté d’acquisition de connaissances nouvelles.

Dans un second temps, la naissance d’une anthropologie japonaise moderne s’insère dans le processus d’invention d’un jeune État-Nation, inquiété et fasciné par les luttes de pouvoir qui se jouent à ses portes. Ce n’est qu’une fois écartée la menace initiale d’une annexion du pays que l’anthropologie japonaise va formaliser son discours et ses méthodes au sein d’institutions (les universités bien sûr, mais également de nombreuses sociétés savantes indépendantes) nouvellement créées sur un modèle exogène pour répondre à armes scientifiques égales à la présence occidentale en Asie. Les rapports scientifiques entre Japon et Occident se développent considérablement entre la fin du XIXe siècle et les années 1910.

Le modèle expansionniste et impérialiste occidental va également se voir reproduit au Japon et permettre à l’anthropologie japonaise de connaître une troisième vague de développement. Dès le début du XXe siècle, l’empire colonial japonais s’étend progressivement sur l’ensemble de la région, vers Taïwan, vers la Corée, vers la Mandchourie, vers l’Asie du Sud-Est et l’Insulinde, puis vers les îles et archipels du Pacifique. De fait, jusqu’en 1945, la pratique anthropologique institutionnalisée la plus dynamique en Asie est ainsi celle d’une puissance non occidentale, le Japon.

En parallèle de cet essor de l’anthropologie japonaise de la fin du XIXe siècle à la fin de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, qui se développe dans le monde universitaire surtout, il convient de relever d’autres spécificités des sciences ethnographiques nippones : celle de la pérennité des études folkloriques, discipline parente de l’anthropologie et de l’histoire, mais soucieuse de son autonomie depuis la fin du XIXe siècle ; celle de l’importance historique des lettres et de la littérature dans le discours anthropologique ; celle d’un traitement esthétique des sujets d’étude, certains ethnologues n’ayant jamais véritablement admis une division occidentale des arts et des sciences perçue comme manichéenne ; celle d’une ethnologie pratiquée par un nombre important de chercheurs non alignés sur les présupposés méthodologiques des écoles dominantes ; celle d’une histoire muséale parfois stagnante ; ou celle encore d’un rapport complexe à ses homologues sur la scène internationale.

À l’issue de cette intense période de développement formel de l’anthropologie japonaise jusqu’à la fin de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, il est important aussi de relever la façon dont se reformulent les sciences de l’homme dans un pays militairement défait et occupé. Le Japon ayant perdu l’ensemble de son territoire colonial, le virage ethnologique postcolonial y est bien plus soudain pour cette raison précise et les mésusages des sciences de l’homme y sont plus rapidement débattus. Dans le monde universitaire, l’entreprise expansionniste est largement critiquée dès 1946 et, dès les années 1950, les nouvelles générations d’anthropologues s’inspirent du modèle américain pour donner une nouvelle direction à l’ethnologie pratiquée hors du territoire métropolitain. Sur le sol japonais, les études folkloriques gagnent en visibilité et en légitimité pour s’être peu associées au gouvernement militariste précédent (ou, tout du moins, plus subrepticement). La conjonction de ces deux facteurs permet à l’anthropologie japonaise d’après-guerre de conserver des traits particuliers tout à fait remarquables.

Durant les mêmes années, le Japon connaît un contexte de redémarrage économique rapide qui légitime de manière concomitante une nouvelle forme de fierté dans l’entreprise scientifique japonaise et assure à celle-ci des fonds de recherche importants. Cette renaissance sera finalement mise à mal par l’arrêt brutal de la période de haute croissance, qu’accompagnent plusieurs catastrophes naturelles ou humaines entre les dernières années du XXe et les premières années du XXIe siècle, et qui reconditionne une fois encore les ambitions de l’anthropologie japonaise.

Sans jamais prétendre produire un récit linéaire, nous invitons ici à isoler des fils conducteurs et des relations propres à la nature d’une pratique consciente de ses spécificités, de ses méthodes et de ses développements. Ceux-ci sont méconnus en Occident puisque l’anthropologie japonaise, quoiqu’extrêmement fertile, est peu traduite et continue aujourd’hui de produire l’essentiel de ses résultats pour une audience strictement japonaise. Notre ambition est donc de faire connaître ses figures, ses motifs et ses fondamentaux pour le bénéfice d’un lectorat non japonisant.

Alice Berthon
Damien Kunik
Nicolas Mollard

Voir aussi Berthon, Alice, Damien Kunik & Nicolas Mollard, 2019. « Brève histoire de l’ethnologie au Japon (XVIIe-XXIe siècles) », in Bérose - Encyclopédie internationale des histoires de l’anthropologie, Paris.


Histoire de l’anthropologie en Australasie (1900-2000)

  • Sous la direction de  ;">Geoffrey Gray (University of Queensland)

Horizons anthropologiques, histoires de l’ethnologie et du folklore en Turquie

  • Sous la direction de  ;">Hande Birkalan-Gedik (Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität, Institut für Kulturanthropologie und Europäische Ethnologie, Frankfurt am Main) et  ;">Abdurrahim Ozmen (Dicle Üniversitesi, Diyarbakir)

En tant que tradition « nationale » en contact avec la recherche internationale, l’anthropologie en Turquie est intéressante à explorer à partir des années 1850, alors que plusieurs concepts et théories anthropologiques d’Europe sont habilement adaptés au cas turc et entrent en interaction avec lui. Il s’agit notamment de l’évolutionnisme et du darwinisme social, du matérialisme, mais aussi, plus tard, des discours sur le nationalisme – tendances philosophiques et idéologiques dont l’élite ottomane débat dans divers milieux intellectuels. Les interactions entre la scène anthropologique européenne et celle de l’Empire ottoman ne concernent pas qu’une « théorie du voyage » ou quelque autre théorie importée ou empruntée sans réciprocité par l’État musulman. En tout état de cause, les érudits turcs devaient s’emparer de nouvelles idées scientifiques dans le contexte d’une société musulmane dirigée par le sultan ottoman, qui était en même temps le calife, c’est-à-dire le plus haut représentant de la communauté islamique. C’est particulièrement vrai à l’époque du gouvernement despotique du sultan Abdulhamid II, qui régna de 1876 à 1909, jusqu’à son renversement par les Jeunes-Turcs, mais ça l’est aussi compte tenu des développements politiques et trajectoires disciplinaires ultérieurs. Les sciences ethnologiques dans l’Empire ottoman, comme plus tard dans la République turque, s’inscrivent en effet dans une histoire politique dans laquelle divers acteurs et institutions produisent activement des connaissances anthropologiques à partir d’un habitus spécifique. Dans ce cadre, les frontières de la politique et des disciplines sont devenues extrêmement poreuses, l’intelligentsia et les dirigeants politiques travaillant main dans la main, et en facilitant le transfert de connaissances entre acteurs, sources, sites et institutions différents.

Malgré les échanges antérieurs avec l’Europe et la scène anthropologique européenne dans l’Empire ottoman, l’histoire complexe de l’anthropologie, du folklore et de l’ethnologie en Turquie n’a pas été suffisamment documentée. Il faut souligner qu’à la fin du XIXe siècle, le champ disciplinaire “anthropologique” en Turquie était surtout compris à travers des termes correspondant à l’ethnologie et à l’ethnographie. La composante ethnographique, bien qu’elle ne soit pas explicitée ouvertement, était présente à travers l’utilisation d’éléments descriptifs sur la diversité humaine, révélant une vision « cosmopolite » dont rendent compte des concepts ottomans. Quant au terme Antropolociya (anthropologie), il renvoie à l’anthropologie physique.

Avec la révolution des Jeunes-Turcs de 1908, la plupart des cadres administratifs et politiques ont adhéré au nationalisme turc (Toprak 2012), ce qui a eu un effet durable sur l’anthropologie – c’est-à-dire sur ce qu’on appelait alors l’ethnologie – la conduisant à renoncer à une vision cosmopolite, humaniste et ouverte au profit d’une vision locale, nationale et repliée sur soi. Cette grande tendance, en dépit de révisions mineures, imprime encore aujourd’hui certaines études anthropologiques. À peu près à la même époque, notamment après son institutionnalisation en 1925, l’anthropologie physique est devenue le fleuron de l’édification de la nation turque à laquelle certains anthropologues ont contribué par des arguments particuliers tels que la « théorie du langage solaire » et la « thèse de l’histoire turque », promouvant l’ethno-nationalisme linguistique ou la « supériorité de la race turque », notamment après la défaite à l’issue de la Première Guerre mondiale. Les études folkloriques ont également contribué à consolider ces affirmations et à propager, de l’intérieur, l’idée d’une nation homogène. C’est une certaine version du nationalisme qu’ont partagée ces disciplines après la révolution des Jeunes-Turcs de 1908, non sans qu’elles se divisent au sujet des types de recherche qu’elles revendiquaient comme leur étant appropriées.

Alors que la version raciste du nationalisme était le principal paradigme de l’anthropologie physique dans les années 1930, elle a commencé à décliner dans les années 1940. Curieusement, l’« ethnologie » en Turquie, utilisée au sens moderne du terme, s’est ensuite développée à partir de la branche physique de l’anthropologie pour s’affirmer à nouveau comme l’étude comparative des cultures. Ce fut le début de plusieurs trêves disciplinaires entre l’anthropologie, le folklore et l’ethnologie. Les années 1950 marquent le relâchement des liens avec l’anthropologie physique européenne, principalement les traditions française et allemande, et le déclin du paradigme raciste. À cette époque, l’anthropologie en Turquie a acquis une signification socioculturelle plus large et s’est orientée vers l’école fonctionnaliste britannique, tout en s’appuyant sur les théories de la culture britanniques, américaines et françaises (Birkalan-Gedik 2013). Cependant, le nationalisme est resté la principale source du folklore, les chercheurs se consacrant au recueil et à la publication de textes philologiques. Et aujourd’hui encore il maintient son emprise jusque sur l’anthropologie.

Dans l’Encyclopédie Bérose, le thème « Horizons anthropologiques, histoires de l’ethnologie et du folklore en Turquie » est pris dans son sens le plus large et suggère d’analyser les « horizons disciplinaires » qui englobent l’anthropologie, le folklore, l’ethnographie et l’ethnologie. Il s’agit de montrer en quoi ces trois termes, issus de généalogies et de sources différentes, ont été effectivement utilisés et contestés sur la scène turque. En outre, le cas turc appelle des analyses détaillées qui vont au-delà de la dichotomie entre anthropologies « nationales » et « impériales » (Stocking 1982). En effet, la catégorisation déductive des « grandes » traditions anthropologiques est rendue plus compliquée quand on met l’accent sur une tradition anthropologique « périphérique », quoique dynamique, sur une scène anthropologique et dans un État-nation émergent qui se sont construits mutuellement après le déclin de l’empire.

Nos thèmes :
 ?1606141309" width=’8’ height=’11’ class=’puce’ alt="-" /> Ethnographes et anthropologues : savants, amateurs, missionnaires, érudits et collectionneurs ; intellectuels historiquement liés à l’anthropologie.
 ?1606141309" width=’8’ height=’11’ class=’puce’ alt="-" /> Institutions et revues anthropologiques ; par exemple, musées ethnographiques, sociétés savantes, organismes scientifiques, universités et établissements d’enseignement supérieur ; réunions scientifiques, conférences.
 ?1606141309" width=’8’ height=’11’ class=’puce’ alt="-" /> Traditions anthropologiques, thèmes, concepts et œuvres.

Hande Birkalan-Gedik
Abdurrahim Ozmen

Voir aussi Birkalan-Gedik, Hande, 2019. “A Century of Turkish Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (v. 1850s-1950s)” , in Bérose - Encyclopédie internationale des histoires de l’anthropologie, Paris.


Réseaux, revues et sociétés savantes en France et en Europe (1870-1920)

  • Sous la direction de  ;">Claudie Voisenat (IIAC-LAHIC, Ministère de la Culture, Paris) et  ;">Jean-Christophe Monferran (IIAC-LAHIC, CNRS, Paris)

Alfonsina Bellio (IIAC-LAHIC, Paris)
Maria Beatrice Di Brizio (Laboratoire d’anthropologie sociale, Paris)
Claudine Gauthier (IIAC-LAHIC, Université de Bordeaux)
Mercedes Gómez-García Plata (CREC – Sorbonne Nouvelle)
David Hopkin (Hertford College / Faculty of History, University of Oxford)
João Leal (Universidade Nova de Lisboa)
Fañch Postic (CRBC, CNRS,rest)

L’invention de l’art populaire (1840-1857)

  • Sous la direction de  ;">Michela Lo Feudo (IIAC-LAHIC, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II)

Histoire de l’ethnomusicologie

  • Sous la direction de  ;">François Gasnault ((IIAC-LAHIC, Ministère de la Culture, Paris) et  ;">Marie-Barbara Le Gonidec (IIAC-LAHIC, Ministère de la Culture, Paris)

Histoire des rapports entre droit et anthropologie

  • Sous la direction de  ;">Frédéric Audren (CNRS - CEE / École de droit de Sciences Po) et  ;">Laetitia Guerlain (Université de Bordeaux, IRM-CAHD et CAK)

L’axe « histoire des rapports entre droit et anthropologie » de l’Encyclopédie internationale des histoires de l’anthropologie Bérose entend s’emparer des aspects normatifs de la culture, sous l’angle historique. Lier ainsi droit et anthropologie n’a rien d’évident, tant les relations entre ces deux branches du savoir sont complexes et difficiles. L’anthropologie, en effet, s’est construite dans un rapport distancié avec les catégories occidentales du droit, mais également en rejetant l’idée d’une autonomie du droit par rapport aux autres secteurs sociaux. À cet égard, le « droit », du moins tel que pourrait l’entendre un juriste, est le plus souvent absent dans les travaux des anthropologues : il peut être question de parenté, de filiation, de propriété, de pouvoir ou encore de rites (des catégories familières aux juristes), mais le concept de « droit », sa cohorte de règles, la structuration de ces dernières en systèmes et en ordres juridiques sont le plus souvent, quasi systématiquement, absents de cette production de l’anthropologie, fût-elle sociale et culturelle. Au-delà des différences nationales mais également des aires géographiques, l’anthropologie remet traditionnellement en question les évidences d’une tradition juridique particulière.

À l’inverse, le droit, tout particulièrement dans la tradition civiliste occidentale, issue du droit romain, s’attache à édicter, interpréter et appliquer un ensemble de textes normatifs. Dans cet espace normatif, le travail du juriste se pense indépendamment de toute considération culturelle, sociale ou économique. Cela ne signifie naturellement pas que le droit n’a pas des implications culturelles, sociales ou économiques mais le « bon » juriste n’a pas besoin, pour mener correctement les opérations du droit, de faire, dans son travail ou au cours de sa formation, un détour par l’anthropologie ou la sociologie. Nul besoin d’une connaissance plus fine et plus aiguë de la société, de ses spécificités et de ses besoins pour (bien) dire le droit. D’une manière exemplaire, de nombreuses facultés de droit en Europe (et tout particulièrement en France), héritières d’une tradition légaliste, n’ont jamais manifesté d’intérêt particulier pour les disciplines sociologiques et anthropologiques, qu’elles se sont efforcées de maintenir à l’extérieur de leurs murs.

