International Encyclopaedia
of the Histories of Anthropology

Institut français d’anthropologie (1910-1958)

Created in 1910 on the initiative of Paul Rivet, the Institut français d’anthropologie (IFA) is a learned society that defends a federalist definition of anthropology, linking the biological and cultural dimensions of the study of man. This was the first time that physical anthropologists, prehistorians and archaeologists, ethnographers, colonial officers, philosophers, linguists and sociologists from the Durkheim school came together in the same institution. The IFA was to support the institutional and scientific reconfiguration of French ethnology in the inter-war period, with three members from its ranks (Lucien Lévy-Bruhl, Marcel Mauss and Paul Rivet) playing a decisive role in the establishment of new places to foster its professionalization.

Keywords: Physical anthropology | Linguistics | Palaeontology | Prehistory | Philosophy | French Ethnology | Ethnography | Scholarly sociability | French colonialism | 20th century | France | Learned Society | Paul Rivet | Durkheimian School