International Encyclopaedia
of the Histories of Anthropology

Born in Romania, Isac Chiva (1925-2012) arrived in Paris in 1948. He played a central role in the development of French rural ethnology and trained several generations of researchers. He joined the CNRS in 1951, first as a trainee and then as a research associate in the Laboratoire français d’ethnographie (French center of ethnography) directed by Marcel Maget and housed in the National Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions. He stayed there until 1959. In 1960, together with the historian Georges Duby and the geographer Daniel Faucher, he founded the multidisciplinary journal Études rurales. When the Laboratoire d’anthropologie sociale was created that same year, Claude Lévi-Strauss entrusted him with the position of deputy director, which he ceased to hold in 1982, at the same time as Lévi-Strauss retired. In July 1960, he joined the 6th section of the EPHE (which was to become the EHESS in 1975). His entire teaching and research career took place in this institution, with a seminar entitled “Ethnology of peasant societies”, but also as a teacher at the E.P.R.A.S.S.(Preparatory teaching for in-depth research in social sciences) and then at the F.R.A.(training in anthropological research). He was elected directeur d’études in 1970 and held his seminar at EHESS until the end of the 1991/1992 academic year. In 1974, he was the founding president of the Association of French Ruralists. In 1979, he founded the Ethnological Heritage Mission within the Ministry of Culture. His field surveys took him to several French regions (Sologne (1951-55), Corsica (1955-58), the city of Marcoule where a nuclear power station was being built (1959), the Baronnies (1973-76)) and the French West Indies (1971).

Keywords: Anthropology of Europe | Anthropology of France | Anthropology at home | French Ethnology | Antisemitism | Second half of the 20th century | France | Romania | Rural Societies | Claude Lévi-Strauss

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