Les rapports entre le droit et l’anthropologie seraient-ils condamnés à osciller entre mésentente, indifférence ou incompréhension ? Il est vrai que de nombreux juristes ont réglé cette question en lui déniant tout intérêt : l’anthropologie, ses questions et ses méthodes n’ont guère de dignité à leurs yeux et n’ont jamais été en mesure d’infléchir leurs visions du monde et leur pratique professionnelle. Les anthropologues, quant à eux, ne pouvaient complètement esquiver la dimension normative de la vie sociale, quand bien même cette dernière semblait ignorer toute instance juridique isolable ou tout corps de règles sanctionnées. Il leur a fallu, par conséquent, trouver des solutions pour penser le droit en société dans des groupes sociaux qui, justement, méconnaissent le concept de « droit ». Les uns se sont ainsi refusés à parler de droit et ont proposé une théorie du social qui ne distingue plus entre le politique, le juridique ou le religieux. D’autres réservent ce concept de droit aux sociétés disposant d’un appareil de contraintes. Les troisièmes ne séparent pas le social et le juridique et absorbent la règle de droit dans la règle sociale. Enfin, certains considèrent comme étant du droit tout ce qui produit les mêmes effets que le droit. Les stratégies des anthropologues sont multiples pour affronter cette difficile irréductibilité du droit aux relations sociales.

Certains auteurs, anthropologues et juristes, tenteront toutefois de poser les bases d’une anthropologie juridique ou chercheront à la développer, domaine de la recherche qui viendrait prendre place à côté d’une anthropologie culturelle, une anthropologie politique ou une anthropologie économique. À partir de l’œuvre d’Henry Sumner Maine (1822-1888), cette perspective connaît un succès réel dans le monde anglo-saxon, grâce aux pères de la « décennie prodigieuse » (A.-L. Kroeber) de l’anthropologie, qui lient intimement droit et anthropologie, à l’instar de Lewis Morgan, John McLennan ou encore, pour le monde germanique, Johann-Jacob Bachofen. Une telle perspective, toutefois, demeure plus modeste dans d’autres pays comme en France malgré les efforts de certains durkheimiens (Marcel Mauss, en particulier). La question de l’anthropologie des juristes ne saurait d’ailleurs se réduire à la seule institutionnalisation d’une discipline spécifique au sein des facultés de droit. Quand bien même cette discipline n’existe pas encore ou, inversement, s’effondre, les juristes ne renoncent pas pour autant à mobiliser quantité d’arguments anthropologiques dans leurs pratiques ou leurs édifices intellectuels. La question de l’homme resurgit constamment par la bande, dans les discours des juristes, à travers les catégories du droit : droit naturel, droits de l’Homme, coutume, etc.

L’axe « histoire des rapports entre droit et anthropologie » de Bérose se propose donc d’éclairer la manière dont les juristes occidentaux, tout au long des XIXe et XXe siècles (et même, incontestablement, antérieurement), ont cherché à mener des enquêtes ethnographiques, à mettre par écrit le droit coutumier, à découvrir le substrat culturel se cachant sous les règles formelles du droit, à alimenter leurs édifices intellectuels à l’aide de publications à caractère anthropologique, ou encore à élaborer des concepts propres d’anthropologie juridique. Ces différentes démarches s’effectuent le plus souvent en dehors des institutions universitaires. Le rôle des administrateurs coloniaux est bien connu. Mais, plus largement, des juristes (avocats, magistrats, professeurs) n’ont pas hésité à s’engager dans un travail d’observation pour rapporter quelques conclusions sur des institutions et des dispositions normatives dans d’autres sociétés. S’appuyant sur les réseaux et les milieux aussi bien de l’anthropologie physique que sociale, ces juristes apportent une contribution non négligeable non seulement à l’anthropologie juridique, mais également à une anthropologie générale. C’est dire qu’un certain nombre de juristes, depuis deux siècles, ont explicitement perçu ce lien entre droit et anthropologie et se sont directement saisi de la question anthropologique au cours de leurs recherches.

L’axe « histoire des rapports entre droit et anthropologie » de Bérose entend par conséquent ouvrir l’enquête sur ce processus d’émergence d’une anthropologie du droit dans toute son épaisseur historique, en proposant trois types d’entrées :

1) des entrées concernant des ethnographes, ethnologues ou anthropologues du droit, au sens très large. Il pourra s’agir d’érudits, de savants, d’administrateurs coloniaux ayant souhaité rédiger les coutumes en contexte colonial, de professeurs de droit, etc. (Henri Labouret, René Maunier, Jean Poirier, Michel Alliot, Jacques Flach, etc.)
2) des entrées concernant des institutions et revues liées à l’anthropologie du droit, comme des sociétés savantes, des congrès, des écoles, des entreprises, etc. (Coutumiers juridiques de l’Afrique occidentale française de 1939 ; collection « Études de sociologie et d’ethnologie juridiques » fondée par René Maunier ; Centre d’histoire et d’ethnologie juridiques de l’université de Bruxelles ; Laboratoire d’anthropologie juridique de Paris ; Association internationale de droit africain ; revue Nomos. Cahiers d’ethnologie et de sociologie juridique (1974), etc.)
3) des entrées liées aux thèmes, concepts et traditions en anthropologie du droit (pluralisme juridique, évolutionnisme juridique, communisme primitif, droit coutumier, etc.)

Frédéric Audren,
Laetitia Guerlain

History of French Anthropology and Ethnology of France (1900-1980)

  • Directed by Christine Laurière (IIAC-LAHIC, CNRS, Paris)

Nicolas Adell (Université Jean-Jaurès, Toulouse)
Arnauld Chandivert (Université de Montpellier, CERCE)
Thomas Hirsch (EHESS, Paris)
André Mary (IIAC-LAHIC, CNRS, Paris)
Martine Segalen (Université Paris-Nanterre)
Sylvie Sagnes (IIAC-LAHIC, CNRS, Paris)
Luis Felipe Sobral (Universidade de São Paulo, Departamento de antropologia)

History of German and Austrian Anthropology and Ethnologies

  • Directed by Laurent Dedryvère (EILA, Université de Paris, site Paris-Diderot), Jean-Louis Georget (Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris), Hélène Ivanoff (Frobenius-Institut für Kulturanthropologische Forschung an der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt), Isabelle Kalinowski (CNRS,Laboratoire Pays germaniques UMR 8547, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris) Richard Kuba (Frobenius-Institut für Kulturanthropologische Forschung an der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt), Carlotta Santini (CNRS, École Normale Supérieure) and Céline Trautmann-Waller (Université Sorbonne nouvelle-Paris 3/IUF).

Philippe Siegert (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle)

Histories of Anthropology in Brazil

  • Directed by Stefania Capone (CNRS, CéSor) and Fernanda Arêas Peixoto (Universidade de São Paulo).

There is a great diversity of anthropological practices in Brazil. They are indeed a plural reality due to the themes and fields, problems and orientations involved. While Brazilian anthropology is best known for its studies on Amerindian populations and Afro-Brazilian religions, it is not limited to these major traditions of study, but also includes urban and rural anthropology and political anthropology, among others. It is thus difficult to embrace this complex whole at a single glance and to articulate it in a single historical trajectory. To produce a unified history of anthropology in Brazil would be a misleading goal, considering its ever-challenging chronological landmarks – whether the “discovery”, in 1500, of the territory later called Brazil, or the creation of the first scientific institutions in the 19th century, or even the late emergence of universities in the 1930s, when specialities and disciplines emerged more clearly. Our choice is to reconstruct the ramifications that led to the consolidation of different research traditions by retracing matrices of thought and lines of divergence across space and time. The first challenge, in order to reflect this multiple framework, is to let this heterogeneity and complexity appear and to make these differences a compass.

The aim is to draw a map that respects the regional diversity of a country with multiple centres of intellectual production, taking into account epochal and institutional differences (museums, institutes, associations and universities), without neglecting the diversity of the actors themselves: Brazilian or foreign, male or female, black, white, mixed or Amerindian. We must take into account the border areas, the circulation between “scholarly” and “artistic” knowledge, “erudite” and “popular”, “professional” and “amateur”. All these forms are at the heart of the anthropological relationship between “researchers” and “informants”. On the one hand, the essentialization of any of these categories should be avoided; on the other hand, they are an integral part of the reflection on the history of anthropology in Brazil. Attention must also be paid to the ways in which ideas and practices circulate from one disciplinary territory to another (history, sociology, archaeology, literary studies, etc.), and even between areas defined as “scientific” and “political”.

To reconstruct the dense nature of the characters, outcomes and landscapes in this panorama of anthropologies practised in Brazil, it is important to trace both individual and collective projects and to sketch the fields in which they gravitate. Even before there were any institutional loci devoted to the training of anthropologists stricto sensu, there was a production of ethnographic or anthropological knowledge by naturalists, chroniclers, missionaries and painters, who travelled all over Brazil from the 16th century onwards. They were the first to identify and analyse some of the fundamental dimensions of the Brazilian natural landscape, social life and cultural manifestations. Then it is also necessary to take into account folklorists and other learned figures of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The generation of thinkers who produced important essays on the process of formation of the Brazilian nation in the 1920s and 1930s – such as Euclides da Cunha, Paulo da Silva Prado, Francisco José de Oliveira Vianna, Gilberto Freyre and Sérgio Buarque de Holanda – profoundly influenced anthropological studies in Brazil, but also abroad. Similarly, figures who studied in Brazilian universities, which had just been founded in the 1930s, are at the origin of seminal anthropological studies despite their roots in other disciplines. Let us add some other names from the national literary canon, such as the poets of modernism of 1922, Oswald de Andrade and Mário de Andrade, to whom we owe original theories on national culture, still fruitful for contemporary anthropology. Brazil has also been one of the privileged lands of several generations of foreign ethnographers and ethnologists who have sometimes influenced local scholarly practices, such as the Germans Karl von den Steinen and Curt Nimuendajù, or the Frenchmen Roger Bastide and Claude Lévi-Strauss.

In addition to the authors and their works, it is also necessary to highlight the various centres of production of anthropological knowledge, as well as the scientific institutions, centres and associations that have built ethnographic collections and organized training courses. Similarly, research missions, conferences and journals allow us to rediscover personalities and matrices of anthropology that have now been forgotten. This work of analysing the formation of the anthropological field cannot, of course, be done without the study of the links between Brazilian and foreign researchers, as between scholars and institutions that actually precede the institutionalization of anthropology in Brazil. In this presentation of the “Histories of Anthropology in Brazil” as a research theme, the priority of creating an intellectual mapping also allows us to highlight the historical milestones and political events that have influenced the production of knowledge in general and anthropology in particular, both in terms of its actors and its centres of activity. In other words, space and time are the parameters of this mapping of anthropologies practised in Brazil from yesterday to nowadays, which can only be understood through their international connections. Without attempting to provide an exhaustive picture or synthesis, the dossiers that enrich this research programme are intended to identify paths and trajectories that BEROSE readers will follow in the order and direction they consider most appropriate, each one in turn being free to create new links and connections between them.

Stefania Capone
Fernanda Arêas Peixoto

This presentation is an abridged version of Capone, Stefania & Fernanda Arêas Peixoto, 2019. “Anthropologies in Brazil: A Short HistoricalIntroduction”, in BEROSE - International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.


History of Dutch-speaking Anthropology

  • Directed by Thomas Beaufils (Université de Lille, IRHiS UMR CNRS 8529)
Dutch-speaking anthropology is a field of research which has been little explored by researchers in the humanities and social sciences. However, this is a considerable field of study and many archives – access to which is not easy because learning of the Dutch language is uncommon – deserve more intensive investment and exploration. The same applies to the ethnographic contexts historically related to this tradition. While some of its figures have acquired a modest reputation, it is clear that the complex geographical delimitations of these Dutch-speaking “worlds” and the abundant and sometimes nebulous terminology used to designate these territories do not promote the readability and understanding of an anthropology the logic and unity of which are very difficult to guess. Indeed, it is hard for the layman to grasp terms such as the Netherlands, the old Netherlands, the Spanish Netherlands, the Austrian Netherlands, Holland, Flanders, Flanders, French Flanders, Friesland, the Republic of the United Provinces, etc. – not to mention Belgium, whose Dutch-speaking part is not necessarily easy for everyone to distinguish from the French-speaking part.

Dutch or Flemish missionaries, administrators and travellers echoed the life habits of the populations encountered in colonial situations, as early as the establishment of trading posts in the 17th and 18th centuries. From these multiple contacts, a rich Dutch-speaking anthropology was born. In the 19th century, the Kingdom of the Netherlands constituted a vast colonial empire consisting mainly of the Dutch Indies, Suriname and the Dutch Antilles; anthropological production in the context of Belgium’s colonial expansion must also be taken into account, as must that of South Africa, considering its populations of Dutch origin. Dutch and Flemish colonial agents, scholars and writers shared their experiences and discoveries in books that were often of high quality, but which could also prove to be denigrating or subjective towards the populations studied. The birth of anthropology in Belgium and the Netherlands took place mainly in this colonial context.

Domestically, the Dutch and Flemish also undertook ethnographic studies, mainly from the 1910s onwards, to collect field data on folklore and disappearing folk traditions, replaced by modern lifestyles. The Dutch language distinguishes between Volkenkunde (ethnology of non-European civilizations) and Volkskunde (ethnology of the Netherlands and Flanders, often translated as folklore). It was also in the 1910s that another type of ethnologist appeared, such as J. P. B. de Josselin de Jong, leader of the famous Leiden anthropological school, who distanced himself from the colonial policy of the Dutch state and even took sides with the colonized populations until he became involved, intellectually speaking, in the struggle for their independence.

Since the 1950s, Dutch-speaking anthropology has no longer been limited only to former colonial and national territories, but has become very open to extremely diverse regions around the world. Many figures have marked or still mark Dutch and Belgian post-war anthropology. The end of the colonies and the profound transformation of their societies have led to a radical paradigm shift for Belgian and Dutch anthropologists, following a new post-colonial sensitivity. On the other hand, it was quite late that the discipline ceased to be a field of study exclusively reserved for a male intelligentsia. Within the framework of the research theme “History of Dutch-speaking anthropology”, BEROSE proposes that the diversity and transformations of this anthropology should be made more visible and by participating in a better delimitation of this field of study through topical files that will present ethnologists and anthropologists, the journals and institutions that constitute the history of this anthropology, as well as anthropological concepts, themes and traditions related to our core problematics.

The massive digitisation of ethnographic documents and collections, currently underway in Flanders and the Netherlands, promotes greater collaboration between researchers, research organisations, libraries and museum institutions around the world. One can only hope that this considerable effort to make documents available will make it possible to produce new research in the field of the history of Dutch-speaking anthropology and to give birth to a generation of young researchers who will in turn take up this exciting subject to study. The contributions presented in BEROSE will contribute to this effort and will highlight in particular the fruitful links and interactions between Dutch-speaking anthropology and other national traditions.

Thomas Beaufils

This presentation is an abridged version of Beaufils, Thomas, 2019.« Anthropologie néerlandophone : une introduction historique » , in BEROSE - International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.


