International Encyclopaedia
of the Histories of Anthropology

Emmanuel Terray (1935–) is a French philosopher turned Africanist anthropologist. He conducted his first ethnographic fieldwork on the Dida people of the Ivory Coast, under the supervision of Paul Mercier. He taught at the University of Abidjan, where he was appointed in 1964, but left the country four years later for political reasons. A disciple of Georges Balandier, Terray’s ambition was to build a political and historical anthropology that incorporated Marxist analysis. One example of his dynamic approach is his PhD thesis on the history of the Abron kingdom of Gyaman since the fifteenth century (Une histoire du royaume Abron du Gyaman, des origines à la conquête coloniale, 1995). In 1984, after a dozen years of teaching at the University of Vincennes, Terray was director of studies at the École de Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in 1984, where he headed the Centre d’études africaines until 1991. Alongside his anthropological and philosophical work, Emmanuel Terray is also the author of more personal, literary essays that are also an expression of his own political trajectory and activist commitments, particularly to undocumented immigrant workers, a cause for which he went on hunger strike in 1998 with a support group, the Troisième Collectif.

Keywords: Philosophy | Political anthropology | Marxist Anthropology | Dynamic Anthropology | Africanism | Marxism | Political commitment | Second half of the 20th century | France | Ivory Coast | Georges Balandier | Paul Mercier

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