International Encyclopaedia
of the Histories of Anthropology

Brazilian anthropologist Ruy Coelho (1920-1990) is a forgotten figure in the history of anthropology. After studying philosophy and social and political sciences at the University of São Paulo (USP) between 1938 and 1942, he became a graduate student at Northwestern University in 1945, under the guidance of Melville J. Herskovits. His doctoral thesis, titled “The Black Carib of Honduras: A Study in Acculturation”, was the result of field research in Honduras among the Garifuna, or black Caribs. After working for two years in the Race Relations Sector of UNESCO’s Department of Social Sciences, he returned to Brazil in 1952. Following its translation into Spanish in the early 1980s, Coelho’s pioneering study on the Garifuna became an indispensable reference in Honduras and beyond.

Keywords: Ethnography | Brazil | Honduras | African-American studies | Acculturation | Race relations | Melville Herskovits | UNESCO

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