Anthropology of the South American Lowlands

  • Directed by Isabelle Combès (IFEA, CIHA - Santa Cruz de la Sierra ; TEIAA Barcelona), Lorena Córdoba (CONICET, Buenos Aires - CIHA - Santa Cruz de la Sierra) and Diego Villar (CONICET, Buenos Aires - CIHA - Santa Cruz de la Sierra)

Since the first contacts, the “lowlands” of South America have been defined in a residual way, as the term referred to all the regions that do not belong to the Andes: the immense Amazon, the Chaco, Patagonia and the Atlantic coast. In fact, the lowlands were thought of as a sort of negative image of the picture that Andean societies presented to the conquistadores: like Central America, with its kings and nobles, its numerous armies, its productive surpluses and its monumental constructions, the Andes and its inhabitants offered an exotic image, certainly. But it was also one that was more understandable or, at the very least, easier to identify: the image of a consolidated state, of farming and sedentary peoples, with a certain demographic density, and more familiar to Europeans. Therefore it is not surprising that in trying to understand the peoples who lived east of the Andes, beyond the Piedmont, European observers most often recycled the prejudices, generic categories and stereotypes of savagery or barbarity that were held by the Andean peoples themselves, who thought of the peoples of the lowlands through the reductive prism of the “Anti”, the “Chuncho” or the “Chiriguano” – all generic and contemptuous terms, equivalent to our “savages” or “barbarians”.

A large part of this imagery of otherness – whose most complete paradigm is perhaps the Jesuit proto-ethnography of José de Acosta (1540-1600), or that of Martin Dobrizhoffer (1717-1791) – has survived in the observations accumulated by missionaries, naturalists, government officials, adventurers and explorers. During the colonial era and then in the 19th century after the South American Independencies, they entered Native American lands for various reasons and recorded their experiences in writing. In doing so, consciously or unconsciously, these characters became the ancestors of South American lowland anthropology and ethnohistory. However, the canonical opposition between Andean “civilization” (associated en bloc with complexity and social differentiation, centralization and hierarchy) and lowland “barbarism” (associated with simplicity, atomization, autarchy or egalitarianism) is not the only prejudice that marked the colonial exegesis of South American otherness. Beyond the recognition of the exuberance of the natural environment and the diversity of the indigenous landscape of the lowlands – linguistic families of a surprising extent, hundreds of languages and an extremely polychrome cultural heritage – the work of the “classical” ancestors of South American ethnology, such as Erland Nordenskiöld (1877-1932), Karl von den Steinen (1855-1929), Curt Nimuendajú (1883-1945) or Alfred Métraux (1902-1963), shows that other notorious prejudices have persisted to a greater or lesser extent. One thinks of implicit evolutionary theories, explanations by the diffusion of cultural traits, or a certain typological inclination, not to mention certain utopian idealizations: primitive communism, the good savage, the small community, the Natürvolker and the ecological indigenous peoples.

Once the institutional professionalization of the discipline of anthropology was consolidated during the first half of the 20th century, particularly in Europe and the United States, thematic sedimentation continued its singular drift. The icon of canonization is undoubtedly the Handbook of South American Indians (1946-1950) edited by Julian Steward (1902-1972): the classification of South America into “cultural areas”, the environment considered as a limiting factor of human adaptation, and the consequent evolutionary levels of social integration. Following the heuristic leap caused, twenty years later, by the cryptic Mythologiques (1964-1971) of Claude Lévi-Strauss (1908-2009), the construction of the anthropological canon gave rise to a kind of exponential explosion of studies devoted to the lowlands of South America: a new anthropological imaginary of the lowlands emerged in the last quarter of the twentieth century, characterized by the search for synergy between structural and historical explanations and by the preference for interdisciplinary synthesis. In this new landscape, classic readings have had to learn to coexist with studies of ethnogenesis and ethnicity, with historical anthropology and with the deconstructionist critique of postmodern anthropology, gender studies, postcolonial studies and even the current fashion of the ontological turn, while gradually integrating indigenous scholars themselves.

Contemporary analysis increasingly calls upon an imagination that imposes the fluid realities of hybridization, crossbreeding or multilingualism. It also seems that the opposition between the lowlands and the highlands as independent, even antagonistic universes belongs to the past. Lowland anthropology continues to gain ground in the generalist arena, even daring to rebuild some of the ancient comparative bridges, while elucidating internal heterogeneity. And finally, light remains to be shed on a whole range of epistemological nuances generated by academic geopolitics. In a world of increasing professionalisation and globalisation, the research theme “Anthropology of the Lowlands of South America” seeks to retrace the process of historical formation of disciplinary lineages, thematic axes and their respective heterodoxies, taking as much interest in the life, work and production contexts of renowned authors as in those of other forgotten or little-known figures in anthropology. Our desire is to reconstruct a plural genealogy of the individuals, networks, trends and institutions that have contributed to shaping subdisciplinary knowledge and current views of the South American lowlands.

Isabelle Combès
Lorena Córdoba
Diego Villar


History of Colombian Anthropology

  • Directed by Aura Lisette Reyes (Colciencias-Universidad Nacional de Colombia, ICANH)

Anthropologies and Nation Building in Cuba and Haiti (1930-1990)

  • Directed by Kali Argyriadis (IRD, Université Paris-Diderot, URMIS) and Maud Laëthier (IRD, Université Paris-Diderot, URMIS)

Jhon Picard Byron (Université d’État d’Haïti, LADIREP)
Lázara Y. Carrazana (Instituto Cubano de Antropología)
Emma Gobin (Université Paris 8, LAVUE)
Niurka Núñez González (Instituto Cubano de Investigación Cultural Juan Marinello)


The proposal of this research theme is to address the comparative history of social and cultural anthropology in Cuba and Haiti between the 1930s and the 1970s, a pivotal period during which the discipline was consolidated and institutionalized in both countries. We are particularly interested in the connections between anthropological thought and the process of building national and cultural identities in Haitian and Cuban contexts. While the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th have been the subject of valuable work, that later period still remains to be analysed in several respects.

Initially started in Haiti (as part of the project Ethnology in Haiti: Writing the history of the discipline towards its renewal, JEHAI IRD/FE-UEH) and in Cuba (as part of the project Social Anthropology in Cuba. Reconstructing the past to cement the future, JEAI IRD/ICICIC/ICAN), then in France, within the LMI MESO laboratory), this research gave rise to initial reflections, notably contained in the book Cuba-Haïti : Engager l’anthropologie. Anthologie critique et histoire comparée (1884-1959) (Cuba-Haiti: Engaging Anthropology. Critical Anthology and Comparative History (1884-1959), Argyriadis, Gobin, Laëthier, Núñez González & Byron, 2020).

By focusing on the period from the 1930s to the 1970s, we intend to continue the analysis of the different ways in which ethnologies ’of the self’, ’for the self’ and ’for the Other’ seek to reaffirm a ’national cultural identity’ which legitimises and ultimately institutes certain objects as ’cultural signs’: race, nation, religious practices, folklore, the rural world. These crucial years are marked by singular figures, precursor texts and original debates which are now well documented in terms of the development of the discipline on a national scale, but which remain little understood in terms of their importance in regional and international anthropological debates.

By putting into perspective the studies produced in and on Haiti and Cuba, we aim to shed light on variable processes of circulation of people, ideas, paradigms and concepts. Our goal is to understand how these processes have led to the interplay of influences between these two ’national anthropologies’ and other anthropological traditions, mainly North American and European. These decades were indeed marked by the displacement to France, the United States and Mexico of many Cuban and Haitian intellectuals engaged in the struggle against their respective governments; then, from the 1940s onwards, by the displacement of many European intellectuals to the Americas, for whom Haiti and Cuba were to constitute favoured fields of study.

Our aim is to analyse the emergence of intellectual, institutional, political, sometimes militant, national and international networks, as well as to study the career paths of certain figures through several geographical spaces, disciplinary fields and fields of action (academic, political, artistic, literary or even religious). Their role in the dissemination of anthropological knowledge in Cuba and Haiti is part of the work of redefining national identities. Moreover, the categories of Otherness in the region (including in the United States), deserve special attention. In sum, we will reflect on the peculiar interweaving of anthropological thought and political discourse, as revealed by the Haitian and Cuban cases.


History of Portuguese Anthropology and Ethnographic Archives (19th-21st century)

  • Directed by Sónia Vespeira de Almeida (CRIA/NOVA FCSH, Lisbon) and Rita Ávila Cachado (CIES-IUL, Lisbon)

The research theme History of Portuguese Anthropology and Ethnographic Archives (19th-21st centuries), in the framework of BEROSE – International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, follows the trajectory of Portuguese anthropology between the 19th and 21st centuries. It seeks to identify its protagonists and research themes and the theoretical and methodological contributions of a learned tradition whose challenges during this period concerned the construction of the “nation”, the construction of the “empire” or both (Stocking, 1982; Leal, 2000, 2006, 2008; Viegas & Pina-Cabral, 2014).

It should be noted that ethnographic and protoanthropological production from the 15th to 18th centuries is not taken into account. The chronology considered dates back to the 19th century; the research theme then focuses on the 20th century, not forgetting contemporary Portuguese anthropology. This period alone may give rise to important debates. In fact, Portuguese colonialism – especially late imperialism – coincides with a fundamental part of anthropological production, namely in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; all the figures and institutions that contributed to ethnographic knowledge in the former Portuguese colonies were confronted with the ambiguities of colonial situations. These ambiguities, moreover, persist in one way or another, and concern both the Portuguese context and that of the former colonies: Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé and Príncipe became independent in 1975, only after the famous 1974 Carnation Revolution (which ended 48 years of dictatorship in Portugal); East Timor also became independent in 1975, but was invaded by Indonesia and only became independent again in 2002. The Portuguese enclaves of Goa, Daman and Diu were integrated into the Indian Union in 1961.

This challenge is important because it makes this research theme – like others in the context of BEROSE which refer to former colonial contexts – not only a meeting point for encyclopaedic publications, but also a platform with critical analysis of different anthropological currents and debates.

The research theme also aims to spotlight figures whose trajectories are, as yet, underexamined and who contributed to the development of knowledge about Portuguese contexts or those colonized by Portugal during the period following the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885. The same applies to institutions and publications. The aim is to aggregate and problematize both ethnographic knowledge and anthropological ideas in their different fields, from classification to museology, from salvaging ethnographic enterprises to comparison. This will be done without neglecting international influences, and taking also into account the anachronisms of a country that was both imperial and peripheral.

The historiography of Portuguese anthropology is unanimous in identifying the central figures of this tradition – particularly with regard to studies on the “Portuguese people” at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century: the names of Teófilo Braga, Adolfo Coelho, Consiglieri Pedroso, Leite de Vasconcelos and Rocha Peixoto are essential references (Pina-Cabral 1991; Bastos and Sobral 2017: 2; Leal 2000: 29).

However, the anthropologist who has caused rivers of ink to flow is undoubtedly Jorge Dias, who was at the epicentre of the renewal and modernization of the discipline in the second half of the 20th century. It was around this figure that a remarkable team of anthropologists developed, who made a unique contribution to the knowledge of Portuguese rural traditions. A central figure in the Centro de Estudos de Etnologia Peninsular (Centre for the Study of Peninsular Ethnology), Jorge Dias’ name was linked to the creation of the Museu de Etnologia do Ultramar (Overseas Museum of Ethnology) in 1965 (Leal 2000; Pereira 1989) and its subsequent reorientation towards the “representation of all cultures” (Pereira 198: 580). Although in different ways, João de Pina-Cabral (1991), João Leal (2006), José Manuel Sobral (2007), Jorge de Freitas Branco (2014), Cristiana Bastos and Sobral (2017) concur that Jorge Dias acts as a fundamental, yet not uncontroversial character (West 2006 ; Sobral 2007) in the development of Portuguese anthropology.

The role played by those whom João Leal (2006) calls “foreigners” in Portugal must also be taken into account: some were effectively foreign anthropologists who worked in Portugal in the late 1970s, but there were also Portuguese anthropologists who returned home after the Revolution of 25th April, 1974 – they had completed their university studies elsewhere and contributed to the reformulation of the master’s degree in anthropology at the Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas Ultramarinas (Higher Institute for Overseas Social and Political Sciences) (Branco 2014: 368). The activity of both groups was decisive in integrating Portuguese anthropology into international debates on the discipline.

Looking at the developments of Portuguese anthropology through the history of its institutionalization is also, as foreseen in this research theme, a good way to deepen the understanding of the contexts where ethnographic and anthropological knowledge production occurred. Thus, we intend to address anthropologists’ practices (Sanjek 1990) and contribute to the debates on the importance of safeguarding ethnographic materials and the anthropologists’ archives (Almeida & Cachado 2016, 2019).

Recent articles on the Portuguese anthropological tradition, published in the 2010s, also seek to reflect the diversity of the branches that have developed lately. Cristiana Bastos and José Manuel Sobral not only list the anthropologists of their generation and their respective contributions, but also address the next generation (Bastos and Sobral 2017). It is our ambition to provide a historical perspective on contemporary anthropology, its production and main fields of current research. While Portuguese anthropology focused mainly on the rural country until 25th April, 1974, the fact is that this trend continued after the revolution and into the early 1990s. It is only from the 1990s on that Portuguese anthropology broached urban contexts (Cordeiro 2003). By also focusing on contemporary Portuguese anthropology, our ambition is to contribute to the knowledge of the different ways of doing anthropology today, which are increasingly disperse in different universities, departments and research centres.

In short, the research theme History of Anthropology and Portuguese Ethnographic Archives (19th-21st centuries) seeks to:
- Foster better knowledge, both in Portuguese-speaking and international contexts, of the history of Portuguese anthropology;
- Strengthen the safeguarding of Portuguese ethnographic archives;
- Contribute to a broader mapping of the ethnographic contexts chosen and worked on by Portuguese anthropologists, as well as the methodologies, theoretical frameworks and academic settings for knowledge production;
- Stimulate the production of biographical articles on Portuguese anthropologists and ethnographers or those working in Portuguese contexts, as well as articles relating to institutions such as museums, scientific journals or research centres.

