International Encyclopaedia
of the Histories of Anthropology

Pierre Verger (1902–1996) was an unclassifiable French photographer and ethnographer who lived between three continents, Europe, Africa and South America. From 1932 to 1946, as a photographer, he undertook several trips around the world (Polynesia, Japan, Africa, Asia and the Americas), which formed the basis of his cultural apprenticeship and educated his gaze. He moved to Brazil in 1946, to Salvador de Bahia, where he discovered Afro-American cultures and religions. He became a specialist in the Candomblé and Yoruba cults in particular. Late in his life, writing acquired a certain importance, stimulated by the scholarship granted to him by the Institut Français d’Afrique Noire (IFAN) in 1948, which took him to Benin and Nigeria. He also became a historian of the transatlantic trade between the Brazilian Northeast and the Gulf of Guinea. He is the author of Dieux d’Afrique (1954), Notes sur le culte des Orishas et Voduns (1957), and Flux et reflux de la traite des nègres entre le golfe de Bénin et Bahia de Todos os Santos du XVIIe au XIXe siècles (1966). Initiated as a babalaô (diviner priest) and renamed Fatumbi in Benin in 1953, he intensified his relations with the countries of the Gulf of Guinea, including Nigeria. He took a large number of photographs and deepened his analyses of African and Afro-Brazilian cultures. His archives are deposited at the Pierre Verger Foundation in Salvador.

Keywords: Visual anthropology | Photography | France | Togo | Benin | Nigeria | Brazil | Afro-brazilian Studies | Afro-brazilian Religions | Yoruba | Candomblé | Slavery | Transatlantic slave trade | Yoruba and diasporic culture | Traditional epistemologies | Voodoo

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