Sónia Vespeira de Almeida
Rita Ávila Cachado

References cited

ALMEIDA, Sónia Vespeira; CACHADO, Rita, 2019, “Archiving Anthropology in Portugal”, Anthropology Today, 35 (1), pp. 22-25.
ALMEIDA, Sónia Vespeira; CACHADO, Rita, 2016, Os Arquivos dos Antropólogos, Lisbon, Palavrão.
BASTOS, Cristiana; SOBRAL, José Manuel, 2018, “Portugal, Anthropology in”. In H. Callan (ed.), The International, Encyclopedia of Anthropology, doi: 10.1002/9781118924396.wbiea1974
WHITE, Jorge Freitas, 2014, “Sentidos da antropologia em Portugal na década de 1970”, Etnográfica [Online], vol. 18 (2), accessed July 09, 2014, URL: http:// etnografica.revues.org/3732; DOI: 10,4000/etnografica.3732
CORDEIRO, Graça Índias, 2003, “A antropologia urbana entre a tradição e a prática” in Graça Índias Cordeiro, Luís V. Baptista & António F. da Costa (Org.), Etnografias Urbanas, Oeiras, Celta: 3-32
LEAL, João, 2000, Etnografias Portuguesas (1870-1970): Cultura Popular e Identidade Nacional, Lisbon, Publicações Dom Quixote
LEAL, João, 2003, “Estrangeiros em Portugal: a antropologia das comunidades rurais portuguesas nos anos 1960”, Ler História, 44, pp. 155-176.
LEAL, João, 2006, Antropologia em Portugal: Mestres, Percursos, Transições, Lisbon, Livros Horizonte
LEAL, João, 2008, “The Hidden Empire: Peasants, Nation Building and the Empire in Portuguese Anthropology”. In S. R. Roseman & S. Parkhurst (eds.), Recasting Culture and Space in Iberian Contexts. Albany, NY, State University of New York Press, pp. 35-53
PINA-CABRAL, João, 1991, Os contextos da antropologia, Lisboa, Difel
SANJEK, Roger (ed.), (1990), Fieldnotes. The makings of Anthropology, Ithaca and London, Cornell University Press
SOBRAL, José Manuel, 2007, “O Outro aqui tão próximo: Jorge Dias e a redescoberta de Portugal pela antropologia Portuguesa (anos 70-80 do século XX)”, Revista de História das Ideias, 28, pp. 479-526.
STOCKING, Jr., George W., 1982, “Afterword: A View from the Center”, Ethnos, 47, pp. 172-186
VIEGAS, Susana de Matos; PINA-CABRAL, João de, 2014, “Na encruzilhada portuguesa: a antropologia contemporânea e a sua história”, Etnográfica [Online], vol. 18 (2), Accessed 30 September 2016. URL: http://etnografica.revues.org/3694
WEST, Harry G., 2006, “Invertendo a Bossa do Camelo. Jorge Dias, a sua mulher, o seu intérprete e eu”, In Sanches, Manuela Ribeiro (eds.), Portugal não é um país pequeno. Lisbon, Livros Cotovia, pp. 141-190


History of Italian Anthropology

  • Directed by Giordana Charuty (EPHE, IIAC)

Anthropology is now identified in the Italian academic field under a name which is unique in Europe: “demo-ethno-anthropological sciences”. This idiosyncratic term refers to a process of historical construction, whether within the dynamics of knowledge formation and circulation on a European scale or withdrawn into relative insularity. More than a date of birth, the 1870s were a landmark in distinguishing the two main orientations that somehow remained in conflict, albeit in creative ways, until after the Second World War. The first borrowed a model of scientificity from the natural sciences which was reinforced by adherence to Darwinism in order to insert the study of the Italic peoples into a comparative psychology of the human race. The second favoured the historical sciences through their link with philology in order for the new discipline of folklore to be recognized in the academic field. Between these two centres of institutionalization and intellectual sociability, the boundaries are all the more tenuous as, following opposing styles of scholarly life, they both claimed the rights to the definition of the discipline, standardization and centralization of research.

With regard to the establishment of a natural science of man in Italy, the enterprise led by Paolo Mantegazza had a primary role: to affirm the complementarity of the natural and historical sciences in order to reach a general anthropology based upon physical anthropology. The ambition was to coordinate several forms of knowledge, some oriented towards criteria of hominization, others towards the study of cultures and their diversity. Political links with intellectuals involved in the Risorgimento and scientific links with the École anthropologique de Paris made it possible to attract the international intellectual capital of the new kingdom, doctors, zoologists, lawyers, historians, geographers and orientalists to Florence. They organized expeditions and, a few years later, established other chairs in Rome and Naples, created other specializations (such as Cesare Lombroso’s criminal anthropology in Turin), and other museums, including one in Rome, the new capital of unified Italy. They developed survey instruments for a comparative psychology of human races and wrote the first manuals of anthropology and ethnography – in the sense that this term then took on to distinguish the surveys conducted in Italy.

As for the diversity of Italian folklore, it entered the fields of interest of Florentine society in terms of “superstitions” and “prejudices”. At the same time, the philological model dominated the process of affirming the autonomy of the study of European cultures in the Italian context of national unification, either from the perspective of comparative mythology or from that of the science of folklore. In the first half of the 19th century, the collection, transcription, translation and publication of songs and oral traditions were part of the romantic perspective of cultural renewal as a premise for political renewal. In a divided and occupied Italy, it was a question of rediscovering the common heritage that constituted unity of the people. From the 1860s onwards, the transfer of German philology to the Italian context supported the construction of a new science by integrating the study of sung poetry and folk narratives to complete the study of all literatures. At the same time, the explanatory ambitions of comparative mythology ensured the transition between philology and ethnography. Names such as Domenico Comparetti or Angelo De Gubernatis are obvious references.

However, it was in Sicily, with Giuseppe Pitrè and Salvatore Salomone-Marino, that “demology” was systematically constructed in relation to the main European centres – setting the categories of social life that fell within its domain for a long time until its university recognition in Palermo, in 1911, under the name of “demopsychology”. The historical depth of the discipline was delimited and its thematic axes were fixed: it focused on the social life of the present, a view informed jointly by Edward Tylor’s sociocultural evolutionism and Friedrich Max Müller’s comparative mythology, as two complementary knowledge programmes to define the autonomy of its object and methods.

Long before and long after the crystallization of these two Florentine and Sicilian poles, and in parallel with the structuring of knowledge they put into place, there is an interest that can be described as ethnographic in a broader sense, within progressive or conservative institutions in local societies. These are, to a large extent, dependent on the complex process of political unification that distinguishes Italy within the Europe of nations. It is also necessary to revisit the plurality of conceptions of “folk” or “popular” that have been expressed since the 1880s, in exchanges between scholars with diverse identities, whether they were medieval philologists, orientalists or ethnographers of contemporary oral tradition, among others.

Restoring the existential and intellectual trajectories of the figures of founders or re-founders by exploring and crossing the various archival collections available leads to a rethinking of key moments in this history of the knowledge of Otherness, internal and external, under continuous construction. Thanks to the opening of the archives and the amount of biographical data now available, historians of the Italian “anthropological” tradition are also invited to rethink the status of certain figures, from Lamberto Loria to Raffaele Pettazzoni, without forgetting lesser-known, even obscure, characters, for example ethnographer-missionaries. Pettazzoni, at the head of the scientific construction of an Italian path of religious anthropology which was clearly differentiated from Durkheimian sociology was, moreover, the very active craftsman of a university establishment of ethnology.

Needless to say, the Mussolini regime gave remarkable academic recognition to the study of folk traditions, notably through the creation of three university courses. The break with this paradigm was to be epistemological, ideological and aesthetic. In a word, the fall of fascism led to a political conversion of ethnological studies. Revisiting, by crossing several archival collections, the life work of Ernesto De Martino, a figure retrospectively perceived as the founder of ethnology at home after the Second World War, leads us to rethink the continuities and breaks produced by the twenty-year journey of fascism. The debates on folk culture based on the Gramscian opposition between hegemony and subordination fuelled the mobilization of left-wing intellectuals in the 1950s for the renewal of values and expressive languages. Ethnomusicology collections, neo-realistic photography and the rewriting of narrative traditions by literary avant-gardes are all ways of recreating poetics.

At the same time, the history of religions and ethnology at home replaced the essentialization of nations/peoples with a comparative study of the “compromise formations” that run through the religious history of Mediterranean societies, but also of the syncretic formations that accompany decolonization movements outside Europe. Chairs were created in the history of religions and ethnology at the universities of Bari and Cagliari, which belatedly gave a university foundation to a number of researchers. Those, like De Martino and Vittorio Lanternari (1918-2010), who trained at the Pettazzoni school built an Italian path in the international field of the study of religious syncretisms, a path that maintained a privileged dialogue with French ethnologists and sociologists. In parallel with this renaissance, several young Italian researchers were hosted at American universities while American researchers undertook community studies in Italy. In the 1960s, these first encounters gave rise to a North American-inspired cultural anthropology that took over from community studies, often conducted in the 1950s by foreign researchers with links to Italy in their biographical careers. At the same time, the Vatican continued to invest in ethnological training for its missionaries.

Since the mid-1980s, much work has made us aware of the institutions, intellectual traditions, working tools and achievements of these many “demo-ethno-anthropological” enterprises. These historiographic achievements can be renewed, particularly in the context of BEROSE and the research theme “History of Italian Anthropology”, through an ethnographic reading of the archives and biographical trajectories. It is centred on the interaction between, on the one hand, the experience of cultural Otherness and intimacy, and, on the other hand, the choice of models that allow them to be thought upon. The study of correspondence and anthropological journals may be combined with the reconstruction of networks of professional and militant sociability beyond the national framework. Along with the attention paid to individual mobility, they allow a more detailed approach to the political, intellectual and cultural commitments of scientists, whether academics, scholars or amateurs. In a nation that was not constituted as a state until 1860, the alliances and antagonisms between all these actors drew strong regional polarizations that lasted for nearly a century.

Giordana Charuty

This presentation is an abridged version of Charuty, Giordana, 2019.« Histoires croisées de l’anthropologie italienne (XIXe-XXIe siècle) » , in Bérose - Encyclopédie internationale des histoires de l’anthropologie, Paris.


History of Japanese Anthropology

  • Directed by Alice Berthon (CRJ/EHESS & CEJ/INALCO), Damien Kunik (Musée d’ethnographie de Genève) and Nicolas Mollard (Université Lyon III Jean Moulin, IETT)

The purpose of this research theme is to provide an overview of four centuries of development of Japanese anthropological thought, from its scientific premises in the seventeenth century to its most contemporary challenges.

With the unification of Japan’s national territory at the beginning of the seventeenth century, the context of lasting political peace favoured the development of science and the arts, as well as the cultural empowerment of the country in relation to its neighbours. At that time, Japan began to question its identity in the face of the otherness encountered here and there during regular contacts, to respond to the pre-eminence of the Chinese civilizational model or to the proselytism of Christian missionaries, to stage its cultural centrality in the region, to draw up an inventory of its heritage or its provincial specificities, and finally, more generally, to establish scholarly practices in science that flourished, multiplied and specialized.

The study of this intellectual context is imperative first of all to grasp the foundations of a self-aware Japanese anthropology, as it emerged between the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century. It is indeed these achievements that formed Japan’s intellectual framework when new competing empires, the Russian or British in particular, arrived in the region. These frightened a country that had been relatively isolated from the world since the seventeenth century. Nevertheless, if the acquisition of intellectual and technical tools enabling Japan to fight with identical means became a government priority as soon as foreign powers sought to force their way into the country in the mid-nineteenth century, the effort to reorganize knowledge that was already well established must be fully appreciated. It supported and guided the willingness to acquire new knowledge.

Secondly, the birth of modern Japanese anthropology was part of the process of inventing a young nation-state, worried and fascinated by the power struggles that were being played out on its doorstep. It was only once the initial threat of the country’s annexation had been averted that Japanese anthropology would formalize its discourse and methods within institutions (universities, of course, but also many independent learned societies) newly created on an exogenous model to respond on equal scientific footing to the Western presence in Asia. Scientific relations between Japan and the West developed considerably between the end of the nineteenth century and the 1910s.

The Western expansionist and imperialist model would also be replicated in Japan and would allow Japanese anthropology to experience a third wave of development. From the beginning of the twentieth century, the Japanese colonial empire gradually extended over the entire region, towards Taiwan, Korea, Manchuria, South-East Asia and Insulinde, then towards the islands and archipelagos of the Pacific. Indeed, until 1945, the most dynamic institutionalized anthropological practice in Asia was that of a non-Western power, Japan.

In parallel with this development of Japanese anthropology from the end of the nineteenth century to the end of the Second World War, which was mainly in the academic world, other specificities of Japanese ethnographic sciences should be noted: the continuity of folk studies, a discipline related to anthropology and history, but concerned about its autonomy since the end of the nineteenth century; that of the historical importance of letters and literature in anthropological discourse; an aesthetic treatment of the subjects of study, as some ethnologists have never really accepted a Western division of arts and sciences perceived as Manichaean; an ethnology practised by a significant number of researchers not aligned with the methodological presuppositions of the dominant schools; a museum history that is sometimes stagnant; or a complex relationship with its counterparts on the international scene.

At the end of this intense period of formal development of Japanese anthropology until the end of the Second World War, it is also important to note the way in which the human sciences were reformulated in a country that was militarily defeated and occupied. Japan having lost its entire colonial territory, the postcolonial ethnological shift is much more sudden for this very reason and the misuses of the human sciences are more quickly debated. In the academic world, the expansionist enterprise was widely criticized as early as 1946 and, as early as the 1950s, a new generation of anthropologists was inspired by the American model to give a new direction to ethnology practised outside the metropolitan territory. On Japanese soil, folk studies were gaining visibility and legitimacy for having little association with the previous militaristic government (or, at least, more surreptitiously). The combination of these two factors allowed post-war Japanese anthropology to retain some very remarkable features.

During the same years, Japan was experiencing a rapid economic recovery which, at the same time, legitimized a new form of pride in the Japanese scientific enterprise and provided it with significant research funds. This rebirth would eventually be undermined by the abrupt end of the period of high growth, which was accompanied by several natural and human disasters between the last years of the twentieth and the first years of the twenty-first century, and which once again reconfigured the ambitions of Japanese anthropology.

Without ever claiming to produce a linear narrative, we aim here to isolate the threads and relationships that are specific to the nature of a practice conscious of its specificities, methods and developments. These are little known in the West since Japanese anthropology, although extremely fertile, is little translated and continues today to produce most of its results for a strictly Japanese audience. Our ambition is therefore to make its figures, motives and fundamentals known for the benefit of a non-Japanese readership.

Alice Berthon
Damien Kunik
Nicolas Mollard

See also Berthon, Alice, Damien Kunik & Nicolas Mollard, 2019. « Brève histoire de l’ethnologie au Japon (XVIIe-XXIe siècles) », in BEROSE - International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.


History of Anthropology in Australasia (1900-2000)

  • Directed by Geoffrey Gray (University of Queensland)

Anthropological Horizons, Histories of Ethnology and Folklore in Turkey

  • Directed by Hande Birkalan-Gedik (Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität, Institut für Kulturanthropologie und Europäische Ethnologie, Frankfurt am Main) and Abdurrahim Ozmen (Dicle Üniversitesi, Diyarbakir)

As a “national” tradition attuned to international scholarship, anthropology in Turkey is of interest to explore from the 1850s, when several anthropological concepts and theories from Europe were skillfully adapted to and came into interaction with the Turkish case. These include social Darwinism and evolutionism and materialism, but also, later, discourses on nationalism – philosophical and ideological trends which the Ottoman elite discussed in a variety of intellectual circles. The interactions between European anthropological landscape and that of the Ottoman Empire were more than ‘travelling theory’ or theory travelling one way to the Muslim State. In any case, Turkish scholars had to navigate new scientific ideas within the context of a Muslim society ruled by the Ottoman sultan, who was also the caliph, i.e. the uppermost representative of the Islamic community. This is particularly interesting when one thinks about the despotism of Sultan Abdulhamid II, who ruled from 1876 to 1909, and who was toppled by the Young Turks, but also about the later political developments and disciplinary trajectories in the following years. Ethnological sciences in the Ottoman Empire, as later in the Turkish Republic, must be understood in relation to a political history in which various actors and institutions actively produced anthropological knowledge from a specific habitus. In this framework, the borders of politics and the disciplines became extremely porous since the intelligentsia and political leaders worked hand in hand, facilitating knowledge transfer between different but interconnected actors, sources, sites and institutions.

Despite earlier interactions with Europe and the European anthropological landscape in the Ottoman Empire, the intricate and interesting history of anthropology, folklore and ethnology in Turkey have been insufficiently documented. It must be underlined that, at the end of the 19th century, anthropology in Turkey was mostly understood through terms corresponding to ethnology and ethnography. The ethnographic component, although not openly spelled out, was present through the use of descriptive elements on human diversity, revealing a “cosmopolitan” view that fitted into Ottoman concepts. As for the term Antropolociya (anthropology), it referred to physical anthropology.

With the 1908 Young Turk Revolution, most of the administration and political cadres followed Turkish nationalism (Toprak 2012), which caused a long-lasting impact on anthropology – that is, on what was then termed ethnology – taking it from a cosmopolitan, humanist and open vision to that of a local, national and introverted one. This paradigm, with minor revisions, still holds true for some anthropological studies even today. Around the same time, particularly from its institutionalization in 1925, physical anthropology became the flagship of Turkish nation-building to which certain anthropologists contributed through peculiar arguments such as the Sun-Language Theory and the Turkish History Thesis, promoting linguistic ethno-nationalism or the “superiority of the Turkish race” after defeat in the First World War. Folklore studies also helped solidify these claims and fired the idea of a homogenous nation from within. A certain version of nationalism is what connected these disciplines following the Young Turk Revolution in 1908, but on the other hand, it became a divisive factor concerning the kinds of labour and the genres that were considered appropriate within or claimed by each discipline.

While the racist version of nationalism was the leading paradigm for physical anthropology in the 1930s, it started to decline by the 1940s. Curiously, since the late 1940s, “ethnology” in Turkey, used in the modern sense, developed from the physical branch of anthropology; it meant, again, a comparative study of cultures. This was the beginning of several disciplinary truces among anthropology, folklore and ethnology. The 1950s marked the loosening of ties to continental physical anthropology, mainly the French and German traditions, and a decline in the racist paradigm. By this time, anthropology in Turkey gained a broader sociocultural meaning and was geared towards the British functionalist school, while also leaning on theories of culture from Britain, the United States and France (Birkalan-Gedik 2013). On the other hand, nationalism remained the main source of folklore, as its scholars turned to philological texts, collecting and publishing them. Actually, nationalism has not lost its effect on folklore and anthropology until the present.

Within BEROSE Encyclopedia, the theme of Anthropological Horizons, Histories of Ethnology and Folklore in Turkey is taken in its widest sense and suggests working within an “anthropological landscape” that encompasses anthropology, folklore, ethnography and ethnology. Certainly, these are different terms with different genealogies and sources, which have been effectively used and contested in this landscape. Furthermore, the Turkish case calls for detailed analyses that go beyond the dichotomy of “national” versus “imperial” anthropologies (Stocking 1982). The deductive categorization of “great” or “major” anthropological traditions have been complicated by bringing a distinct focus to a “peripheral”, albeit dynamic, anthropological tradition wherein the anthropological landscape and an emergent nation-state were mutually constructed after the decline of the empire.

Our themes
- Ethnographers and anthropologists: scholars, amateurs, missionaries, learned individuals, and collectors; intellectuals who are historically tied to anthropology.
- Anthropological institutions and journals; e.g. ethnographic museums, scholarly societies, learned societies, scientific bodies, universities, and institutions of higher education; scientific meetings, conferences.
- Anthropological traditions, themes, concepts and oeuvres.

Hande Birkalan-Gedik
Abdurrahim Ozmen

See also Birkalan-Gedik, Hande, 2019. “A Century of Turkish Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (v. 1850s-1950s)” , in BEROSE – International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.


Networks, Journals and Learned Societies in France and Europe (1870-1920)

  • Directed by Claudie Voisenat (IIAC-LAHIC, Ministère de la Culture, Paris) and Jean-Christophe Monferran (IIAC-LAHIC, CNRS, Paris)

Alfonsina Bellio (IIAC-LAHIC, Paris)
Maria Beatrice Di Brizio (Laboratoire d’anthropologie sociale, Paris)
Claudine Gauthier (IIAC-LAHIC, Université de Bordeaux)
Mercedes Gómez-García Plata (CREC – Sorbonne Nouvelle)
David Hopkin (Hertford College / Faculty of History, University of Oxford)
João Leal (Universidade NOVA de Lisboa)
Fañch Postic (CRBC, CNRS,rest)

The invention of Folk Art (1840-1857)

  • Directed by Michela Lo Feudo (IIAC-LAHIC, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II)

History of Ethnomusicology

  • Directed by François Gasnault ((IIAC-LAHIC, Ministère de la Culture, Paris) and Marie-Barbara Le Gonidec (IIAC-LAHIC, Ministère de la Culture, Paris)

History of the Relationship between Law and Anthropology

  • Directed by Frédéric Audren (CNRS - CEE / École de droit de Sciences Po) and Laetitia Guerlain (Université de Bordeaux, IRM-CAHD et CAK)

The research theme “history of the relationship between law and anthropology” of BEROSE – International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology aims to capture the normative aspects of culture from a historical perspective. Linking law and anthropology in this way is not easy, as the relationships between these two branches of knowledge are complex and difficult. Indeed, anthropology has been built on a relationship which is distanced from Western categories of law, but also rejects the idea of the autonomy of law in relation to other social sectors. In this respect, “law”, at least as a lawyer might understand it, is mostly absent from the work of anthropologists: it may be a question of kinship, filiation, property, power or rites (categories familiar to lawyers), but the concept of “law”, its cohort of rules and the structuring of these into legal systems and orders are mostly, almost systematically, absent from this production of anthropology, even the social and cultural anthropology. Beyond national differences but also geographical areas, anthropology traditionally challenges the evidence of a particular legal tradition.

On the other hand, the law, particularly in the Western civil law tradition, which originated in Roman law, seeks to enact, interpret and apply a set of normative texts. In this normative space, the work of the lawyer is thought of independently of any cultural, social or economic consideration. This does not mean, of course, that the law does not have cultural, social or economic implications, but the “good” lawyer does not need to make a detour through anthropology or sociology in his work or training in order to carry out the operations of the law correctly. There is no need for a finer and more acute knowledge of society, its specificities and needs in order to (properly) state the law. In an exemplary way, many law faculties in Europe (and particularly in France), heirs of a legalistic tradition, have never shown any particular interest in the sociological and anthropological disciplines, which they have tried to keep outside their walls.

Would the relationship between law and anthropology be condemned to oscillate between misunderstanding and indifference? It is true that many lawyers have resolved this issue by denying it has any interest: anthropology, its questions and methods have little dignity in their eyes and have never been able to influence their world views and professional practice. Anthropologists, for their part, could not completely avoid the normative dimension of social life, even though the latter seemed to ignore any isolable legal entity or any body of sanctioned rules. They therefore had to find solutions to think about law in society in social groups that, precisely, do not understand the concept of “law”. Some have thus refused to talk about law and have proposed a theory of the social that no longer distinguishes between politics, law and religion. Others reserve this concept of law for societies with a constraint system. A third faction does not separate the social and the legal and absorbs the rule of law into the social rule. Finally, some consider as law anything that produces the same effects as law. Anthropologists have many strategies to face this difficult irreducibility of law to social relations.

However, some authors, anthropologists and lawyers would lay the foundations of a legal anthropology or seek to develop it, a field of research that would take place alongside cultural anthropology, political anthropology or economic anthropology. Based on the work of Henry Sumner Maine (1822-1888), this perspective was a real success in the Anglo-Saxon world, thanks to the fathers of the “prodigious decade” (A.-L. Kroeber) of anthropology, who closely linked law and anthropology, as did Lewis Morgan, John McLennan and Johann-Jacob Bachofen for the Germanic world. Such a perspective, however, remains more modest in other countries such as France, despite the efforts of some Durkheimians (Marcel Mauss, in particular). The question of the anthropology of lawyers cannot be reduced to the mere institutionalization of a specific discipline within law schools. Even if this discipline does not yet exist or, conversely, collapses, lawyers continue to bring many anthropological arguments to bear in their practices or intellectual edifices. The question of man constantly reappears, in the speech of lawyers by indirect means, through the categories of law: natural law, human rights, custom, etc.

The BEROSE research theme “history of the relationship between law and anthropology” therefore aims to shed light on the way in which Western lawyers, throughout the 19th and 20th centuries (and even, undoubtedly, previously), sought to conduct ethnographic investigations, put customary law in writing, discover the cultural substrate hidden under the formal rules of law, feed their intellectual edifices with anthropological publications and develop their own concepts of legal anthropology. These different approaches are most often carried out outside academic institutions. The role of colonial administrators is well known. But, more generally, legal experts (lawyers, magistrates, professors) have not hesitated to engage in observational work to report some conclusions on institutions and normative provisions in other societies. Drawing on the networks and environments of both physical and social anthropology, these lawyers make a significant contribution not only to legal anthropology, but also to general anthropology. This means that a number of lawyers, over the past two centuries, have explicitly perceived this link between law and anthropology and have directly addressed the anthropological question in the course of their research.

The BEROSE research theme “history of the relationship between law and anthropology” intends to open an investigation into this process of the emergence of an anthropology of law in all its historical depth, by proposing three types of entries:

a) entries concerning ethnographers, ethnologists or legal anthropologists, in the broadest sense. They may be scholars, scientists, colonial administrators who wished to write customs in a colonial context, law professors, etc. (Henri Labouret, René Maunier, Jean Poirier, Michel Alliot, Jacques Flach, etc.) ;
b) entries concerning institutions and journals related to the anthropology of law, such as learned societies, congresses, schools, companies, etc. (Coutumiers juridiques de l’Afrique occidentale française de 1939; collection “Études de sociologie et d’ethnologie juridiques” founded by René Maunier; Centre d’histoire et d’ethnologie juridiques de l’université de Bruxelles; Laboratoire d’anthropologie juridique de Paris; Association internationale de droit africain; journal Nomos. Cahiers d’ethnologie et de sociologie juridique (1974), etc.) ;
c) entries related to themes, concepts and traditions in legal anthropology (legal pluralism, legal evolutionism, primitive communism, customary law, etc.).

Frédéric Audren, Laetitia Guerlain


History of French Anthropology and Ethnology of France (1900-1980)

  • Directed by Christine Laurière (IIAC-LAHIC, CNRS, Paris)

Nicolas Adell (Université Jean-Jaurès, Toulouse)
Arnauld Chandivert (Université de Montpellier, CERCE)
Thomas Hirsch (EHESS, Paris)
André Mary (IIAC-LAHIC, CNRS, Paris)
Martine Segalen (Université Paris-Nanterre)
Sylvie Sagnes (IIAC-LAHIC, CNRS, Paris)
Luis Felipe Sobral (Universidade de São Paulo, Departamento de antropologia)

History of German and Austrian Anthropology and Ethnologies

  • Directed by Laurent Dedryvère (EILA, Université de Paris, site Paris-Diderot), Jean-Louis Georget (Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris), Hélène Ivanoff (Frobenius-Institut für Kulturanthropologische Forschung an der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt), Isabelle Kalinowski (CNRS,Laboratoire Pays germaniques UMR 8547, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris) Richard Kuba (Frobenius-Institut für Kulturanthropologische Forschung an der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt), Carlotta Santini (CNRS, École Normale Supérieure) and Céline Trautmann-Waller (Université Sorbonne nouvelle-Paris 3/IUF).

Philippe Siegert (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle)

Histories of Anthropology in Brazil

  • Directed by Stefania Capone (CNRS, CéSor) and Fernanda Arêas Peixoto (Universidade de São Paulo).

There is a great diversity of anthropological practices in Brazil. They are indeed a plural reality due to the themes and fields, problems and orientations involved. While Brazilian anthropology is best known for its studies on Amerindian populations and Afro-Brazilian religions, it is not limited to these major traditions of study, but also includes urban and rural anthropology and political anthropology, among others. It is thus difficult to embrace this complex whole at a single glance and to articulate it in a single historical trajectory. To produce a unified history of anthropology in Brazil would be a misleading goal, considering its ever-challenging chronological landmarks – whether the “discovery”, in 1500, of the territory later called Brazil, or the creation of the first scientific institutions in the 19th century, or even the late emergence of universities in the 1930s, when specialities and disciplines emerged more clearly. Our choice is to reconstruct the ramifications that led to the consolidation of different research traditions by retracing matrices of thought and lines of divergence across space and time. The first challenge, in order to reflect this multiple framework, is to let this heterogeneity and complexity appear and to make these differences a compass.

The aim is to draw a map that respects the regional diversity of a country with multiple centres of intellectual production, taking into account epochal and institutional differences (museums, institutes, associations and universities), without neglecting the diversity of the actors themselves: Brazilian or foreign, male or female, black, white, mixed or Amerindian. We must take into account the border areas, the circulation between “scholarly” and “artistic” knowledge, “erudite” and “popular”, “professional” and “amateur”. All these forms are at the heart of the anthropological relationship between “researchers” and “informants”. On the one hand, the essentialization of any of these categories should be avoided; on the other hand, they are an integral part of the reflection on the history of anthropology in Brazil. Attention must also be paid to the ways in which ideas and practices circulate from one disciplinary territory to another (history, sociology, archaeology, literary studies, etc.), and even between areas defined as “scientific” and “political”.

To reconstruct the dense nature of the characters, outcomes and landscapes in this panorama of anthropologies practised in Brazil, it is important to trace both individual and collective projects and to sketch the fields in which they gravitate. Even before there were any institutional loci devoted to the training of anthropologists stricto sensu, there was a production of ethnographic or anthropological knowledge by naturalists, chroniclers, missionaries and painters, who travelled all over Brazil from the 16th century onwards. They were the first to identify and analyse some of the fundamental dimensions of the Brazilian natural landscape, social life and cultural manifestations. Then it is also necessary to take into account folklorists and other learned figures of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The generation of thinkers who produced important essays on the process of formation of the Brazilian nation in the 1920s and 1930s – such as Euclides da Cunha, Paulo da Silva Prado, Francisco José de Oliveira Vianna, Gilberto Freyre and Sérgio Buarque de Holanda – profoundly influenced anthropological studies in Brazil, but also abroad. Similarly, figures who studied in Brazilian universities, which had just been founded in the 1930s, are at the origin of seminal anthropological studies despite their roots in other disciplines. Let us add some other names from the national literary canon, such as the poets of modernism of 1922, Oswald de Andrade and Mário de Andrade, to whom we owe original theories on national culture, still fruitful for contemporary anthropology. Brazil has also been one of the privileged lands of several generations of foreign ethnographers and ethnologists who have sometimes influenced local scholarly practices, such as the Germans Karl von den Steinen and Curt Nimuendajù, or the Frenchmen Roger Bastide and Claude Lévi-Strauss.

In addition to the authors and their works, it is also necessary to highlight the various centres of production of anthropological knowledge, as well as the scientific institutions, centres and associations that have built ethnographic collections and organized training courses. Similarly, research missions, conferences and journals allow us to rediscover personalities and matrices of anthropology that have now been forgotten. This work of analysing the formation of the anthropological field cannot, of course, be done without the study of the links between Brazilian and foreign researchers, as between scholars and institutions that actually precede the institutionalization of anthropology in Brazil. In this presentation of the “Histories of Anthropology in Brazil” as a research theme, the priority of creating an intellectual mapping also allows us to highlight the historical milestones and political events that have influenced the production of knowledge in general and anthropology in particular, both in terms of its actors and its centres of activity. In other words, space and time are the parameters of this mapping of anthropologies practised in Brazil from yesterday to nowadays, which can only be understood through their international connections. Without attempting to provide an exhaustive picture or synthesis, the dossiers that enrich this research programme are intended to identify paths and trajectories that BEROSE readers will follow in the order and direction they consider most appropriate, each one in turn being free to create new links and connections between them.

Stefania Capone
Fernanda Arêas Peixoto

This presentation is an abridged version of Capone, Stefania & Fernanda Arêas Peixoto, 2019. “Anthropologies in Brazil: A Short HistoricalIntroduction”, in BEROSE - International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.


History of Dutch-speaking Anthropology

  • Directed by Thomas Beaufils (Université de Lille, IRHiS UMR CNRS 8529)
Dutch-speaking anthropology is a field of research which has been little explored by researchers in the humanities and social sciences. However, this is a considerable field of study and many archives – access to which is not easy because learning of the Dutch language is uncommon – deserve more intensive investment and exploration. The same applies to the ethnographic contexts historically related to this tradition. While some of its figures have acquired a modest reputation, it is clear that the complex geographical delimitations of these Dutch-speaking “worlds” and the abundant and sometimes nebulous terminology used to designate these territories do not promote the readability and understanding of an anthropology the logic and unity of which are very difficult to guess. Indeed, it is hard for the layman to grasp terms such as the Netherlands, the old Netherlands, the Spanish Netherlands, the Austrian Netherlands, Holland, Flanders, Flanders, French Flanders, Friesland, the Republic of the United Provinces, etc. – not to mention Belgium, whose Dutch-speaking part is not necessarily easy for everyone to distinguish from the French-speaking part.

Dutch or Flemish missionaries, administrators and travellers echoed the life habits of the populations encountered in colonial situations, as early as the establishment of trading posts in the 17th and 18th centuries. From these multiple contacts, a rich Dutch-speaking anthropology was born. In the 19th century, the Kingdom of the Netherlands constituted a vast colonial empire consisting mainly of the Dutch Indies, Suriname and the Dutch Antilles; anthropological production in the context of Belgium’s colonial expansion must also be taken into account, as must that of South Africa, considering its populations of Dutch origin. Dutch and Flemish colonial agents, scholars and writers shared their experiences and discoveries in books that were often of high quality, but which could also prove to be denigrating or subjective towards the populations studied. The birth of anthropology in Belgium and the Netherlands took place mainly in this colonial context.

Domestically, the Dutch and Flemish also undertook ethnographic studies, mainly from the 1910s onwards, to collect field data on folklore and disappearing folk traditions, replaced by modern lifestyles. The Dutch language distinguishes between Volkenkunde (ethnology of non-European civilizations) and Volkskunde (ethnology of the Netherlands and Flanders, often translated as folklore). It was also in the 1910s that another type of ethnologist appeared, such as J. P. B. de Josselin de Jong, leader of the famous Leiden anthropological school, who distanced himself from the colonial policy of the Dutch state and even took sides with the colonized populations until he became involved, intellectually speaking, in the struggle for their independence.

Since the 1950s, Dutch-speaking anthropology has no longer been limited only to former colonial and national territories, but has become very open to extremely diverse regions around the world. Many figures have marked or still mark Dutch and Belgian post-war anthropology. The end of the colonies and the profound transformation of their societies have led to a radical paradigm shift for Belgian and Dutch anthropologists, following a new post-colonial sensitivity. On the other hand, it was quite late that the discipline ceased to be a field of study exclusively reserved for a male intelligentsia. Within the framework of the research theme “History of Dutch-speaking anthropology”, BEROSE proposes that the diversity and transformations of this anthropology should be made more visible and by participating in a better delimitation of this field of study through topical files that will present ethnologists and anthropologists, the journals and institutions that constitute the history of this anthropology, as well as anthropological concepts, themes and traditions related to our core problematics.

The massive digitisation of ethnographic documents and collections, currently underway in Flanders and the Netherlands, promotes greater collaboration between researchers, research organisations, libraries and museum institutions around the world. One can only hope that this considerable effort to make documents available will make it possible to produce new research in the field of the history of Dutch-speaking anthropology and to give birth to a generation of young researchers who will in turn take up this exciting subject to study. The contributions presented in BEROSE will contribute to this effort and will highlight in particular the fruitful links and interactions between Dutch-speaking anthropology and other national traditions.

Thomas Beaufils

This presentation is an abridged version of Beaufils, Thomas, 2019.« Anthropologie néerlandophone : une introduction historique » , in BEROSE - International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.


Anthropology of the South American Lowlands

  • Directed by Isabelle Combès (IFEA, CIHA - Santa Cruz de la Sierra ; TEIAA Barcelona), Lorena Córdoba (CONICET, Buenos Aires - CIHA - Santa Cruz de la Sierra) and Diego Villar (CONICET, Buenos Aires - CIHA - Santa Cruz de la Sierra)

Since the first contacts, the “lowlands” of South America have been defined in a residual way, as the term referred to all the regions that do not belong to the Andes: the immense Amazon, the Chaco, Patagonia and the Atlantic coast. In fact, the lowlands were thought of as a sort of negative image of the picture that Andean societies presented to the conquistadores: like Central America, with its kings and nobles, its numerous armies, its productive surpluses and its monumental constructions, the Andes and its inhabitants offered an exotic image, certainly. But it was also one that was more understandable or, at the very least, easier to identify: the image of a consolidated state, of farming and sedentary peoples, with a certain demographic density, and more familiar to Europeans. Therefore it is not surprising that in trying to understand the peoples who lived east of the Andes, beyond the Piedmont, European observers most often recycled the prejudices, generic categories and stereotypes of savagery or barbarity that were held by the Andean peoples themselves, who thought of the peoples of the lowlands through the reductive prism of the “Anti”, the “Chuncho” or the “Chiriguano” – all generic and contemptuous terms, equivalent to our “savages” or “barbarians”.

A large part of this imagery of otherness – whose most complete paradigm is perhaps the Jesuit proto-ethnography of José de Acosta (1540-1600), or that of Martin Dobrizhoffer (1717-1791) – has survived in the observations accumulated by missionaries, naturalists, government officials, adventurers and explorers. During the colonial era and then in the 19th century after the South American Independencies, they entered Native American lands for various reasons and recorded their experiences in writing. In doing so, consciously or unconsciously, these characters became the ancestors of South American lowland anthropology and ethnohistory. However, the canonical opposition between Andean “civilization” (associated en bloc with complexity and social differentiation, centralization and hierarchy) and lowland “barbarism” (associated with simplicity, atomization, autarchy or egalitarianism) is not the only prejudice that marked the colonial exegesis of South American otherness. Beyond the recognition of the exuberance of the natural environment and the diversity of the indigenous landscape of the lowlands – linguistic families of a surprising extent, hundreds of languages and an extremely polychrome cultural heritage – the work of the “classical” ancestors of South American ethnology, such as Erland Nordenskiöld (1877-1932), Karl von den Steinen (1855-1929), Curt Nimuendajú (1883-1945) or Alfred Métraux (1902-1963), shows that other notorious prejudices have persisted to a greater or lesser extent. One thinks of implicit evolutionary theories, explanations by the diffusion of cultural traits, or a certain typological inclination, not to mention certain utopian idealizations: primitive communism, the good savage, the small community, the Natürvolker and the ecological indigenous peoples.

Once the institutional professionalization of the discipline of anthropology was consolidated during the first half of the 20th century, particularly in Europe and the United States, thematic sedimentation continued its singular drift. The icon of canonization is undoubtedly the Handbook of South American Indians (1946-1950) edited by Julian Steward (1902-1972): the classification of South America into “cultural areas”, the environment considered as a limiting factor of human adaptation, and the consequent evolutionary levels of social integration. Following the heuristic leap caused, twenty years later, by the cryptic Mythologiques (1964-1971) of Claude Lévi-Strauss (1908-2009), the construction of the anthropological canon gave rise to a kind of exponential explosion of studies devoted to the lowlands of South America: a new anthropological imaginary of the lowlands emerged in the last quarter of the twentieth century, characterized by the search for synergy between structural and historical explanations and by the preference for interdisciplinary synthesis. In this new landscape, classic readings have had to learn to coexist with studies of ethnogenesis and ethnicity, with historical anthropology and with the deconstructionist critique of postmodern anthropology, gender studies, postcolonial studies and even the current fashion of the ontological turn, while gradually integrating indigenous scholars themselves.

Contemporary analysis increasingly calls upon an imagination that imposes the fluid realities of hybridization, crossbreeding or multilingualism. It also seems that the opposition between the lowlands and the highlands as independent, even antagonistic universes belongs to the past. Lowland anthropology continues to gain ground in the generalist arena, even daring to rebuild some of the ancient comparative bridges, while elucidating internal heterogeneity. And finally, light remains to be shed on a whole range of epistemological nuances generated by academic geopolitics. In a world of increasing professionalisation and globalisation, the research theme “Anthropology of the Lowlands of South America” seeks to retrace the process of historical formation of disciplinary lineages, thematic axes and their respective heterodoxies, taking as much interest in the life, work and production contexts of renowned authors as in those of other forgotten or little-known figures in anthropology. Our desire is to reconstruct a plural genealogy of the individuals, networks, trends and institutions that have contributed to shaping subdisciplinary knowledge and current views of the South American lowlands.

Isabelle Combès
Lorena Córdoba
Diego Villar


History of Colombian Anthropology

  • Directed by Aura Lisette Reyes (Colciencias-Universidad Nacional de Colombia, ICANH)

Anthropologies and Nation Building in Cuba and Haiti (1930-1990)

  • Directed by Kali Argyriadis (IRD, Université Paris-Diderot, URMIS) and Maud Laëthier (IRD, Université Paris-Diderot, URMIS)

Jhon Picard Byron (Université d’État d’Haïti, LADIREP)
Lázara Y. Carrazana (Instituto Cubano de Antropología)
Emma Gobin (Université Paris 8, LAVUE)
Niurka Núñez González (Instituto Cubano de Investigación Cultural Juan Marinello)


The proposal of this research theme is to address the comparative history of social and cultural anthropology in Cuba and Haiti between the 1930s and the 1970s, a pivotal period during which the discipline was consolidated and institutionalized in both countries. We are particularly interested in the connections between anthropological thought and the process of building national and cultural identities in Haitian and Cuban contexts. While the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th have been the subject of valuable work, that later period still remains to be analysed in several respects.

Initially started in Haiti (as part of the project Ethnology in Haiti: Writing the history of the discipline towards its renewal, JEHAI IRD/FE-UEH) and in Cuba (as part of the project Social Anthropology in Cuba. Reconstructing the past to cement the future, JEAI IRD/ICICIC/ICAN), then in France, within the LMI MESO laboratory), this research gave rise to initial reflections, notably contained in the book Cuba-Haïti : Engager l’anthropologie. Anthologie critique et histoire comparée (1884-1959) (Cuba-Haiti: Engaging Anthropology. Critical Anthology and Comparative History (1884-1959), Argyriadis, Gobin, Laëthier, Núñez González & Byron, 2020).

By focusing on the period from the 1930s to the 1970s, we intend to continue the analysis of the different ways in which ethnologies ’of the self’, ’for the self’ and ’for the Other’ seek to reaffirm a ’national cultural identity’ which legitimises and ultimately institutes certain objects as ’cultural signs’: race, nation, religious practices, folklore, the rural world. These crucial years are marked by singular figures, precursor texts and original debates which are now well documented in terms of the development of the discipline on a national scale, but which remain little understood in terms of their importance in regional and international anthropological debates.

By putting into perspective the studies produced in and on Haiti and Cuba, we aim to shed light on variable processes of circulation of people, ideas, paradigms and concepts. Our goal is to understand how these processes have led to the interplay of influences between these two ’national anthropologies’ and other anthropological traditions, mainly North American and European. These decades were indeed marked by the displacement to France, the United States and Mexico of many Cuban and Haitian intellectuals engaged in the struggle against their respective governments; then, from the 1940s onwards, by the displacement of many European intellectuals to the Americas, for whom Haiti and Cuba were to constitute favoured fields of study.

Our aim is to analyse the emergence of intellectual, institutional, political, sometimes militant, national and international networks, as well as to study the career paths of certain figures through several geographical spaces, disciplinary fields and fields of action (academic, political, artistic, literary or even religious). Their role in the dissemination of anthropological knowledge in Cuba and Haiti is part of the work of redefining national identities. Moreover, the categories of Otherness in the region (including in the United States), deserve special attention. In sum, we will reflect on the peculiar interweaving of anthropological thought and political discourse, as revealed by the Haitian and Cuban cases.


History of Portuguese Anthropology and Ethnographic Archives (19th-21st century)

  • Directed by Sónia Vespeira de Almeida (CRIA/NOVA FCSH, Lisbon) and Rita Ávila Cachado (CIES-IUL, Lisbon)

The research theme History of Portuguese Anthropology and Ethnographic Archives (19th-21st centuries), in the framework of BEROSE – International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, follows the trajectory of Portuguese anthropology between the 19th and 21st centuries. It seeks to identify its protagonists and research themes and the theoretical and methodological contributions of a learned tradition whose challenges during this period concerned the construction of the “nation”, the construction of the “empire” or both (Stocking, 1982; Leal, 2000, 2006, 2008; Viegas & Pina-Cabral, 2014).

It should be noted that ethnographic and protoanthropological production from the 15th to 18th centuries is not taken into account. The chronology considered dates back to the 19th century; the research theme then focuses on the 20th century, not forgetting contemporary Portuguese anthropology. This period alone may give rise to important debates. In fact, Portuguese colonialism – especially late imperialism – coincides with a fundamental part of anthropological production, namely in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; all the figures and institutions that contributed to ethnographic knowledge in the former Portuguese colonies were confronted with the ambiguities of colonial situations. These ambiguities, moreover, persist in one way or another, and concern both the Portuguese context and that of the former colonies: Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé and Príncipe became independent in 1975, only after the famous 1974 Carnation Revolution (which ended 48 years of dictatorship in Portugal); East Timor also became independent in 1975, but was invaded by Indonesia and only became independent again in 2002. The Portuguese enclaves of Goa, Daman and Diu were integrated into the Indian Union in 1961.

This challenge is important because it makes this research theme – like others in the context of BEROSE which refer to former colonial contexts – not only a meeting point for encyclopaedic publications, but also a platform with critical analysis of different anthropological currents and debates.

The research theme also aims to spotlight figures whose trajectories are, as yet, underexamined and who contributed to the development of knowledge about Portuguese contexts or those colonized by Portugal during the period following the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885. The same applies to institutions and publications. The aim is to aggregate and problematize both ethnographic knowledge and anthropological ideas in their different fields, from classification to museology, from salvaging ethnographic enterprises to comparison. This will be done without neglecting international influences, and taking also into account the anachronisms of a country that was both imperial and peripheral.

The historiography of Portuguese anthropology is unanimous in identifying the central figures of this tradition – particularly with regard to studies on the “Portuguese people” at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century: the names of Teófilo Braga, Adolfo Coelho, Consiglieri Pedroso, Leite de Vasconcelos and Rocha Peixoto are essential references (Pina-Cabral 1991; Bastos and Sobral 2017: 2; Leal 2000: 29).

However, the anthropologist who has caused rivers of ink to flow is undoubtedly Jorge Dias, who was at the epicentre of the renewal and modernization of the discipline in the second half of the 20th century. It was around this figure that a remarkable team of anthropologists developed, who made a unique contribution to the knowledge of Portuguese rural traditions. A central figure in the Centro de Estudos de Etnologia Peninsular (Centre for the Study of Peninsular Ethnology), Jorge Dias’ name was linked to the creation of the Museu de Etnologia do Ultramar (Overseas Museum of Ethnology) in 1965 (Leal 2000; Pereira 1989) and its subsequent reorientation towards the “representation of all cultures” (Pereira 198: 580). Although in different ways, João de Pina-Cabral (1991), João Leal (2006), José Manuel Sobral (2007), Jorge de Freitas Branco (2014), Cristiana Bastos and Sobral (2017) concur that Jorge Dias acts as a fundamental, yet not uncontroversial character (West 2006 ; Sobral 2007) in the development of Portuguese anthropology.

The role played by those whom João Leal (2006) calls “foreigners” in Portugal must also be taken into account: some were effectively foreign anthropologists who worked in Portugal in the late 1970s, but there were also Portuguese anthropologists who returned home after the Revolution of 25th April, 1974 – they had completed their university studies elsewhere and contributed to the reformulation of the master’s degree in anthropology at the Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas Ultramarinas (Higher Institute for Overseas Social and Political Sciences) (Branco 2014: 368). The activity of both groups was decisive in integrating Portuguese anthropology into international debates on the discipline.

Looking at the developments of Portuguese anthropology through the history of its institutionalization is also, as foreseen in this research theme, a good way to deepen the understanding of the contexts where ethnographic and anthropological knowledge production occurred. Thus, we intend to address anthropologists’ practices (Sanjek 1990) and contribute to the debates on the importance of safeguarding ethnographic materials and the anthropologists’ archives (Almeida & Cachado 2016, 2019).

Recent articles on the Portuguese anthropological tradition, published in the 2010s, also seek to reflect the diversity of the branches that have developed lately. Cristiana Bastos and José Manuel Sobral not only list the anthropologists of their generation and their respective contributions, but also address the next generation (Bastos and Sobral 2017). It is our ambition to provide a historical perspective on contemporary anthropology, its production and main fields of current research. While Portuguese anthropology focused mainly on the rural country until 25th April, 1974, the fact is that this trend continued after the revolution and into the early 1990s. It is only from the 1990s on that Portuguese anthropology broached urban contexts (Cordeiro 2003). By also focusing on contemporary Portuguese anthropology, our ambition is to contribute to the knowledge of the different ways of doing anthropology today, which are increasingly disperse in different universities, departments and research centres.

In short, the research theme History of Anthropology and Portuguese Ethnographic Archives (19th-21st centuries) seeks to:
- Foster better knowledge, both in Portuguese-speaking and international contexts, of the history of Portuguese anthropology;
- Strengthen the safeguarding of Portuguese ethnographic archives;
- Contribute to a broader mapping of the ethnographic contexts chosen and worked on by Portuguese anthropologists, as well as the methodologies, theoretical frameworks and academic settings for knowledge production;
- Stimulate the production of biographical articles on Portuguese anthropologists and ethnographers or those working in Portuguese contexts, as well as articles relating to institutions such as museums, scientific journals or research centres.

Sónia Vespeira de Almeida
Rita Ávila Cachado

References cited

ALMEIDA, Sónia Vespeira; CACHADO, Rita, 2019, “Archiving Anthropology in Portugal”, Anthropology Today, 35 (1), pp. 22-25.
ALMEIDA, Sónia Vespeira; CACHADO, Rita, 2016, Os Arquivos dos Antropólogos, Lisbon, Palavrão.
BASTOS, Cristiana; SOBRAL, José Manuel, 2018, “Portugal, Anthropology in”. In H. Callan (ed.), The International, Encyclopedia of Anthropology, doi: 10.1002/9781118924396.wbiea1974
WHITE, Jorge Freitas, 2014, “Sentidos da antropologia em Portugal na década de 1970”, Etnográfica [Online], vol. 18 (2), accessed July 09, 2014, URL: http:// etnografica.revues.org/3732; DOI: 10,4000/etnografica.3732
CORDEIRO, Graça Índias, 2003, “A antropologia urbana entre a tradição e a prática” in Graça Índias Cordeiro, Luís V. Baptista & António F. da Costa (Org.), Etnografias Urbanas, Oeiras, Celta: 3-32
LEAL, João, 2000, Etnografias Portuguesas (1870-1970): Cultura Popular e Identidade Nacional, Lisbon, Publicações Dom Quixote
LEAL, João, 2003, “Estrangeiros em Portugal: a antropologia das comunidades rurais portuguesas nos anos 1960”, Ler História, 44, pp. 155-176.
LEAL, João, 2006, Antropologia em Portugal: Mestres, Percursos, Transições, Lisbon, Livros Horizonte
LEAL, João, 2008, “The Hidden Empire: Peasants, Nation Building and the Empire in Portuguese Anthropology”. In S. R. Roseman & S. Parkhurst (eds.), Recasting Culture and Space in Iberian Contexts. Albany, NY, State University of New York Press, pp. 35-53
PINA-CABRAL, João, 1991, Os contextos da antropologia, Lisboa, Difel
SANJEK, Roger (ed.), (1990), Fieldnotes. The makings of Anthropology, Ithaca and London, Cornell University Press
SOBRAL, José Manuel, 2007, “O Outro aqui tão próximo: Jorge Dias e a redescoberta de Portugal pela antropologia Portuguesa (anos 70-80 do século XX)”, Revista de História das Ideias, 28, pp. 479-526.
STOCKING, Jr., George W., 1982, “Afterword: A View from the Center”, Ethnos, 47, pp. 172-186
VIEGAS, Susana de Matos; PINA-CABRAL, João de, 2014, “Na encruzilhada portuguesa: a antropologia contemporânea e a sua história”, Etnográfica [Online], vol. 18 (2), Accessed 30 September 2016. URL: http://etnografica.revues.org/3694
WEST, Harry G., 2006, “Invertendo a Bossa do Camelo. Jorge Dias, a sua mulher, o seu intérprete e eu”, In Sanches, Manuela Ribeiro (eds.), Portugal não é um país pequeno. Lisbon, Livros Cotovia, pp. 141-190


History of Italian Anthropology

  • Directed by Giordana Charuty (EPHE, IIAC)

Anthropology is now identified in the Italian academic field under a name which is unique in Europe: “demo-ethno-anthropological sciences”. This idiosyncratic term refers to a process of historical construction, whether within the dynamics of knowledge formation and circulation on a European scale or withdrawn into relative insularity. More than a date of birth, the 1870s were a landmark in distinguishing the two main orientations that somehow remained in conflict, albeit in creative ways, until after the Second World War. The first borrowed a model of scientificity from the natural sciences which was reinforced by adherence to Darwinism in order to insert the study of the Italic peoples into a comparative psychology of the human race. The second favoured the historical sciences through their link with philology in order for the new discipline of folklore to be recognized in the academic field. Between these two centres of institutionalization and intellectual sociability, the boundaries are all the more tenuous as, following opposing styles of scholarly life, they both claimed the rights to the definition of the discipline, standardization and centralization of research.

With regard to the establishment of a natural science of man in Italy, the enterprise led by Paolo Mantegazza had a primary role: to affirm the complementarity of the natural and historical sciences in order to reach a general anthropology based upon physical anthropology. The ambition was to coordinate several forms of knowledge, some oriented towards criteria of hominization, others towards the study of cultures and their diversity. Political links with intellectuals involved in the Risorgimento and scientific links with the École anthropologique de Paris made it possible to attract the international intellectual capital of the new kingdom, doctors, zoologists, lawyers, historians, geographers and orientalists to Florence. They organized expeditions and, a few years later, established other chairs in Rome and Naples, created other specializations (such as Cesare Lombroso’s criminal anthropology in Turin), and other museums, including one in Rome, the new capital of unified Italy. They developed survey instruments for a comparative psychology of human races and wrote the first manuals of anthropology and ethnography – in the sense that this term then took on to distinguish the surveys conducted in Italy.

As for the diversity of Italian folklore, it entered the fields of interest of Florentine society in terms of “superstitions” and “prejudices”. At the same time, the philological model dominated the process of affirming the autonomy of the study of European cultures in the Italian context of national unification, either from the perspective of comparative mythology or from that of the science of folklore. In the first half of the 19th century, the collection, transcription, translation and publication of songs and oral traditions were part of the romantic perspective of cultural renewal as a premise for political renewal. In a divided and occupied Italy, it was a question of rediscovering the common heritage that constituted unity of the people. From the 1860s onwards, the transfer of German philology to the Italian context supported the construction of a new science by integrating the study of sung poetry and folk narratives to complete the study of all literatures. At the same time, the explanatory ambitions of comparative mythology ensured the transition between philology and ethnography. Names such as Domenico Comparetti or Angelo De Gubernatis are obvious references.

However, it was in Sicily, with Giuseppe Pitrè and Salvatore Salomone-Marino, that “demology” was systematically constructed in relation to the main European centres – setting the categories of social life that fell within its domain for a long time until its university recognition in Palermo, in 1911, under the name of “demopsychology”. The historical depth of the discipline was delimited and its thematic axes were fixed: it focused on the social life of the present, a view informed jointly by Edward Tylor’s sociocultural evolutionism and Friedrich Max Müller’s comparative mythology, as two complementary knowledge programmes to define the autonomy of its object and methods.

Long before and long after the crystallization of these two Florentine and Sicilian poles, and in parallel with the structuring of knowledge they put into place, there is an interest that can be described as ethnographic in a broader sense, within progressive or conservative institutions in local societies. These are, to a large extent, dependent on the complex process of political unification that distinguishes Italy within the Europe of nations. It is also necessary to revisit the plurality of conceptions of “folk” or “popular” that have been expressed since the 1880s, in exchanges between scholars with diverse identities, whether they were medieval philologists, orientalists or ethnographers of contemporary oral tradition, among others.

Restoring the existential and intellectual trajectories of the figures of founders or re-founders by exploring and crossing the various archival collections available leads to a rethinking of key moments in this history of the knowledge of Otherness, internal and external, under continuous construction. Thanks to the opening of the archives and the amount of biographical data now available, historians of the Italian “anthropological” tradition are also invited to rethink the status of certain figures, from Lamberto Loria to Raffaele Pettazzoni, without forgetting lesser-known, even obscure, characters, for example ethnographer-missionaries. Pettazzoni, at the head of the scientific construction of an Italian path of religious anthropology which was clearly differentiated from Durkheimian sociology was, moreover, the very active craftsman of a university establishment of ethnology.

Needless to say, the Mussolini regime gave remarkable academic recognition to the study of folk traditions, notably through the creation of three university courses. The break with this paradigm was to be epistemological, ideological and aesthetic. In a word, the fall of fascism led to a political conversion of ethnological studies. Revisiting, by crossing several archival collections, the life work of Ernesto De Martino, a figure retrospectively perceived as the founder of ethnology at home after the Second World War, leads us to rethink the continuities and breaks produced by the twenty-year journey of fascism. The debates on folk culture based on the Gramscian opposition between hegemony and subordination fuelled the mobilization of left-wing intellectuals in the 1950s for the renewal of values and expressive languages. Ethnomusicology collections, neo-realistic photography and the rewriting of narrative traditions by literary avant-gardes are all ways of recreating poetics.

At the same time, the history of religions and ethnology at home replaced the essentialization of nations/peoples with a comparative study of the “compromise formations” that run through the religious history of Mediterranean societies, but also of the syncretic formations that accompany decolonization movements outside Europe. Chairs were created in the history of religions and ethnology at the universities of Bari and Cagliari, which belatedly gave a university foundation to a number of researchers. Those, like De Martino and Vittorio Lanternari (1918-2010), who trained at the Pettazzoni school built an Italian path in the international field of the study of religious syncretisms, a path that maintained a privileged dialogue with French ethnologists and sociologists. In parallel with this renaissance, several young Italian researchers were hosted at American universities while American researchers undertook community studies in Italy. In the 1960s, these first encounters gave rise to a North American-inspired cultural anthropology that took over from community studies, often conducted in the 1950s by foreign researchers with links to Italy in their biographical careers. At the same time, the Vatican continued to invest in ethnological training for its missionaries.

Since the mid-1980s, much work has made us aware of the institutions, intellectual traditions, working tools and achievements of these many “demo-ethno-anthropological” enterprises. These historiographic achievements can be renewed, particularly in the context of BEROSE and the research theme “History of Italian Anthropology”, through an ethnographic reading of the archives and biographical trajectories. It is centred on the interaction between, on the one hand, the experience of cultural Otherness and intimacy, and, on the other hand, the choice of models that allow them to be thought upon. The study of correspondence and anthropological journals may be combined with the reconstruction of networks of professional and militant sociability beyond the national framework. Along with the attention paid to individual mobility, they allow a more detailed approach to the political, intellectual and cultural commitments of scientists, whether academics, scholars or amateurs. In a nation that was not constituted as a state until 1860, the alliances and antagonisms between all these actors drew strong regional polarizations that lasted for nearly a century.

Giordana Charuty

This presentation is an abridged version of Charuty, Giordana, 2019.« Histoires croisées de l’anthropologie italienne (XIXe-XXIe siècle) » , in Bérose - Encyclopédie internationale des histoires de l’anthropologie, Paris.


History of Japanese Anthropology

  • Directed by Alice Berthon (CRJ/EHESS & CEJ/INALCO), Damien Kunik (Musée d’ethnographie de Genève) and Nicolas Mollard (Université Lyon III Jean Moulin, IETT)

The purpose of this research theme is to provide an overview of four centuries of development of Japanese anthropological thought, from its scientific premises in the seventeenth century to its most contemporary challenges.

With the unification of Japan’s national territory at the beginning of the seventeenth century, the context of lasting political peace favoured the development of science and the arts, as well as the cultural empowerment of the country in relation to its neighbours. At that time, Japan began to question its identity in the face of the otherness encountered here and there during regular contacts, to respond to the pre-eminence of the Chinese civilizational model or to the proselytism of Christian missionaries, to stage its cultural centrality in the region, to draw up an inventory of its heritage or its provincial specificities, and finally, more generally, to establish scholarly practices in science that flourished, multiplied and specialized.

The study of this intellectual context is imperative first of all to grasp the foundations of a self-aware Japanese anthropology, as it emerged between the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century. It is indeed these achievements that formed Japan’s intellectual framework when new competing empires, the Russian or British in particular, arrived in the region. These frightened a country that had been relatively isolated from the world since the seventeenth century. Nevertheless, if the acquisition of intellectual and technical tools enabling Japan to fight with identical means became a government priority as soon as foreign powers sought to force their way into the country in the mid-nineteenth century, the effort to reorganize knowledge that was already well established must be fully appreciated. It supported and guided the willingness to acquire new knowledge.

Secondly, the birth of modern Japanese anthropology was part of the process of inventing a young nation-state, worried and fascinated by the power struggles that were being played out on its doorstep. It was only once the initial threat of the country’s annexation had been averted that Japanese anthropology would formalize its discourse and methods within institutions (universities, of course, but also many independent learned societies) newly created on an exogenous model to respond on equal scientific footing to the Western presence in Asia. Scientific relations between Japan and the West developed considerably between the end of the nineteenth century and the 1910s.

The Western expansionist and imperialist model would also be replicated in Japan and would allow Japanese anthropology to experience a third wave of development. From the beginning of the twentieth century, the Japanese colonial empire gradually extended over the entire region, towards Taiwan, Korea, Manchuria, South-East Asia and Insulinde, then towards the islands and archipelagos of the Pacific. Indeed, until 1945, the most dynamic institutionalized anthropological practice in Asia was that of a non-Western power, Japan.

In parallel with this development of Japanese anthropology from the end of the nineteenth century to the end of the Second World War, which was mainly in the academic world, other specificities of Japanese ethnographic sciences should be noted: the continuity of folk studies, a discipline related to anthropology and history, but concerned about its autonomy since the end of the nineteenth century; that of the historical importance of letters and literature in anthropological discourse; an aesthetic treatment of the subjects of study, as some ethnologists have never really accepted a Western division of arts and sciences perceived as Manichaean; an ethnology practised by a significant number of researchers not aligned with the methodological presuppositions of the dominant schools; a museum history that is sometimes stagnant; or a complex relationship with its counterparts on the international scene.

At the end of this intense period of formal development of Japanese anthropology until the end of the Second World War, it is also important to note the way in which the human sciences were reformulated in a country that was militarily defeated and occupied. Japan having lost its entire colonial territory, the postcolonial ethnological shift is much more sudden for this very reason and the misuses of the human sciences are more quickly debated. In the academic world, the expansionist enterprise was widely criticized as early as 1946 and, as early as the 1950s, a new generation of anthropologists was inspired by the American model to give a new direction to ethnology practised outside the metropolitan territory. On Japanese soil, folk studies were gaining visibility and legitimacy for having little association with the previous militaristic government (or, at least, more surreptitiously). The combination of these two factors allowed post-war Japanese anthropology to retain some very remarkable features.

During the same years, Japan was experiencing a rapid economic recovery which, at the same time, legitimized a new form of pride in the Japanese scientific enterprise and provided it with significant research funds. This rebirth would eventually be undermined by the abrupt end of the period of high growth, which was accompanied by several natural and human disasters between the last years of the twentieth and the first years of the twenty-first century, and which once again reconfigured the ambitions of Japanese anthropology.

Without ever claiming to produce a linear narrative, we aim here to isolate the threads and relationships that are specific to the nature of a practice conscious of its specificities, methods and developments. These are little known in the West since Japanese anthropology, although extremely fertile, is little translated and continues today to produce most of its results for a strictly Japanese audience. Our ambition is therefore to make its figures, motives and fundamentals known for the benefit of a non-Japanese readership.

Alice Berthon
Damien Kunik
Nicolas Mollard

See also Berthon, Alice, Damien Kunik & Nicolas Mollard, 2019. « Brève histoire de l’ethnologie au Japon (XVIIe-XXIe siècles) », in BEROSE - International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.


History of Anthropology in Australasia (1900-2000)

  • Directed by Geoffrey Gray (University of Queensland)

Anthropological Horizons, Histories of Ethnology and Folklore in Turkey

  • Directed by Hande Birkalan-Gedik (Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität, Institut für Kulturanthropologie und Europäische Ethnologie, Frankfurt am Main) and Abdurrahim Ozmen (Dicle Üniversitesi, Diyarbakir)

As a “national” tradition attuned to international scholarship, anthropology in Turkey is of interest to explore from the 1850s, when several anthropological concepts and theories from Europe were skillfully adapted to and came into interaction with the Turkish case. These include social Darwinism and evolutionism and materialism, but also, later, discourses on nationalism – philosophical and ideological trends which the Ottoman elite discussed in a variety of intellectual circles. The interactions between European anthropological landscape and that of the Ottoman Empire were more than ‘travelling theory’ or theory travelling one way to the Muslim State. In any case, Turkish scholars had to navigate new scientific ideas within the context of a Muslim society ruled by the Ottoman sultan, who was also the caliph, i.e. the uppermost representative of the Islamic community. This is particularly interesting when one thinks about the despotism of Sultan Abdulhamid II, who ruled from 1876 to 1909, and who was toppled by the Young Turks, but also about the later political developments and disciplinary trajectories in the following years. Ethnological sciences in the Ottoman Empire, as later in the Turkish Republic, must be understood in relation to a political history in which various actors and institutions actively produced anthropological knowledge from a specific habitus. In this framework, the borders of politics and the disciplines became extremely porous since the intelligentsia and political leaders worked hand in hand, facilitating knowledge transfer between different but interconnected actors, sources, sites and institutions.

Despite earlier interactions with Europe and the European anthropological landscape in the Ottoman Empire, the intricate and interesting history of anthropology, folklore and ethnology in Turkey have been insufficiently documented. It must be underlined that, at the end of the 19th century, anthropology in Turkey was mostly understood through terms corresponding to ethnology and ethnography. The ethnographic component, although not openly spelled out, was present through the use of descriptive elements on human diversity, revealing a “cosmopolitan” view that fitted into Ottoman concepts. As for the term Antropolociya (anthropology), it referred to physical anthropology.

With the 1908 Young Turk Revolution, most of the administration and political cadres followed Turkish nationalism (Toprak 2012), which caused a long-lasting impact on anthropology – that is, on what was then termed ethnology – taking it from a cosmopolitan, humanist and open vision to that of a local, national and introverted one. This paradigm, with minor revisions, still holds true for some anthropological studies even today. Around the same time, particularly from its institutionalization in 1925, physical anthropology became the flagship of Turkish nation-building to which certain anthropologists contributed through peculiar arguments such as the Sun-Language Theory and the Turkish History Thesis, promoting linguistic ethno-nationalism or the “superiority of the Turkish race” after defeat in the First World War. Folklore studies also helped solidify these claims and fired the idea of a homogenous nation from within. A certain version of nationalism is what connected these disciplines following the Young Turk Revolution in 1908, but on the other hand, it became a divisive factor concerning the kinds of labour and the genres that were considered appropriate within or claimed by each discipline.

While the racist version of nationalism was the leading paradigm for physical anthropology in the 1930s, it started to decline by the 1940s. Curiously, since the late 1940s, “ethnology” in Turkey, used in the modern sense, developed from the physical branch of anthropology; it meant, again, a comparative study of cultures. This was the beginning of several disciplinary truces among anthropology, folklore and ethnology. The 1950s marked the loosening of ties to continental physical anthropology, mainly the French and German traditions, and a decline in the racist paradigm. By this time, anthropology in Turkey gained a broader sociocultural meaning and was geared towards the British functionalist school, while also leaning on theories of culture from Britain, the United States and France (Birkalan-Gedik 2013). On the other hand, nationalism remained the main source of folklore, as its scholars turned to philological texts, collecting and publishing them. Actually, nationalism has not lost its effect on folklore and anthropology until the present.

Within BEROSE Encyclopedia, the theme of Anthropological Horizons, Histories of Ethnology and Folklore in Turkey is taken in its widest sense and suggests working within an “anthropological landscape” that encompasses anthropology, folklore, ethnography and ethnology. Certainly, these are different terms with different genealogies and sources, which have been effectively used and contested in this landscape. Furthermore, the Turkish case calls for detailed analyses that go beyond the dichotomy of “national” versus “imperial” anthropologies (Stocking 1982). The deductive categorization of “great” or “major” anthropological traditions have been complicated by bringing a distinct focus to a “peripheral”, albeit dynamic, anthropological tradition wherein the anthropological landscape and an emergent nation-state were mutually constructed after the decline of the empire.

Our themes
- Ethnographers and anthropologists: scholars, amateurs, missionaries, learned individuals, and collectors; intellectuals who are historically tied to anthropology.
- Anthropological institutions and journals; e.g. ethnographic museums, scholarly societies, learned societies, scientific bodies, universities, and institutions of higher education; scientific meetings, conferences.
- Anthropological traditions, themes, concepts and oeuvres.

Hande Birkalan-Gedik
Abdurrahim Ozmen

See also Birkalan-Gedik, Hande, 2019. “A Century of Turkish Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (v. 1850s-1950s)” , in BEROSE – International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.


Networks, Journals and Learned Societies in France and Europe (1870-1920)

  • Directed by Claudie Voisenat (IIAC-LAHIC, Ministère de la Culture, Paris) and Jean-Christophe Monferran (IIAC-LAHIC, CNRS, Paris)

Alfonsina Bellio (IIAC-LAHIC, Paris)
Maria Beatrice Di Brizio (Laboratoire d’anthropologie sociale, Paris)
Claudine Gauthier (IIAC-LAHIC, Université de Bordeaux)
Mercedes Gómez-García Plata (CREC – Sorbonne Nouvelle)
David Hopkin (Hertford College / Faculty of History, University of Oxford)
João Leal (Universidade NOVA de Lisboa)
Fañch Postic (CRBC, CNRS,rest)

The invention of Folk Art (1840-1857)

  • Directed by Michela Lo Feudo (IIAC-LAHIC, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II)

History of Ethnomusicology

  • Directed by François Gasnault ((IIAC-LAHIC, Ministère de la Culture, Paris) and Marie-Barbara Le Gonidec (IIAC-LAHIC, Ministère de la Culture, Paris)

History of the Relationship between Law and Anthropology

  • Directed by Frédéric Audren (CNRS - CEE / École de droit de Sciences Po) and Laetitia Guerlain (Université de Bordeaux, IRM-CAHD et CAK)

The research theme “history of the relationship between law and anthropology” of BEROSE – International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology aims to capture the normative aspects of culture from a historical perspective. Linking law and anthropology in this way is not easy, as the relationships between these two branches of knowledge are complex and difficult. Indeed, anthropology has been built on a relationship which is distanced from Western categories of law, but also rejects the idea of the autonomy of law in relation to other social sectors. In this respect, “law”, at least as a lawyer might understand it, is mostly absent from the work of anthropologists: it may be a question of kinship, filiation, property, power or rites (categories familiar to lawyers), but the concept of “law”, its cohort of rules and the structuring of these into legal systems and orders are mostly, almost systematically, absent from this production of anthropology, even the social and cultural anthropology. Beyond national differences but also geographical areas, anthropology traditionally challenges the evidence of a particular legal tradition.

On the other hand, the law, particularly in the Western civil law tradition, which originated in Roman law, seeks to enact, interpret and apply a set of normative texts. In this normative space, the work of the lawyer is thought of independently of any cultural, social or economic consideration. This does not mean, of course, that the law does not have cultural, social or economic implications, but the “good” lawyer does not need to make a detour through anthropology or sociology in his work or training in order to carry out the operations of the law correctly. There is no need for a finer and more acute knowledge of society, its specificities and needs in order to (properly) state the law. In an exemplary way, many law faculties in Europe (and particularly in France), heirs of a legalistic tradition, have never shown any particular interest in the sociological and anthropological disciplines, which they have tried to keep outside their walls.

Would the relationship between law and anthropology be condemned to oscillate between misunderstanding and indifference? It is true that many lawyers have resolved this issue by denying it has any interest: anthropology, its questions and methods have little dignity in their eyes and have never been able to influence their world views and professional practice. Anthropologists, for their part, could not completely avoid the normative dimension of social life, even though the latter seemed to ignore any isolable legal entity or any body of sanctioned rules. They therefore had to find solutions to think about law in society in social groups that, precisely, do not understand the concept of “law”. Some have thus refused to talk about law and have proposed a theory of the social that no longer distinguishes between politics, law and religion. Others reserve this concept of law for societies with a constraint system. A third faction does not separate the social and the legal and absorbs the rule of law into the social rule. Finally, some consider as law anything that produces the same effects as law. Anthropologists have many strategies to face this difficult irreducibility of law to social relations.

However, some authors, anthropologists and lawyers would lay the foundations of a legal anthropology or seek to develop it, a field of research that would take place alongside cultural anthropology, political anthropology or economic anthropology. Based on the work of Henry Sumner Maine (1822-1888), this perspective was a real success in the Anglo-Saxon world, thanks to the fathers of the “prodigious decade” (A.-L. Kroeber) of anthropology, who closely linked law and anthropology, as did Lewis Morgan, John McLennan and Johann-Jacob Bachofen for the Germanic world. Such a perspective, however, remains more modest in other countries such as France, despite the efforts of some Durkheimians (Marcel Mauss, in particular). The question of the anthropology of lawyers cannot be reduced to the mere institutionalization of a specific discipline within law schools. Even if this discipline does not yet exist or, conversely, collapses, lawyers continue to bring many anthropological arguments to bear in their practices or intellectual edifices. The question of man constantly reappears, in the speech of lawyers by indirect means, through the categories of law: natural law, human rights, custom, etc.

The BEROSE research theme “history of the relationship between law and anthropology” therefore aims to shed light on the way in which Western lawyers, throughout the 19th and 20th centuries (and even, undoubtedly, previously), sought to conduct ethnographic investigations, put customary law in writing, discover the cultural substrate hidden under the formal rules of law, feed their intellectual edifices with anthropological publications and develop their own concepts of legal anthropology. These different approaches are most often carried out outside academic institutions. The role of colonial administrators is well known. But, more generally, legal experts (lawyers, magistrates, professors) have not hesitated to engage in observational work to report some conclusions on institutions and normative provisions in other societies. Drawing on the networks and environments of both physical and social anthropology, these lawyers make a significant contribution not only to legal anthropology, but also to general anthropology. This means that a number of lawyers, over the past two centuries, have explicitly perceived this link between law and anthropology and have directly addressed the anthropological question in the course of their research.

The BEROSE research theme “history of the relationship between law and anthropology” intends to open an investigation into this process of the emergence of an anthropology of law in all its historical depth, by proposing three types of entries:

a) entries concerning ethnographers, ethnologists or legal anthropologists, in the broadest sense. They may be scholars, scientists, colonial administrators who wished to write customs in a colonial context, law professors, etc. (Henri Labouret, René Maunier, Jean Poirier, Michel Alliot, Jacques Flach, etc.) ;
b) entries concerning institutions and journals related to the anthropology of law, such as learned societies, congresses, schools, companies, etc. (Coutumiers juridiques de l’Afrique occidentale française de 1939; collection “Études de sociologie et d’ethnologie juridiques” founded by René Maunier; Centre d’histoire et d’ethnologie juridiques de l’université de Bruxelles; Laboratoire d’anthropologie juridique de Paris; Association internationale de droit africain; journal Nomos. Cahiers d’ethnologie et de sociologie juridique (1974), etc.) ;
c) entries related to themes, concepts and traditions in legal anthropology (legal pluralism, legal evolutionism, primitive communism, customary law, etc.).

Frédéric Audren, Laetitia Guerlain